Catalog Design Handbook

13. Printing and production glossary

Ascender: The portion of a typeset character that extends above the x height, which is defined as the area occupied by lower-case characters that contain neither ascenders nor descenders. In most cases, the lower-case letters “b,” “d,” “f,” “h,” “k,” and “t” include ascenders. See also Descender

Bleed: To print an image or area of color that extends all the way to the cut edge of a catalog page, the photo or color must extend at least 0.125″ beyond the cut edge. This additional area is called the bleed.

CMYK: Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, the four primary inks that combine to create process-color printed output, including color photographs, backgrounds, and text.

Crop marks: Short, thin vertical and horizontal lines placed just outside the live area of a catalog page, indicated where the page will be cut out of a press sheet after it leaves the printing press.

Descender: The portion of a typeset character that extends below the baseline. In most cases, the lower-case letters “g,” “j,” “p,” “q,” and “y” all contain descenders. See also Ascender

Guillotine: An industrial cutter armed with a very sharp motor-driven blade, used to cut pages out of large stacks of paper.

Gutter: A narrow margin that separates columns of text or other printed material. Also used to refer to the inside page margin between printed material and the document’s bound edge.

Kerning: A process that adjusts the amount of space between adjacent characters in typeset text. See also Tracking

Leading: The vertical distance between two consecutive lines of type. Measured from one baseline (the horizontal plane formed by the bottoms of letters that do not contain descenders) to the next. See also Descender

Margins: Areas around the outer edges of pages that either contain no printed content or contain no text.

Master page: A document element that contains placeholders representing the size and position of text areas, graphic elements, and other page content. Using master pages enables a designer to standardize general rules for what goes where in a catalog design.

Overset: A condition in which a text box or frame contains more text than the dimensions of the box can display. Most page-layout applications show a small marker at the bottom right corner of any text box that contains overset text. To cure an overset, a designer must enlarge the box, reduce the type size, edit the text to shorten it, or add a box on another page and link the text there to allow it to continue.

Point size: A measurement of the size of type. One inch equals 72 points.

Press sheet: An oversized piece of paper on which a printing press creates multiple pages of a catalog or other document.

Process color: A type of commercial printing that uses CMYK inks to produce color output. See also CMYK

Resolution: The number of pixels (picture elements) in a square-inch or square-centimeter area of a digital photograph or other bitmapped image. These graphic files are made up of tiny areas of color like a mosaic of individual square tiles. Viewing a digital image at high magnification makes the individual pixels visible to the naked eye.

Reverse type: Light-colored type placed on top of a dark background.

RGB: Red, green, and blue, the three color channels contained in digital photographs in their native color space. RGB photos must be converted to CMYK in an image-editing application so they can be printed properly on a process-color press.

Sans serif: A style of typeface that lacks decorative strokes at the ends of the lines that form its characters.

Serif: A decorative stroke incorporated at the end of a vertical or horizontal line that forms part of a character in a serif typeface.

Spot color: An ink premixed to a formula that produces a specific individual color, unlike process color, in which four primary inks combine to produce individual shades. Spot colors include shades from throughout the spectrum, as well as metallic inks that produce special effects.

Tracking: A process that adjusts the amount of space between all the characters in typeset text. Whereas kerning applies only to individual pairs of characters, tracking can adjust entire words, lines, sentences, paragraphs, or even pages of type. See also Kerning

Type size: A measurement in points that defines the height of a piece of type.

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