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Glossary of Printing Terminology


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Allows chips, or printed circuits, to be inserted in products as a track and trace technology. Gaining an increasing use in packaging.

Rag Paper
Paper made from stock containing a substantial portion of rag pulp, which is produced chiefly from recovered cotton and linen. The minimum percentage of such pulp required for a paper to be so designated varies from country to country.

Raster Image Processor (RIP)
A device or programme that interprets a page description language containing a file’s instructions for printing. The RIP converts instructions to dot patterns, so that the printer or press can create a document.

Digital photo format captured by professional- class digital cameras. It contains unprocessed image data from the camera’s image sensor, and is proprietary to each camera.

Real Art
A generic term given to woodfree coated papers, which has traditionally referred to papers with a highly polished surface in the upper quality bracket. Today, the term is less used because of the introduction of more categories in the sector. However, Real Art is till used for those woodfree coated papers, Silk or matt, which are considered to be of the very highest quality.

Five hundred (500) sheets of paper of the same quality, size, and grammage. In earlier times, a ream could also consist of 48 or 516 sheets.

The only obstacle to the recyclability of fine paper are certain finishes, such as UV lacquering, laminating, plastic coating, pulp dyeing, self-adhesive glues, scratch finishes, plastic windows in envelopes and flexographic printing.

Recyclable Fibre
Fibre, such as waste paper, that can be used again to make new paper.

Recycled Paper
Paper made all or in part from recycled pulp.

Recycled Pulp
Pulp made from waste paper or board and used to make paper. It may or may not be de-inked. The quality of the fibres deteriorates with recycling, so paper cannot be endlessly recycled.

A continuous length of paper wound on a core, irrespective of diameter, width or weight. Reels may thus be rewound into smaller reels or slit into coils.

Reel to Reel
A machine on which the material is supplied in reel form, and comes off again in reel form.

The accurate positioning of images on a sheet relative to one another.

Register Marks
A set of fine line crosses or other suitable devices added to original artwork to provide reference points for accurate subsequent multi-colour printing or finishing processes.

Reinforced Paper
Any paper that has been strengthened mechanically by the incorporation of other materials such as plastics, threads, cloth or strips of metal.

Relative humidity (RH)
Quotient of the amount of moisture in air and the amount that would saturate it at the same temperature and pressure, expressed as a percentage. Optimum printing press conditions are 20ºC and 55 to 65% RH.

Printing method using a raised image, e.g. letterpress.

Remote Proofing
Allows print companies to send electronic files to a calibrated printer at a customer site; which are then printed as proofs.

Rendering Intent
A style of mapping colour values from one image description to another.

Renewable Resources
Forests, solar and wind energy. Resources that can be renewed (see also Non-renewable resources).

Report Generator
An element within computer software that dictates the position and text of information to be produced by the output printer device on paper stationary. The computer programme- which is the report generator- determines how the form is to be designed.

Repro (Repro Graphic)
Pre-press, camera work, scanning and make up, whether film or electronic files

Repro Paper
Sometimes known as baryta paper, this is a speciality grade (usually in substances of around 160 g/m squared and 125 g/m squared) that has a hard sized white coating and good absorbency for quick ink drying. A heavier grade is used for typesetting and line drawing in connection with lithography and is designed to give perfect print variety for subsequent camera work. It may also be used for letterpress proofing. The lighter substance paper is used for IBM setting (or similar systems of direct impression typesetting) and line ruling, the pink or blue back giving added opacity at relatively low grammage, which helps in paste up for photography and camera work.

Complex organic substances in a ink, which upon drying become the binder or film-forming materials.

A generalised term to express the density of pixels addressable by a computer imaging device (printers, scanner, camera, display), usually expressed as dots per inch (dpi)

Slow drying solvents used for reducing the drying rate of ink.

Retree Paper
Paper that has become available because of over making or side runs or because it is in some way less than perfect. Although sold without a guarantee, the substance and size tolerances would be expected to conform to industry standards. Often referred to as clearance paper.

Reversed Out Printing
Text is normally printed directly onto paper. The process of ‘reversing out’ is to print a solid block of colour while leaving the text to be read as unprinted areas on the paper, ie ‘white’ text being read on a background of solid colour – seen often in titles.

Reverse Side Printing
Printing on the underside of a leaf of paper.

see Radio Frequency Identification

Short for the additive primary colours: Red, Green and Blue.

Ribbonless Entry
Entering information on to a multi-part set by an output printer device that does not have a carbon ribbon. This is often seen in hidden entry systems or when self contained carbonless products are in use.

Rice paper
Rice paper is not actually paper but the sliced and flattened pith of a plant that grows in Taiwan. Chinese artists sometimes use it as a surface for painting.

The rigidity of a paper or board is measured using a stiffness tester. This operates by measuring the force required to bend a strip of the material to an angle of 15 degrees. The greater the force required, the more rigid the material and the higher the value.

Raster image processor (pronounced ‘rip’), the software engine that converts PostScript page data to a high resolutions bitmap for an output device.

Roll Up/Roll Back
The surface of a board delaminates and becomes a tight roll. Always occurs from an edge and usually affects bulky boards. Roll ups inevitably damage printing blankets.

A ‘row’ of text or spaces, always 1/6” in depth when continuous, that runs across the width of a form.

Run Length
The number of copies to be printed.

The ability of a paper or board to perform on a printing press or on converting machinery without problems.