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The master image that a printing plate will be made from. Usually consists
of a bromide that may contain areas of lineart,
halftones and tints. It
usually includes printer's crop and registration
marks. Also known as "camera ready art" as it is ready to be photographed
to make a printing plate or negative.
The part of a letter such as b, d, f, j, k, l that sticks up above the
A standard coding system for representing letters and numbers in a computer
system, used widely on virtually all computer systems. An ASCII file
is a reliable way to pass unformatted textual information between computers
of different types.
The virtual line that text sits on.
The smallest element of computer storage, can be either a 1 or a 0,
true or false, it would represent one pixel of
a black and white bitmapped image. Bits are usually organised into groups
of eight called bytes.
See also raster. A pattern of bits making up an
Made up of pixels, may have a jagged appearance
A weight of a typeface that is very heavy (dark) i.e. much bolder than
A style of typeface design reminiscent of hand calligraphy, often used
as a drop cap at the beginning of a book chapter
or on wedding invitations to give an old fashioned look. Also known
as Old English or Fraktur.
Area where the image runs off the edge of the page. Printed jobs with
bleeds must be printed on oversize stock and trimmed down to create
Another term for dyeline proof, used because
the process produces blue images similar to the blueprints used in drafting.
Another term for x-height.
Boldface or Bold
A heavier or darker weight of typeface used for emphasis. (i.e. this
The space inside circular parts of a letter such as inside 'p' and 'o'.
A high contrast, high quality black on white image that can be photographed
to produce a printing plate. Can be produced by a process
camera but more likely to be produced by an imagesetter
today. Bromides are used to produce "paper" plates for offset
A type of printer that produces an image by spraying tiny drops of ink
onto paper. Can be black and white or colour. Generally not good for
producing final artwork as image tends to bleed
into paper and half-tone quality poor. Some very high end units are
used for pre-press colour proofing
In the print industry refers to a company who provide access to equipment
such as imagesetters, high end scanners
and the expertise to finalise pre-press tasks from customer supplied
disk files using this equipment.
The standard unit of computer storage. A byte contains 8 bits
and can store a single character or a number
from 0 to 255. Bytes are organised into groups to store all sorts of
information within a computer.
Camera Ready Art
Alignment of type so that each line is central within the margins or
frame, by default has equal space on the left and right, although this
may be altered in some cases.
An illustration or layout that runs across the middle two pages of a
perfect bound bound book. Not pioneered by but certainly well publicised
by 'Playboy' magazine as a 'centrefold'. Many DTP packages do not handle
this well, often it is necessary to produce the centrespread for a magazine
on a larger landscape page rather than two portrait pages.
Traditionally a library or book of line art
images drawn by a graphic artist that can be "clipped" and used to add
a picture to a design layout such as a brochure or flyer. Usually purchased
in books of pictures on a particular theme, or in libraries of random
images with an indexing system. Today these collections of images are
usually purchased as electronic files on CD-ROM.
Paper with an extra layer of pigment bonded to the outer fibres to give
a smoother coating allowing for better quality printing. May be a matt
or glossy finish.
A method of checking colour separations before they are printed. Most
usually this refers to process colour but can refer to spot colour also.
Fuji, Agfa and Chromalin are popular colour proofing systems. These
systems work by applying successive layers of coloured dust or dye onto
a sheet of paper to simulate the layers of colour printed by a press.
A digital colour proof can be produced from a DTP file by a colour laser
or dye sub printer and may be used in the same way as a conventional
colour proof, but there is a strong possibility that colours may vary
between the digital proof and the final printed result, so conventional
proofs are usually used for the final approval by the customer.
The process of breaking an image down into it's component colours for
printing purposes. This process usually happens at print time and is
carried out by the DTP software. This term may refer to either spot
colour or process colour separations.
Process where previously printed sheets are assembled into the correct
order before binding.
A narrower version of a typeface, useful to fit a lot of letters in
a narrow width.
