V – 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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Vacuum Frame Also called a contact frame; used in the platemaking process to hold materials in tight contact during exposure
Value The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a colour. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and tone
Variable Data Printing Is a form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter
Varnish To apply oil, synthetic, spirit, cellulose or water varnish to printed matter by hand or machine to enhance its appearance or to increase its durability
Vector Image An image that is composed of individual elements e.g. arc, line, polygon, that have their own attributes. These attributes can be individually edited. A drawing type package is usually required to display such vector images. File sizes tend to be smaller than raster images
Vegetable Parchment Greaseproof paper which is thicker and better quality than normal ”greasproof” paper
Vehicle A combination of varnish, waxes, dryers, etc., which contains the pigment of inks and controls the flow, the drying and the adhesion of the pigments to the printed surface
Vellum A finish of paper that is rough, bulky and has a degree of tooth
Velour Paper A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted
Velox A photographic print that is made from a negative
Verso A term given to the left-hand or even-numbered pages of a book
Vignette A photo or illustration, in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the surface they are printed on
Vignette Halftone Halftone whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade
Virgin Paper Paper made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper
Viscosity In printing links, a broad term encompassing the properties of tack and flow
Visually Lossless A compression technique that reduces the file size by removing data such that the eye does not notice. A visual comparison between the original file and the compressed file do not show any marked differences. A comparison of the binary code will determine the differences
VOC Abbreviation for volatile organic compounds, petroleum substances used as the vehicles for many printing inks