I – 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.

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Image Archive Collection of images kept in secure storage
Image Area The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage
Image Capture Process of obtaining a digital representation of an original through scanning, digital photography
Image Database Place where image files are kept in an organised form. Software that facilitates organised storage and retrieval of digital images
Image Longevity Length of time over which an image serves a purpose or length of time before degradation begins
Image Manipulation Modification of images using image editing software
Image Modality Type of original e.g. Painting, photograph, 35mm slide etc
Image Optimisation Corrections made to a digital image to make it more closely match the original. Optimisation can also involve preparing the image for final delivery
Image Processing See Image Manipulation
Imagesetter Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film
Imitation Art Paper which is heavily loaded with china clay and also highly finished. It is used for catalogues and is also suitable for halftone screen up to 48 lines per centimetre
Impact Printer A printer that forms characters on a page by pressing raised type on the surface of the paper with a ‘hammer’, usually with an inked ribbon between the actual hammer and the paper; a dot matrix or daisy wheel printer, as opposed to a laser or ink jet printer
Imposition The positioning of pages on a press sheet in a manner that when the sheet is folded into a signature the pages will be in the correct sequence and position
Impression 1. Referring to an ink colour, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit.2. Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press
Impression Cylinder Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image. Also called impression roller
Imprint 1. To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also called surprint.2. A single line (or more) of text added by the printer, usually to the last page of text, detailing where production has occurred
IMS Image Management System (also known as Content Management Systems). Programs to assist in naming, ordering and delivering an image collection
Index Bristol Paper used for cards, tab cards and other similar applications requiring heavier weight of paper
Indexing The entry of data to assist in archiving and retrieval
India Paper Opaque rag paper used for books where extreme lightness or thinness is required. This paper was originally imported from China
Indicia Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp
Industrial Papers A term used to denote papers such as janitorial, sanitary or heavy packing papers
Ink Balance Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral grey
Ink Fountain Reservoir, on a printing press, that holds ink
Ink Holdout Characteristic of paper that prevents it from absorbing ink, thus allowing ink to dry on the surface of the paper. Also called holdout
Ink Jet Computer-generated ink droplets that apply ink through a small orifice to form characters; often used for purposes of personalization
Ink Mist Any threads or filaments that protrude from the main printed letter body of long inks, as seen in newsprint
Ink Setting The inertial resistance to flow that occurs to ink as soon as it is printed
Inkometer A device used to measure the tack of ink
Inner Forme Forme (side of the press sheet) whose images all appear inside the folded signature, as compared to outer forme
Insert A piece of printed material that is prepared for the purpose of being inserted into another piece of printed material, such as a magazine
Inserter Mailing equipment that inserts letters into envelopes
Inset Leaflet or other printed material bound in with the pages of a publication rather than inserted loose
Intaglio Printing Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels, having inked areas lower than non-inked areas. Gravure and engraving are the most common forms of intaglio. Also called recess printing
Integral Proof A proof made by exposing each of the four-colour separations to an emulsion layer of primary colours. These emulsion sheets are stacked in register with a white sheet of paper in the background. Types of integral proofs are cromalin, matchprint, ektaflex, and spactraproof
Intellectual Integrity Continuance of intellectual content from original into the digital image
Intellectual Property Rights An automatic right afforded to a creator giving him or her economic rights of control over copying, adaptation and issuance of copies to the public
Interleaves/Interleaving Printed pages loosely inserted in a publication/between sheets
International Paper Sizes Standard range of metric paper sizes as defined by the International Standards Organisation [ISO] and British Standards Institution [BSI]
Interoperability The ability of content, a subsystem or system to seamlessly work with other systems, subsystems or content via the use of agreed specifications/standards
Interpolated Resolution Pixels, with software estimated values, inserted between those actually (optically) scanned by scanner hardware
Iridescent Paper A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl
ISBN – International Standard Book Number A number assigned to a published work (usually, but not exclusively, appearing above a bar code) and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page. Considered an International Standard Book Number
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Networking. ISDN is used for high-speed communications with the Internet online services or between corporate networks
ISO International Organisation for Standardisation
ISSN – International Standard Serial Number An eight-digit serial number that identifies the country of publication of a magazine or journals and its title. It refers to the complete run or a publication, and not an individual issue. Used in combination with a bar code
Italic Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward/td>