Printing Terms M-P

Mask A selection, object, or alpha channel used to block out part of an image. A mask can be used to crop an image to a certain size or shape, or to protect part of an image while the image is being modified.
MICR Magnetic Ink Character Recognition.   Automatic reading method used, e.g. on cheque, based on the printing of numbers in magnetic ink.
Midtone The areas of an image which print at close to 50% grey (or 50% colour).
Moire A wavy or repeating interference pattern, caused when two different repeating patterns (such as two screens) overlap each other. This interference is usually undesirable.
Monitor resolution The number of pixels/dots per inch displayed in unit length of the monitor e.g. 1024 x 1024 The higher the figure the better the display/screen.
Mono Using one printing colour, usually black.
Numbering-at-press To number a job on the printing machine by means of numbering boxes.
OCR Optical Character Recognition.   Automatic reading method used, e.g. on bank giros, scanning documents, based on the printing of numbers in a special Black ink with no other pigments.
Offset printing A lithographic method of printing in which the ink is first transferred from the image to an offset blanket and then to the stock which may be paper, card, metal or other material.
Original The term applied to copy which is to be reproduced.
Outline font A font that consists of mathematical equations that describe what each letter should look like. Outline fonts can be printed at any size and at any resolution without “jaggies” or loss of quality. Contrast = bitmap font
Overs The quantity of unit production delivered to the customer above the net amount ordered, usually charged at a runrate; also allowance to cover wastage.
Page Side’ of a printed or unprinted leaf.   A single sheet is two pages (2pp).
Page layout The process of assembling text, graphics, and other elements into a finished page. Page layout is done in a layout program such as Quark Press. The elements that make up the page (such as pictures, text, and logos) are usually created in other programs (like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or various word-processing programs) and then assembled in the page-layout program.
Pantone A popular system used to specify different colours of ink. The Pantone system lists thousands of different colours, each one of which is a particular type of printing ink; by specifying colours with their Pantone numbers, any element of ambiguity about the exact colour wanted is removed. Pantone inks are used most often in spot colour printing, but Pantone also publishes guides specifying how the colours can be simulated by mixing the primary colours Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. But beware, the same ink printed on different substrates can look entirely different !
PDF   Portable Document Format Portable Document Format is a file format that has captured all the elements of a publication into a viewable, searchable file that can be read with Adobe Acrobat reader.   PDF files can also include buttons hyperlinks movies and much more.
Perfect Binding See adhesive binding.
Perfecting Printing the second side of a sheet, in register with the first side; backing-up.
Pixel The smallest unit of a graphic. Can be thought of as a single “tile,” as in a tile mosaic. A large collection of these tiles makes up the image. One pixel can be only one colour.
Platesetter A special type of imagesetter which prints directly onto printing plates instead of onto film. The central component of a computer-to-plate system.
Point A common unit of measure in page layout. Traditionally, there have been 72.27 points in an inch; most computer programs use 72 points to make up an inch. Type sizes and line thicknesses are usually measured in points.
Portrait An upright, oblong artwork or photograph where vertical dimension is greater than the horizontal.
Postscript A special computer language or a “page description language,” that is used to describe what a printed page should look like. Invented by Adobe, PostScript is the standard way that high-end page layout programs and graphics programs communicate with a printer. The language is interpreted by a device called a RIP, and is then sent to the printer to be printed. PostScript is a “device independent” language, meaning that a certain page will be described the same way no matter what printer it is being sent to; it is up to the particular model of printer to figure out how to print it. Printers which use the PostScript system for communicating with computers are usually more flexible and powerful than their non-PostScript counterparts; non-PostScript printers are not generally useful to the graphic arts community.
Postscript font A standard format for outline fonts. A PostScript font contains postscript-language instructions that describe the shape of each letter.
Press proof A proof made by creating plates and running a job on press. Used as a last-minute check before the entire job is printed. Also called a “wet proof”.
Printer Driver A piece of software installed on a computer which tells the computer how a certain printer works, how to access the printer, and what capabilities (such as page size and resolution) the printer has.
Printer resolution Number of ink dots per inch or dpi. The higher the dpi the better quality film or print.
Process Colour Colour reproduced on a printing press using mixtures of various amounts of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks. Colours which are broken down into their CMYK primaries are called “process” colours. Contrast = spot colours.
Proof A representation of what a page or job will look like when it is printed on a printing press. Proofs are designed to simulate, as closely as possible, the appearance a job will take when printed on press.
LASER Laser proofs offer a high-quality visualisation of the publication. Although the colour is not as accurate as inkjet these types of proofs are ideal for design visuals and checking of large areas of text were screen based proofing methods are not viable.
INKJET / DIGITAL These proofs are of a high quality and outstanding colour accuracy for publications within a process colour space. They are ideal for a variety of publications and offer a chance to check all items within your publication including imposition prior to print. They also offer the advantage of using the same ripped data used in the final output process offering almost total file integrity between digital proof and final publication.
WET PROOF Wet proofing offers the highest level of quality for proofing any publication; it allows you to use the plates and stock that will be used on the final print run. Wet proofing is the only real way to proof items such as duotones or quadtones and is the best option for spot colour proofing. Because wet proofing uses the final plates for proofing, last minute corrections can become expensive.
Quality The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy a given need or requirement; also describes as “fitness for purpose” or value for money as perceived by the customer.

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