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Printing Terminology - M to R

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Machine glazed (MG): paper with a high gloss finish on one side only.

Machine Minder: The person who actually runs the press. The quality of a printed job is often dependent on the skill of the machine minder.

Magenta: process red, one of the basic colours in process colour.

Magnetic ink: a magnetized ink that can be read both by humans and by electronic machines. Used in cheque printing.

Majuscule: A capital letter.

Make ready: the time spent in preparing and setting-up the printing press.

Make-up: the assembling of all elements, to form the printed image.

Manila: a tough brown paper used to produce stationery and wrapping paper.

Manuscript (MS): the original written or typewritten work of an author submitted for publication.

Margins: the non-printing areas of page.

Mark up: copy prepared for a compositor setting out in detail all the typesetting instructions.

Mask: opaque material or masking tape used to block-off an area of the artwork.

Masthead: details of publisher and editorial staff usually printed on the contents page.

Matt art: a coated printing paper with a dull surface.

Measure (noun): In typography, the length of a line, even if the line is not filled with characters (such as a centred or partial line), designated in picas. When the text is set in columns, the line length is called column measure.

Mechanical binding: a method of binding that secures pre-trimmed leaves by the insertion of wire or plastic spirals through holes drilled in the binding edge.

Mechanical tint: a pre-printed sheet of dots, lines or patterns that can be laid down on artwork for reproduction.

Metallic ink: printing inks that produce a metallic effect, gold, silver or bronze for example.

Mezzotint: For a halftone, a special screen that produces connected, dusty-looking dots.

MG (Machine glazed): paper with a high gloss finish on one side only.

MICR: Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. Automatic sorting method used, e.g. on cheques, based on the printing of numbers in magnetic ink.

Miniscule: A lowercase letter.

Mock-up: the rough visual of a publication or design.

Modem: (MOdulator-DEModulator) - a device for converting digital data into audio signals and back again. Primarily used for connecting to a dial-up  internet service but can also be used for a direct connection between remote computers using telephone lines.

Moir pattern: (pronounced 'mo-ray') Irregular plaid-like patterns that occur when a bit-mapped image is reduced, enlarged, displayed, or printed at a resolution different from the resolution of the original.

Monitor Calibration: Matching the colour balance of a monitor to the chosen output device. For more information click here.

Mono: monochrome - using just one colour. Normally black, but can be any colour. 

Monospaced: A (typewriter) typeface in which the amount of horizontal space taken up by each character is the same.

Montage: a single image formed from the assembling of several images.

Mounting board: a heavy board used for mounting artwork.

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NCR: 'No Carbon Required' - paper coated with chemicals and dye which will produce copies without carbon paper.

Negative space: In design, the space where the figure isn't; in artwork, usually the background; in a publication, the parts of the page not occupied by type or graphics.

Nested stories: In newsletter/magazine layout, stories run in multiple columns at different column depths.

Newsprint: Unsized, low quality, absorbent paper used for printing newspapers.

Nipping: a stage in book binding where after sewing the sheets are pressed to expel air.

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Objected-oriented (mode): The Draw graphics mode. A set of algorithms describe graphic form in abstract geometrical terms, as object primitives, the most fundamental shapes from which all other shapes are made: lines, curves, and solid or patterned areas.

Oblique type: Characters that are slanted to the right; sans serif typefaces often have oblique rather than true italics, which are a separate font.

OCR: (Optical Character Recognition) - a special kind of scanner which provides a means of reading printed characters on documents and converting them into digital codes that can be read into a computer as actual text rather than just a picture.

Offprint: a run-on or reprint of an article first published in a magazine or journal.

Offset Printing: A lithographic method of printing where the paper does not come into contact with the printing plate. The ink is transferred from the plate to a blanket cylinder and then to the paper.

Onion skin: a translucent lightweight paper used in airmail stationery.

Opacity: term used to describe the degree to which paper will show print through.

Optical centre: a point above the true centre of the page that will not appear 'low' as the geometric centre does.

Origination: A term used to describe all of the processes that prepare a job for the printing stage.

Orphan: In a page layout, the first line of a paragraph separated from the rest of the paragraph by a column or page break. Headings without enough type under them may be considered as orphans; there should be as much type below the heading as the height of the heading itself, including white space.

Outline: A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. Can also be called 'curves'.

Overprinting: printing over an area already printed. Used to emphasise changes or alterations.

Overs: additional paper required to compensate for spoilage in printing. Also used to refer to a quantity produced above the number of copies ordered.

Ozalid: a trade name to describe a method of copying page proofs from paper or film.

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Page count: Total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers.

Page Printer: the more general (and accurate) name used to describe non-impact printers that produce a complete page in one action. Examples include laser, LED and LCD shutter xerographic printers, ion deposition, electro-erosion and electro-photographic printers.

Pagination: the numbering of pages in a book.

Pantone: (PMS: Pantone Matching System) - a registered name for an ink colour matching system.

