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Glossary of Printing Terminology



Abrasion Resistance
The resistance of an ink to removal by scratching or rubbing.

Applied to inks, refers to the hardness of the pigment particles.

The extent to which a paper will take up and hold a liquid.

The first stage of drying litho ink when printed onto a porous material.

Achromatic Printing
Where two colours are used with black rather than three. 

Acid Free Paper
Paper that does not contain any acid. Precautions are taken during manufacture to eliminate any active acid that might be in the furnish, in order to increase the longevity of the finished paper.

A computer software package by Adobe used for editing PDFs.

Acrobat Distiller
Used to create PDF files from postscript. Again by Adobe.

Acrobat Reader
Software package used to view PDFs. For more information on how to download Acrobat Reader, access the Adobe site on

The bond between ink and the material on which it is printed.

Additive Primaries
Red, green and blue light. Mixed together in varying combinations and intensities, they can produce any other colour.

Alpha Channel
A hidden image channel in addition to the basic colour channels in an image file, which can then be used to mask parts of that image, so producing cut-outs and transparency effects.

Ambient Conditions
The conditions surrounding a particular piece of equipment, such as temperature and humidity.

AM Screening
AM (Amplitude Modulated) screening varies the size of dots to stimulate different shades of colour. This differs from FM screening where the dots remain the same size but the number of dots used varies.

The etched or knurled steel roller that transfers ink to the stereos in flexographic printing. Their surface consists of a regular pattern of cells.

Minimising the jagged, blocky visual effect produced by differently coloured adjacent areas of a digital image by creating a gradual colour transitions across the pixels between those areas.

A quality bulky paper, particularly opaque, with a rough surface finish. It can be deckle edged, and either laid or wove. A good printing surface is a feature of this grade, which is often used for more expensive books.

Anti Set-Off Spray
A device used on the delivery end of a printing machine to prevent set off projecting a fine spray, of liquid or powder, at the sheet.

Apple Advanced Typography (AAT)
An extension to Apple’s TrueType font format, supporting Unicode-based typographical features similar to but often more advanced than OpenType. AAT runs exclusively on Mac OS X.

Aqueous inks or other permanent records and usually subject to a specification covering strength and chemical properties. Often used for legal documents.

Archival Paper
Paper intended for permanent records and usually subject to a specification covering strength and chemical properties. Often used for legal documents.

Artificial Regeneration
Forest regeneration by sowing or planting, usually after final felling.

Original illustrative copy or typesetting, ready for reproduction.

Authors Corrections
These are changes made to the artwork by the client.