R – 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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Rag paper Stationery or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags”
Ragged Left The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left
Ragged Right The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right
Railroad A thick, coated paper used for signs; usually waterproof
Rainbow Fountain Technique of putting ink colours next to each other in the same ink fountain and oscillating the ink rollers to make the colours merge where they touch, producing a rainbow effect
Raster Image An image that is composed of pixels. An image represented with a matrix of dots
Raster Image Processor Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter
RAW A native file format offered by some of the more advanced digital cameras. While this format is proprietary it also offers higher quality than the standard TIFF and JPEG formats. Adobe is developing an open source format (DNG) file which will retain all the data stored in the original proprietary RAW image while making the file more widely supported
Reader Spread Mechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread
Ream 500 sheets of paper
Recto The odd numbered pages (right hand side) of books
Recycled Paper New paper made entirely or in part from old paper
Red Lake “C” A common pigment for paste and liquid red inks
Reducer Any substance that softens and reduces the tack of ink
Reel A continuous length of paper wound title onto a central core to feed a continuous web press
Reel End The paper left around the core when a reel has been used up
Refreshing Transferring digital data to new storage media to avoid the effects of media deterioration
Register To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register
Register Bond Grade of writing and printing paper
Register Marks Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks
Reissue A reissue is a kind of reprint but one which involves either changes to the text or to the cover. Typically, a reissue will generate more attention from booksellers and reviewers than a reprint
Relative Humidity Moisture of the surrounding air and any packaging materials which affects dimensional stability of paper
Release Paper Carrier for self adhesive material such as labels. The backing readily separates from the adhesive label prior to the application of the material to a surface. See also Backing Paper
Relief Printing Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than non-inked areas. Relief printing includes block printing, flexography and letter press
Repeatability Ability of a device, such as an imagesetter, to produce film or plates that yield images in register
Reprint Any printing of a book, subsequent to the first edition, that involves little or no change to that edition. If small changes are required this is called a revised reprint; the changes are not significant enough for a new edition
Resampling Changing the resolution of an image by increasing or decreasing the number of pixels
Resize See Resampling
Resolution Spatial resolution is normally expressed as the number of pixels per linear unit e.g. 300ppi (pixels per inch), sometimes dpi (dots per inch) or spi (samples per inch). For colour resolution see Bit Depth
Resolution Target An image, such as the GATF Star Target, that permits evaluation of resolution on film, proofs or plates
Reverse Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying colour or paper to show through and form the image. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink colour. Also called knockout and liftout
Reverse Imposition An imposition scheme where pages are in the reverse position to where they would be in a regular imposition, effectively resulting in a folded section with the last page where the first page would be expected to be. Used primarily in the production of matter for loose leaf matter for a ring binder, which has to be drilled
RGB RGB (Red, Green and Blue) refers to a colour system used in video technology equipment such as computer monitors and television screens. These types of imaging technology use Additive Colour Reproduction
Rich Black Rich black is colour made up of 100%K and 60%C. It is designed to give good coverage to solid areas of black and to “lift” the flatness from a process black
Right Angle Fold A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other
Right Reading 1. Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written.2. A photo whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared to a flopped image
Roll to Roll A web press printing process where the roll of paper is printed and stored on a roll to be shipped
Rotary Press Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression
Round Back Bind To casebind with a rounded (convex) spine, as compared to flat back bind
Royalties All authors receive a percentage of revenue from each copy of their book sold, these are called royalties. The level of royalties will vary according to the type of book
Rub Proof That stage of printed ink where the maximum dryness is achieved, and the ink will not smudge
Rubine A pigment somewhat redder than true magenta
Rule Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy
Rule Up Map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and rule-out
Run Around A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy
Runability A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press
Running Head A title at the top of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book