Process of exposing photosensitive material such as a printing plate
or proofing material to a light source through a sheet of negative or
positive film. Often done on a machine called a contact frame which
produces a vacuum to hold the film in close contact with the photosensitive
material during exposure.
An image such as a black and white or colour photograph that consists
of varying shades or colours.
See also bowl. Space inside a letter that opens
onto the white space between words e.g. 'c' and 's'.
Lines that appear on artwork which indicate where the final printed
job is to be trimmed. Where a job is being printed on paper that is
finished size the crop marks are used during platemaking to align the
image properly on the printing plate. Crop marks can be automatically
generated by most DTP packages when printing.
The act of trimming an existing picture or graphic, usually involves
getting ride of unwanted space or objects in the background.
See also ascender, x-height.
Parts of letters such as g, j, p, q, and y that fall below the baseline.
A computer program that allows typesetting and page layout to be performed,
making simple the preparation of artwork for
printing. A wide range of programs fall into this category from glorified
word processors hardly worthy of the title to very powerful programs
that allow typesetting of the highest quality and handle full colour
separation. Also used to refer to the use of desktop publishing
Also known as tablet or graphics tablet, an alternative to a mouse as
an input device that allows hand tracing of artwork into a computer.
Sometimes known as printers ornaments, special decorative characters
used as bullets, dice-boxes and other small graphics. Usually available
as a separate font such as 'Zap Dingiest' or 'Windings'.
The process of sending information from a master computer to slave computer
(such as downloading a file from a BBS or the internet via a modem).
In the context of DTP this usually refers to downloading font outline
to a printer so that it can be used when printing a document. All printers
have a certain number of resident typefaces
in their internal permanent memory, all others must be downloaded. Postscript
printers have the ability to store font outlines until the printer is
turned off, this can potentially save time if printing a number of documents
or pages with the same downloadable fonts in them, as otherwise the
fonts will be downloaded to the printer multiple times.
Dots Per Inch, a measure of resolution for
a raster device or image. Is a measure of how
many pixels per inch, they may be black and white, greyscale or colour
A large first letter in a paragraph. Top of the drop cap usually aligns
with the tops of ascended in the paragraph and takes vertical space
of two or three lines.
A shadow behind and slightly offset from an object, usually in a tint
or second colour that gives a '3D' effect to the object. For an example
see the Type Tamer log on the home page.
See Desktop Publishing.
A folded mock-up of a job with pages in imposition to check that all
pages back-up correctly and are in the right order.
A method of proofing single colour negatives. May also be used to check
multiple colour negatives for fit etc. by making multiple exposures
onto the same sheet of proofing material.
A three-dot punctuation figure indicating omitted words. Many DTP packages
can access it as an individual character, sometimes it must be emulated
with three full stops.
The surface of the film which can be scratched off to reveal the transparent area underneath. The emulsion side
has a dull shine when looked at, at an angle to light, the non-emulsion side is more shiny and reflective. The easiest way
to find out which side the emulsion is on, is to scratch an non-critical area with a sharp instrument (e.g. scalpel)
if you managed to remove some of the material easily, then this is the emulsion side.
The emulsion terminology can get
a little confusing when referring to "Right Reading" and "Wrong Reading", most of the time this terminology refers
to the film being "emulsion down" but some old-school printers may be assuming it's emulsion down.
Refers to special transparent pre-press film with an emulsion that is
opaque to light. It is used to prepare positives
and negatives for platemaking purposes.
In books and booklets a page number; also in periodicals a term used
for publication date and issue information.
One member of a typeface family, such as roman, bold, italic or bold-italic.
An underlying pattern of lines used to divide a page into layout areas.
This is often set up on the base page of a DTP program and then echoed
onto the other pages.
Margins between two facing pages; also vertical white
space between columns. In an imposition, it is the extra area allowed
between pages for folding and trimming.
A photograph or similar 'continuous tone' image converted into a pattern
of dots of varying sizes that can be reproduced by a printing press.
The different sized dots give the illusion of different shades of grey
Head to Head
The laying out of pages in an imposition such
that the tops of pages are either touching or separated by a gutter.
