L – 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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Lacquer A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection
Laid Finish Finish on bond or text paper on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain
Laid Paper Paper with a pattern of parallel lines at equal distances, giving a ribbed effect
Laminate A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing colour, providing a glossy (or lens) effect
Landscape In printing terms, Landscape is used when describing the paper orientation. In this case the width of the page is greater than the height
Lap Register Register where ink colours overlap slightly, as compared to butt register
Laser Bond Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers
Laser Engraving/strong> A paper cutting technique whereby laser technology is utilized to cut away certain unmasked areas of the paper. The cutting is a result of the exposure of the paper to the laser ray, which actually evaporates the paper
Laser Imprintable Ink Ink that will not fade or blister as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer
Laser Printer A printer that works on the same principle as a photocopy machine, but instead of reflective light uses a laser beam to create the latent image on the photo-electrostatic media
Lay Edge The edge of a sheet of paper feeding into a press
Lay Flat Bind Method of perfect binding that allows a publication to lie fully open. Also called Lay Flat Perfect Binding
Layout A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print
Leaders The dots or dashes used in type to guide the eye from one set of type to the next
Leading Amount of space (usually expressed in points) between lines of type, measured from baseline to baseline
Leaf One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page
Leaf Stamping A metal die, either flat or embossed, created from the image or copy, which is then heated to a specific temperature allows the transfer of a film of pigmented polyester to the paper
Ledger Paper A stiff, heavy business paper generally used for keeping records
Legend Directions about a specific matter (illustrations) and how to use. In regard to maps and tables, an explanation of signs (symbols) used
Length The optimum length of a filament of ink
Letter Fold Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold
Letter Paper In North America, 81/2′ x 11′ sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets
Letterpress Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also called block printing
Letterspacing The addition of space between typeset letters
Lightweight Paper Book paper with basis weight less than 60 gsm
Lignin Substance in trees that holds cellulose fibres together. Free sheet has most lignin removed; groundwood paper contains lignin
Line Copy Any copy that can be reproduced without the use of halftone screens
Line Drawing or Line Artwork A drawing in black ink, producing a single tone
Line Holes Seies of dots running parallel to the edge of the paper web. Used to control paper in manufacturing machine, forms writing machine, burster or other end user equipment
Linen Finish End result of compressing paper between linen-patterned felts, or by embossing a continuous web of paper with a steel roll which has been engraved to so that it looks like the surface of linen cloth
Listing Paper Stock item in single or multi-part forms. Available in many sizes and can be preprinted or plain
Lithocoated Paper A paper that is coated with a special water-resistant material that is able to withstand the lithographic process
Lithographic Printing (Lithography) A process in which the printing and non-printing surface are on the same plane and the substrate makes contact with the whole surface. The printing part of the surface is treated to receive and transmit ink to the paper, usually via a blanket, the non-printing surface is treated to attract water and thus rejects inks from the ink roller, which touches the whole surface
Live Area Area on a mechanical within which images will print. Also called safe area
Loading Clay or other mineral which is included in the furnish of a paper to produce a more solid amd smoother sheet
Logotype (Logo) A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a “sole” entity symbol of that specific unit
Look Through Appearance of paper when it is held up to a bright light
Loose Proof Proof of a halftone or colour separation that is not assembled with other elements from a page, as compared to composite proof. Also called first proof, random proof, scatter proof and show-colour proof
Loose-Leaf Binding method allowing insertion and removal of pages in a publication (e.g., trim-4-drill-3)
Lossless Compression A compression algorithm that reduces a file size but does not loose any data. The uncompressed image is identical to the original
Lossy Compression A compression algorithm that reduces file size by actually removing data from the image. The post-compressed image is different from the pre-compressed image, even though they may look identical (visually lossless)
Loupe Magnifying Device Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester
Low Key Photo Photo whose most important details appear in the shadows
LZW A form of lossless compression available in GIF and TIFF files. LZW compression is proprietary. The acronym LZW is derived from the names of its creators Lempel-Ziv and Welch