Pantone colours: Premixed ink colours that are often specified for printing as a spot colour. Can be matched using CMYK but will not be exactly the same colour as its Pantone colour counterpart.

Paper cracking: paper cracks when folded. This usually happens when it is too thick or folded across the grain. As a general guide paper over 150gsm should be creased or scored prior to folding.

Paper plate: a short run offset printing plate.

Paper sizes: The most common system of paper sizes in Europe is the ISO standard. Most people are familiar with the A series which includes A4 the usual letterhead size. The C series is for envelopes - A C4 envelope being ideal for holding an A4 sheet. There is also a B series which provides intermediate sizes for the A series but this is rarely used.
The aspect ratio of ISO paper sheets is 1 to 1.414 (The square root of 2). This gives them a unique property: If you cut a sheet into two the resulting halves are the same proportion as the original. In other words a sheet of A4 when halved gives you two sheets of A5. All A size papers have the same proportions. The largest sheet in this series is A0 which is 841mm x 1189mm and is one square metre in area (ISO paper sizes are rounded to the nearest millimetre).
Two other series that you may come across are RA and SRA which are used by printers. They are slightly larger than the A series to provide for grip, trim and bleed.
Of course you can use any size of paper you choose. However, most paper merchants supply ISO sized stock so it is most cost effective to stay with A sizes.

Parallel fold: a method of folding - see folding.

Paste-up:  composition of artwork or typesetting mounted on a backing sheet prior to being photographed to make a printing plate. In traditional publishing, positioning and gluing type, half-tones and graphics on a board (with overlays for colour separations). In desktop publishing, page-assembly software enables the user to do electronic paste-up.
NOTE: paste-up is redundant in modern high-end 4-colour printing where artwork is entirely digital.

Perfect Binding: A type of book binding where the pages are held in the spine by glue. Many magazines and most paperback books are perfect bound.

Perfecting: Printing both sides of a sheet in one pass through the press.

Perfector: a printing press that prints both sides of the paper at one pass through the machine.

Photocopier: a machine which makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat. (Copiers can also use other output technologies such as ink jet, but xerography is standard for office copying.)
Xerographic office photocopying was introduced by Xerox in the 1960s, and over the following 20 years it gradually replaced copies made by Verifax, Photostat, carbon paper, mimeograph machines, and other duplicating machines. The prevalence of its use is one of the factors that prevented the development of the paperless office heralded early in the digital revolution.

Photogravure: (see Gravure) a printing process where the image is etched into the plate cylinder. The main advantage of this method of printing is the high speed, long run capability. Used mainly for mail order and magazine work.

Pica: (em) a printing industry unit of measurement. There are 12 points to a pica, one pica is approximately 0.166in.

Picking: the effect of ink being too tacky and lifting fibres out of the paper. Shows up as small white dots on areas of solid colour.

Pipelining: the ability of a program to flow automatically text from the end of one column or page to the beginning of the next. An extra level of sophistication can be created by allowing the flow to be re-directed to any page and not just the next available. This is ideal for US-style magazines where everything is 'Continued on...'!

Pixel: The smallest unit that a device can address. Most often refers to display monitors, a pixel being the smallest spot of phosphor that can be lit up on the screen.

Plate: A metal sheet with a specially coated 'emulsion' on its surface which when exposed through a film mask or by CTP process will produce an image. When the plate is loaded onto printing press it then reproduces this image using inks onto the paper.

PMS: See Pantone Matching System.

PNG: (Usually pronounced 'ping' - Portable Network Graphics), is used for lossless compression. The PNG format displays images without jagged edges while keeping file sizes relatively small, making them popular on the web. PNG files however don't contain colour profiles which makes them unsuitable for high-end colour printing. Use TIF files instead.

Point: the standard unit of type size of which there are 72 to the inch (one point is approximately 0.01383in). Point size is the measure from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender.

Portrait: The orientation of the page so that the short edge is along the bottom. Sometimes referred to as vertical. The opposite of landscape.

Posterization: For a halftone, the reduction of the number of gray scales to produce a high-contrast image.

Postscript: The brand name of a software standard created by Adobe. It is a page description language that is used by most graphics software and output devices to combine text, pictures and graphical elements into an electronic document and create output that the printer can use.

Primary colours: (printing) cyan, magenta and yellow. These three colours when mixed together with black will produce a reasonable reproduction of all other colours.

Print engine: the parts of a page printer that perform the print-imaging, fixing and paper transport. In fact, everything but the controller.

Printer font:  High-resolution bitmaps or font outline masters used for the actual laying down of the characters on the printed page, as opposed to display on the screen.

Printers Daggers: (Obelisk) Symbol used as a reference marker † - also double dagger ‡.

Printing Plate: The physical plate that carries the image. These can be made from a variety of materials. At the cheaper end of the market there are paper or plastic plates that are designed to be used once and thrown away. They are very economic for short runs such as small quantities of stationery. See Plate.