The breaking of a word between lines in a paragraph, a small dash (hyphen)
is added at the end of the word where it breaks. A hyphenation dictionary
defines the legal places a DTP program may break a word.
A phototypesetting machine that accepts input files in the postscript
language and produces film or bromide
output at very high resolution suitable for
use in making printing plates.
The laying out of pages suitable for use in a printing press. It is
often economical to print several small pages on a single large press
sheet, or the front and back of a double sided job using a single printing
plate. It is a good idea to check an imposition using a dummy.
A method of text formatting where all letters are in UPPER
CASE and the capital letters are in a larger size
ISO Paper Sizes
The international standard for paper sizes used in most countries except
the good old USA. Since most software is written in the USA, many programs
do not automatically use the ISO sizes. The ISO standard defines 'A'
sizes which are generally used for printing, drafting and so on and
based on progressive subdivision of an 'A0' sheet (1189x841mm). 'B'
sizes are based on a larger basic sheet size of 1414x1000mm.
A0 1189 841 B0 1414 1000
A1 841 594 B1 1000 707
A2 594 420 B2 707 500
A3 420 297 B3 500 353
A4 297 210 B4 353 250
A5 210 148 B5 250 176
A6 148 105 B6 176 125
A7 105 74 B7 125 88
A8 74 52 B8 88 62
A9 52 37 B9 62 44
A10 37 26 B10 44 31
A 'slanted' version of a typeface often with a hand written look, used
as a companion to normal or roman type. It is in fact an separate font,
definitely not just slanted type.
An alignment scheme that uses word spacing and hyphenation to align
the left and right hand sides of a column of type. Used extensively
in newspapers, books and magazines. Justified type looks neater on a
page layout but is usually slightly harder to read than non justified
See also tracking. The fine adjustment between
letter pairs to enhance appearance and readability. Usually done by
hand at a large magnification on the screen.
See also bubblejet. A desktop printer that
produces an image onto plain paper using a laser beam and photosensitive
drum similar to a photocopier. Some laser printers run the Postscript
language, making them ideal for proofing jobs that will be run on an
imagesetter. Laser printers can sometimes
be used to produce artwork for low quality printing
but do not produce good quality halftones or
tints or type at small sizes.
The arrangement of type and graphic elements on a page to best advantage.
Also known as line spacing. The spacing between baselines of lines of
type. Correct leading is a key factor in readability, generally the
more leading the better in body type, but reduce it in all caps headlines.
Method of printing where the image is transferred from a raised metal
or plastic printing plate to the paper by pressing the plate against
the paper. An ink roller applies a fresh coating of ink to the plate
before each sheet of paper passes through the press. Printing quality
not as good as but capable
of printing on very small sheets of paper. Popular for wedding stationery.
Letterpress machines can also be used for embossing and other specialised
operations not possible with offset printing equipment.
Two letters written or printed as one character. Used in some European
typesetting e.g. 'a' and 'e' joined to produce a combined character
'æ'. These characters are usually accessed with escape sequences
from DTP programs.
An image that consists only of solid black and solid white areas i.e.
it has no continuous tone or coloured areas, and is suitable to use
directly as artwork for printing. Line art can be represented electronically
as a 1 bit black and white bitmap.
The white space around a column of type or
around an entire page. Margins set off type in the same way that a frame
sets off a picture.
A sheet of material that blocks the passage of light. Is often used
in pre-press when manually preparing colour separations. It may be a
white paper mask that is cut to allow an image below to show through
when being photographed, or a rubylith mask
that is cut and peeled back to allow light to pass through when making
contact exposures from negatives. A mask is used to subtract from an
image, whereas an overlay> adds to an image.
