Type Tamer


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A (Top)

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 x-height.

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.


B (Top)

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 image.

Made up of pixels, may have a jagged appearance when viewed.

A weight of a typeface that is very heavy (dark) i.e. much bolder than bold.

Black Letter
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 the bleed.

Another term for dyeline proof, used because the process produces blue images similar to the blueprints used in drafting.

Body Height
Another term for x-height.

Boldface or Bold
A heavier or darker weight of typeface used for emphasis. (i.e. this is bold)

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 printing.

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.


C (Top)

Camera Ready Art
See artwork.

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.

Centre Spread
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.

Clip Art
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.

Coated Paper
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.

Colour Proof
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.

Colour Separation
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.

Contact Printing
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.

Continuous tone
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'.

Crop Marks
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.


D (Top)

See also ascender, x-height. Parts of letters such as g, j, p, q, and y that fall below the baseline.

Desktop Publishing
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 programs.

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 pixels.

Drop Cap
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.

Drop Shadow
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.

Dyeline Proof
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.


E (Top)

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.


F (Top)

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.


G (Top)

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.


H (Top)

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 or tones.

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.


I (Top)

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.

Initial Caps
A method of text formatting where all letters are in UPPER CASE and the capital letters are in a larger size for emphasis.

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.


J (Top)

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 type.


K (Top)

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.


L (Top)

Laser Printer
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.

Letterpress Printing
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.

Line Art
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.


M (Top)

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 accents.


N (Top)

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 printing.


O (Top)

Offset Printing
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.

Old Style
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.


P (Top)

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 the customer.

Process Camera
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 on film.

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.

Proof Reading
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 commences.

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.


R (Top)

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 is achieved.

Registration Marks
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 printing separations.

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 Rasterise

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.


S (Top)

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.

Screen Printing
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.

Small caps
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.


T (Top)

Ends of certain letter shapes that are not serifs, such as a, f, j, r,y.

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 or looser.

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.

Type family
A related collection of type fonts in various weights and versions. Stone is a very large type family that includes both serif and sans serif fonts.

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.


U (Top)

A large rounded ancient letterform used in Greek and Latin script; a forerunner to the lowercase alphabet.


W (Top)

White Space
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.


X (Top)

The body size, excluding ascender and descender, of a letter (i.e. the height of a lowercase "x" in a typeface.