D – Glossary of Print and Design Terms

Welcome to our comprehensive glossary of print and design terms. We are continually seeking to grow and improve this glossary, so if you spot any definition you do not agree with, a term that is missing, or have any comments in general, please email our reference team.

glossary_a glossary_b glossary_c glossary_d glossary_e glossary_f glossary_g glossary_h glossary_i glossary_j glossary_k glossary_l glossary_m
glossary_n glossary_o glossary_p glossary_q glossary_r glossary_s glossary_t glossary_u glossary_v glossary_w glossary_x glossary_y glossary_z

Dahlgren A dampening system for printing presses which utilizes more alcohol (25%) and less water; this greatly reduces the amount of paper that is spoiled
Dampening An essential part of the printing process whereby cloth covered rubber rollers distributes the dampening solution to the plate
Dandy Roll During the paper making process while the paper is still 90% water, it passes over a wire mesh cylinder (dandy roll), which imparts surface textures on the paper such as wove or laid. This is also the stage where the watermark is put onto the paper
Data Compression Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly
Database Management System Software that controls the organisation, storage, retrieval, security and integrity of data in a database
Deboss To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool
Deckle Width of web [width of paper making machine] this is limited by deckle straps
Deckle Edge Edge of paper left ragged as it comes from the papermaking machine instead of being cleanly cut. Also called featheredge
Deep Etching The etching or removal of any unwanted areas of a plate to create more air or white space on the finished product
De-Inking Process Removal of printing inks from recycled paper fibres
Delete An instruction given to remove an element from a layout
Demy A term that describes a standard sized printing paper measuring 17.5 x 22.5 in
Densitometer Instrument used to measure density. Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper and other surfaces; transmission densitometers measure light transmitted through film and other materials
Density 1. Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink.2. Regarding colour, the relative ability of a colour to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it.3. Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibres
Density Control Density Control helps the printer maintain consistent colour
Density Range Difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range
Depth Measurement of a form around the printing cylinder. When quoting form sizes, always quote in depth first i.e. 11′ x 15.5′ [11′ is the depth]
Descender A term that describes that portion of lower case letters that extends below the main body of the letter, as in “p”
Descreening Removal, during scanning, of the matrix of dots in printed materials
Deskewing Correction of distortion caused by image capture from a viewpoint other than on the perpendicular
Desktop Publishing (DTP) Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate
Device Driver A small piece of software acting as the interface between devices such as a scanner and a computer
Device Independent Colours Hues identified by wavelength or by their place in systems. ‘Device independent’ means a colour can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other method
Diazo A light sensitive coal tar product used as a coating on presensitized plates, as well as overlay proofs
Die Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing
Die Cut To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die
Die Stamping An intaglio process of printing in which the resultant impression stands out in relief above the surface of the stamped material, either coloured (using inks) or blink (that is, without colour): relief stamping
Digital Back A high quality digital capture device which can be attached to a medium or large format film camera
Digital Camera A camera that does not contain any film but records the image as a digital object. The image is then downloaded into a computer system
Digital Dot Dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary in size
Digital Image A matrix whose locations hold digital colour and/or brightness information which, when viewed at a suitable distance, form an image
Digital Printing Whereby information is transferred direct from the computer to the printing press, and direct to paper. The technique is quite similar to a standard printer, and the image can be altered before every new run
Digital Proof Colour separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to colour photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed
Digital Watermark A visible or invisible watermark that is applied to a digital image such that ownership of the image is known
Digitisationstrong> see Image Capture
Dimensional Stability Paper ability to withstand stress during production and retain dimensions in all directions even under adverse environmental conditions
Diploma A fine paper made specifically for the printing of diplomas, certificates and documents
Direct Digital Colour Proof (DDCP) Colour proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first
Direct Mail Includes all direct response advertising communications through mail or other delivery services including: catalogs, cards, card decks, letters, brochures, pamphlets, flyers, video tapes, audio tapes, diskettes, and promotional items