Type designs which moved away from the shapes of letters formed by calligraphy
pens to purely invented shapes. Modern typefaces have strong contrast,
abrupt transition between thick and thin strokes and vertical and horizontal
A sheet of clear film with a very opaque black coating called an emulsion
which carries an image. Negative film carries an image in the clear
areas where light can pass through. Is used in platemaking by being
put in contact with a photosensitive plate and exposed to a bright light
source. The areas of the plate that receive light through the negative
will carry ink on the press and create the final printed image. Negatives
are used to produce "metal" plates for offset
printing and "nylo" plates for letterpress
Method of printing where the image is transferred from a plate to the
paper by "offsetting" onto a rubber blanket roller. Relies on the ink
being attracted to sensitised areas of the printing plate and being
repelled by water. Ink and water are applied to the plate by a system
of rollers, this results in an inked image building up on the blanket
roller which is then pressed firmly against the paper as it passes through
the press, transferring the image onto the paper. Can produce very high
quality, detailed printed result.
Typeface designs developed in the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries
such as Bembo, Garamond, Janson and Caslon.
See also mask. In manual artwork preparation an
overlay sheet is taped to a sheet of base artwork to provide a colour
separation. The overlay may be a transparent sheet so that you can visualise
the positioning of the separation against the artwork below. If transparent
sheets are to be photographed for platemaking they should have their
emulsion "down" (image on the underside of the sheet) so as not to cast
shadows when exposed.
See also point. The traditional typographer's unit
of measure, There are 12 points to the pica and six picas to the inch.
This is giving way to millimetres in the modern DTP world, but some
designers still specify line lengths in picas.
Picture Element - an individual point in a raster
image. Depending upon the type of image a pixel may be a point of black
or white, a level of grey or a colour.
The traditional measure of a typeface size. There are 72 points in one
inch. In the hi-tech digital/metric world this measure has remained.
Those who delve into postscript programming will find that all measurements
are defined in points.
A sheet of clear film with a very opaque black coating called an emulsion
which carries an image. Positive film carries an image in the black
areas that light can't pass through. Is used in platemaking by being
put in contact with a photosensitive plate and exposed to a bright light
source. The areas of the plate that don't receive light through the
positive will carry ink on the press and create the final printed image.
Positives are most commonly used to produce screens for .
A printer control language developed by Adobe
Systems. It is a resolution independent page description language
which allows devices of different resolution to process the same print
file and produce the same result to as good a quality level as the individual
printer is capable of. Thus you can send a proof of a job to a postscript
laser printer before sending to an imagesetter
and be assured that the layout of the final job will look the same as
the laser print. It is the invention of the postscript language that
allowed desktop publishing to become a reality, prior to this each typesetting
machine was controlled by a dedicated language and files to run the
typesetter could only be prepared using terminals attached to the dedicated
computer system driving the typesetting machine.
The tasks involved in preparing a print job up to the point of plate
making. Includes the final preparation of artwork
and/or negatives from materials supplied by
A large camera used in graphic art to enlarge and reduce artwork and
make negatives, and bromides. An instant printing platemaker is a modified
version of a process camera. Powerful lights at the side of the camera
shine onto the artwork for a controlled amount of time to make the exposure
The process of checking artwork or negatives before printing to ensure
all aspects of a job are correct. The final proof should be signed by
the customer before printing commences. A proof is usually made by a
similar process to platemaking.
The checking of typesetting and layout against the original copy provided
by the customer. Traditionally this was a specific trade carried out
by trained person, special companies exist that do just proof reading.
The final proof should always be approved by the customer before printing
Phrases or quotes isolated from body copy and set off in quotes or other
display type treatment. Often used in magazines to attract a readers
attention to an article.
A pattern of pixels that creates an image. A scanner
creates a raster image, computer monitors and printers display a raster
image. The higher the resolution the clearer
the image is to the eye.
The process of creating a raster image. Most commonly this refers to
the job done by a printer controller in converting page description
commands into a final image. The computer that performs this job is
called a Raster Image Processor or RIP for short.
A method of electronically marking up a document with corrections and
comments. Is named because traditionally this was done using a red pen.