Process blue: the blue or cyan colour in process printing.

Process colour: Colour specified in percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When superimposed during printing the four colour printing process, their separate plates can recreate millions of different colours.

Progressives: colour proofs taken at each stage of printing showing each colour printed singly and then superimposed on the preceding colour.

Proof correction marks: (typesetting) a standard set of signs and symbols used in copy preparation and to indicate corrections on proofs. Marks are placed both in the text and in the margin.
In the era of desktop publishing, the standard proof correction marks which were formerly in widespread use in publishing have fallen into disuse.

Proof: A representation of the finished print produced for customer inspection for errors to be corrected prior to mass printing.

Proportional spacing: (typesetting) a method of spacing whereby each character is spaced to accommodate the varying widths of letters or figures, so increasing readability.
Books and magazines are set proportionally spaced, typewritten documents are generally monospaced.

Pull quote: A brief phrase (not necessarily an actual quotation) from the body text, enlarged and set off from the text with rules, a box, and/or a screen. It is from a part of the text set previously, and is set in the middle of a paragraph, to add emphasis and interest.

Pulp: the raw material used in paper making consisting mainly of wood chips, rags or other fibres. Broken down by mechanical or chemical means.

Punctuation block: In right-justified or right-aligned text, several consecutive lines that end with punctuation and make the right margin look uneven.

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Quark Xpress: Professional typesetting and page layout program.

Quick mask: A screen display mode in Photoshop in which a translucent coloured mask covers selected or unselected areas of an image.

Quiet Border: (or margin) A space around the edge of a page that's free of any important text and graphics - to allow room for any variation in cutting and trimming. Usually 3mm. Also see Bleed.

Quire: 1/20th of a ream (25 sheets).

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Rag paper: high quality stationery made from cotton rags.

Ragged: (typesetting) lines of type that do not start or end at the same position.

Ranged left/right: (typesetting) successive lines of type which are of unequal length and which are aligned at either the right or left hand column.

Ream: 500 sheets of paper.

Recto: Right hand page of an open publication.

Reference marks: symbols used in text to direct the reader to a footnote. E.g. asterisk, dagger, double dagger, section mark, paragraph mark.

Register marks: used in colour printing to position the paper correctly. Usually crosses or circles.

Register: the correct positioning of an image especially when printing one colour on another.

Resolution: the number of dots per inch (dpi) in a computer-processed document. The level of detail retained by a printed document increases with higher resolution. ppi (pixels per inch) for an image. All non-vector artwork is supplied at a minimum of 300 dpi.

Retouching: a means of altering artwork or colour separations to correct faults or enhance the image.

Reverse out: to reproduce as a white image out of a solid background.

Revise: indicates the stages at which corrections have been incorporated from earlier proofs and new proofs submitted. Egg First revise, second revise.

RGB: An acronym for red, green and blue. RGB is a colour model used for computer monitors and colour video output systems. Colour separations for litho printing cannot be made directly from RGB files and need to be converted to CMYK first.

Right reading: a positive or negative which reads from left to right.

Right-justified alignment: Type set so that the text runs even on the right margin as well as on the left margin; the extra white space is distributed between words and sometimes between characters on the line.

RIP: (raster image processor) Computer used to create an electronic bitmap for actual output. This may be built into an image setter or may be separate.

Rivers:  Spaces between words that create irregular lines of white space in body type, particularly occurs when the lines of type have been set with excessive word spacing.

Roman type: Book weight, regular, or in desktop publishing systems, called plain or normal type -- used for the body type in a text-intensive publication.

Rotary press: a web or reel fed printing press which uses a curved printing plate mounted on the plate cylinder.

Rotogravure: The web version of gravure.

Rough: A refined thumbnail sketch for a publication design, done at actual size, with more detail. Roughs are often used for the first client review.

Royal: a size of printing paper 20in x 25in (508 x 635mm).

Rule (ruling line): A geometric line used as a graphic enhancement in page assembly -- the term is used to distinguish ruling lines from a line of type.

Run-around: (see also Text wrap) - (typesetting) the ability within a program to run text around a graphic image within a document, without the need to adjust each line manually.

Run-back: Reverse of run-on (see run-on).

Run-in heading: A heading set on the same line as the text, usually in bold or italic type.

Running heads/feet: Titles (often accompanied by page numbers) set at the top/bottom of text pages of a multi-paged publication.

Run-on: Often when a printing price is quoted it is given as a figure for the basic job plus a figure for additional copies. For example the price may be 2000 copies at 300 with 25 for a 500 run-on. This enables you to calculate a range of prices for different quantities.
It is very important to note that the run-on price is for copies printed at the same time as the main run. For instance, in the example given, you could not have 2000 copies today and then expect to have another 500 at some future date for just 25. In many cases the set-up and Make Ready charges represent a large proportion of the print cost.

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