Direct Marketing Any direct communication to a consumer or business recipient that is designed to generate a response in the form of an order (direct order), a request for further information (lead generation), and/or a visit to a store or other place of business for purchase of specific product(s) or service(s) (traffic generation)
Direct Screen Halftone A colour separation process using a halftone negative made by direct contact with the halftone screen
Display Type Any type that stands out from the rest of the type on a page that attracts attention of the reader
Distribution Rollers In the printing process, the rubber coated rollers responsible for the distribution of ink from the fountain to the ink drum
DL ISO envelope size 110 x 220mm for 1/3 folded A4 letter
DMax The darkest tone that can be printed or displayed
Doctor blade A term in gravure printing which refers to the knife-edge that runs along the printing cylinder; its function is to wipe the excess ink away from the non-printing areas
Dog Ear A letter fold at the side of one of the creases, an indentation occurs
Dot The smallest individual element of a halftone
Dot Gain Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain and Tone Value Increase
Dot Size Relative size of halftone dots as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. There is no unit of measurement to express dot size. Dots are too large, too small or correct only in comparison to what the viewer finds attractive
Dots Per Inch (dpi) A linear unit of measurement used to give the resolution of non-impact page printers. Dots per inch is the equivalent to ‘spots per inch’ (spi)
Double Bump To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink
Double Burn To expose film or a plate twice to different negatives and thus create a composite image
Double Density A method of recording electronically (disk, CD, floppy) using a modified frequency to allow more data storage
Double Dressing The process by which a stack of paper is cut on a guillotine whereby a second, opposing cut is made to the same edge of the stack in order to make a neater presentation of finished work
Doubling Printing defect appearing as blurring or shadowing of the image. Doubling may be caused by problems with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket pressures or dirty cylinders
Drawdown A method used by ink makers to determine the colour, quality and tone of ink. It entails the drawing of a spatula over a drop of ink, spreading it flat over the paper
Drier A term that describes any additives to ink which accelerates the drying process
Drill The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding
Driver Software that allows your PC to communicate with an external device e.g. a printer driver converts output to the correct format for a printer to produce an image
Driver Setting Refers to the options you have set for your printer in the printer driver. For example you can configure the printer to always print on both sides of the paper
DRM Digital Rights Management. Strategies or technologies that are intended to protect digital resources from illegal copying or unauthorised access
Drop Shadow A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page
Dropout Halftone dots or fine lines eliminated from highlights by overexposure during camera work
Drum Scanner A ‘high end’ device using photo-multiplier tube technology to capture images which are mounted on a cylinder
Dry Back Phenomenon of printed ink colours becoming less dense as the ink dries
Dry Gum Dry-gummed paper which glues when wet – also referred to as flatsam or pancake
Dry Mount Pasting with heat sensitive adhesives
Dry Offset Using metal plates in the printing process, which are etched to .15mm (.0006 in) creating a right reading plate, printed on the offset blanket transferring to paper without the use of water
Dry Trap To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap
Dual-Purpose Bond Paper Bond paper suitable for printing by either lithography (offset) or xerography (photocopy)
Ductor Roller The roller between the inking and the dampening rollers
Dull Finish Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.
Dull-Coated Paper Paper which is coated and has an embossed finish, having been supercalendered. Exhibits low gloss and high ink holdout. Suitable for high quality colour reproduction with minimal paper gloss
Dummy A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp
Duotones An image printed in two colours rather than one (greyscale). Normally, black is used together with a further colour. Duotone is used as an alternative to standard greyscale images, as the technique offers a softer, more detailed result
Duplex Paper Thick paper made by pasting together two thinner sheets, usually of different colours. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper
Duplex Printing Print on both sides of the paper
Dust Jacket The loose (usually paper) wrap around a publication, designed to protect the main book from damage. Dust Jackets have come to be decorative finishes for many publications
Dutch Any deckle edged paper, originally produced in the Netherlands. See also deckle edge
Dye Based Ink Any ink that acquires its colour by the use of aniline pigments or dyes. See also aniline
Dynamic Range A measure of a device’s ability to capture a range of tonal values
Dynamic Thresholding Automatic adjustment of brightness during the scan