The process of aligning successive colour separations of a printed job
onto the paper such that they line up exactly. Mechanical tolerances
in the printing press and paper expansion limit how precisely registration
Alignment marks that appear outside the image area on all colour separations
of a job to help the press operator check that each successive colour
is in register with the last. Some DTP programs include a colour called
"registration" to aid in producing your own registration (or 'rego')
marks. Most DTP packages automatically generate registration marks when
A font that is permanently stored in a printer's memory, thus it does
not have to be downloaded, leading to faster
printout times. Imagesetters have the capability
to hold hundreds of resident fonts, most postscript lasers have 35 resident
fonts (13 typefaces).
The density measured as number of pixels per inch
or centimetre in a bitmapped image or device. The higher the resolution,
the higher sharpness or clarity of the image produced.
White type on a black background, or anything white that 'cuts out'
of a background colour or tint.
See also bold italic. Upright,
non slanted type, the basic font in a typeface, usually refers to serif
type rather than sans-serif.
Also known as "ruby", a sheet of clear acetate or plastic with a thin,
strippable coating of red plastic bonded to the top. A shape for a mask
or overlay can be cut with a scalpel, and the unwanted areas peeled
away to leave a solid area. The red areas appear as black to a platemaking
camera, and are opaque to the light used for making contact exposures
from negatives. Amberlith is a similar material with an orange rather
than red coating, and is used for identical purposes.
Another name for a line, you can normally control the thickness of a
rule to be a certain point size.
See also serif. Typeface designs designed with
out finishing strokes or serifs. They have straight stems and monotone
lines. Helvetica, Arial and Futura are examples of sans-serif typefaces.
A device that converts an image, usually a photograph into a computer
readable data file. Scanners for pre-press use often have a high resolution
and a high sensitivity to colour changes in the original photograph.
A method of printing where ink is transferred onto the job by being
forced through a fine mesh screen. The screen is pre-treated with a
coating so that ink can only pass through the areas of the screen where
an image is required. The ink coating thickness is much greater than
with other forms of printing, and it is possible to print on a wide
variety of objects, not just paper. Everything from plastic sheets for
signs and stickers, fridge magnets, clothing, fabric and souvenir items.
Some screen printing inks are suitable for outdoor use so is good for
vehicle signage, bumper stickers and so on.
Typeface design based on ornate calligraphic look. Typically used on
wedding invitations, ornate restaurant menus and so on.
See also sans-serif, slab-serif.
A finishing stroke on the end of the stem of a letter. Can vary in size
from slabs as thick as the stem, to razor thin flicks at the end if
a letter. Times, Garamond and Goudy are all serif typefaces.
A short article that relates to a main body of text, often boxed or
on a tinted background on the same page as the main text.
See also serif, sans-serif.
A typeface that overall looks like a sans serif font as it has the straight
stems and monotone lines of a sans serif, but serifs have been added
to the typeface, usually in the same weight as the stems. Courier and
Lubalin are examples of slab serif typefaces.
Uppercase letters traditionally set to the x-height
of the text size.
In typeface design an upright stroke in a letter or character.
In typeface design the variation between the thick and thin strokes
of a type character.
Ends of certain letter shapes that are not serifs, such as a, f, j,
A small rough representation of a layout to help visualise a design.
An area of partial colour which is made up of a fine pattern of dots
on the printed page.
See also kerning. A typesetting adjustment that
alters the spacing between all letters in a paragraph to make them tighter
Typeface designs created in the late eighteenth century. Serifs
were lightened, vertical stress was strengthened
and and general fineness of detail increased leading to the modern
designs of the next century.
A related collection of type fonts in various weights and versions.
Stone is a very large type family that includes both serif and sans
A design interpretation - often named after the designer of a complete
characterset including numerals, punctuation and symbols in various
weights and styles.
The process of formatting type for a layout. When
done correctly readability of the type is maximised by correct and best
use of the various formatting options available including leading,
tracking and kerning.
A large rounded ancient letterform used in Greek and Latin script; a
forerunner to the lowercase alphabet.
Blank space with no type or other design elements. Is not always white,
but is free of other design elements. White space itself is a necessary
design element to stop a layout looking too cramped.
The body size, excluding ascender and descender, of a letter (i.e. the
height of a lowercase "x" in a typeface.