Graphic Design Glossary

Jargons of our trade

Facing pages: With a double-sided document this is the two pages you see when the publication is open.

Feather: To insert small quantities of additional leading between lines, paragraphs which includes before and after headings, which is used in order to equalize the baselines of the columns on a page.

Folio: Page number. This is often set with running headers or footers.

Font: A set of characters in a typeface at a specific point size and in a specific style. "12-point Times Bold" is an example of a font.


Galleys: In traditional publishing, it is the type set in long columns and not laid out on a page. In desktop publishing, galleys can be printed out using a page-assembly program for reasons of proofreading and copyfitting purposes.

Greeked text: In page-assembly programs, it is the text that appears as gray bars estimating the lines of type rather than the characters themselves. This makes it faster to draw images on the screen.

Gray-scale image: A deep bitmap that accounts with each dot its gray-scale level. The impression of greenness is a purpose of the size of the dot. Larger dots in a group appear darker and smaller dots in a group appear lighter.

Gutter: In double-sided documents it is the combination of the inside margins of facing pages. The gutter should be wide enough to allow any binding if necessary.


Halftone: In conventional publishing, it is a continuous-tone image photographed through a screen in order to make small dots of different sizes that can be reproduced on a printing press. Digital halftones are created by sampling a continuous-tone image and giving them different quantities of dots, which simulate different sized dots for the same effect.

Halftone screen: In conventional publishing, it is the screen where a continuous-tone image is photographed and is measured in lines per inch. Digital halftones are not in fact photographed through a screen even though the term is still used to describe the size of the dots.

Hang indent alignment: This is type set so that the first line is flush left and subsequent lines are indented on the page.

Hard hyphen: A non-breaking hyphen that is used when two parts of the hyphenated word should not be separated. Instead of a soft (or normal) hyphen where the word wrapping function of a program will "break" a line.

Hard return: A return created by the Return or Enter key.

Head: A line or lines of copytype set in a larger face than that of the body copy.

Hyphenation zone: For ragged-right text an arbitrary zone about 1/5 to 1/10 of the length of the line.


Image area: This is the area on a page where copytype is positioned and is determined by the margins.

Italic: Any slanted or right leaning letter designed to go with or to be compatible with a companion roman typeface.


Kern: To squeeze together characters for a more attractive look of strokes and white space. In display type, the characters more often need to be kerned because the white space between large characters is much more noticeable.

Kicker: A brief phrase or sentence that is a lead-in to a story or chapter. Normally the type is set smaller than the headline or chapter title but larger than normal text type.

Knockout: A printing term meaning that when one colour is to be printed directly neighboring to another color. They are really printed with a minor overlap.


Landscape (orientation): A page or layout board that is wider than it is high.

Lap register: This is used with knockouts. Images of dissimilar colors are somewhat overlapped to steer clear of the appearance of a white line in between the two inks.

Leader: This is a line of dots or dashes to lead the eye across the page to alienated copy.

Leading (pronounced "led-ding"): The space in between lines of type. It is customarily measured baseline-to-baseline in points.

Letterforms: In type, it is the shapes of the characters.

Ligature: In type, it is the characters that are tied to each other, such as oe and ae. In professional typefaces, the lowercase f is also often set as a ligature in grouping with other characters such as fi and fl.

Light (font): This is a font that is lighter than the Roman version of the typeface.

Line art: Black-and-white artwork with no gray areas. Pen-and-ink drawings are line art and most graphic images produced with DTP programs can be considered as line art. For printing purposes, positive halftones can be considered as line art as well.

Logotype: This is a symbol, mark, or identifying name.

Logogram: This is a symbol, mark, or identifying name.

Logotipo: Italian spelling for Logotype or Logogram.

Majuscule: An industry term for a capital letter.

Miniscule: An industry term for a lowercase letter.

Masthead: Credit box at the top of the publication name that records the sponsors, editors, writers, designers, illustrators, photographers and others, including the publication office address, subscription and advertising information.

Measure (noun): In type, it is the length of a line, even if the line is not filled with characters designated in picas. When the text is set in columns the line length is called "columnmeasure".

Mezzotint: For a halftone, it is a screen that produces connected and dusty-looking dots.

Moir patterns (pronounced "mo-ray"): These are irregular plaid-like patterns that happen when a bit-mapped image is made smaller, made larger, presented, or printed at a resolution different from the resolution of the original work.

Monospaced type: A typewriter typeface, in which the amount of horizontal space taken up by each of the characters is the same.


Negative space: In design, it is the space where the figure is not. In artwork, it is usually the background. In a publication, it is the parts of the page not occupied by type or graphics.

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


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

Oblique type: Right slanted characters.

Offset printing: This is for high-volume reproduction. It utilizes three revolving drums, a plate cylinder, a blanket cylinder, and an impression cylinder. The printing plate is wrapped around the plate cylinder then inked and dampened. The plate image is transferred or offset onto the blanket cylinder. Paper passes in between the blanket cylinder and the impression cylinder and the image is transferred onto the paper.

Orphan: In a page layout, it is the beginning line of a paragraph, which is separated from the rest of the paragraph by a column or page break.


Paste-up: This is the process of preparing mechanicals. In conventional publishing, it is the positioning and pasting type and graphics on a board. In desktop publishing, it is the page-assembly software that enables the user to do electronic paste-ups.

Pica: A measurement used in type for column widths and other space specifications on a page layout. There are 12 points to a pica and approx 6 picas to an inch.

Pixel (picture element): The smallest unit that a device can address. It usually refers to display monitors.

PMS (Pantone Matching System): A standard color-matching system used by printers and graphic designers for inks, papers and other materials. A PMS colour is an average colour defined by percentage combinations of dissimilar primary inks and can be simulated by almost all print shops.

Point: This is a measurement used in type for type size, leading and other space specifications in a page layout. There are 12 points to a pica and approx 70 points to an inch.

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

Printer font: High-resolution bitmaps or font outline masters which are used for the actual laying down of the characters on the printed page.

Process colour separation: In commercial printing, it is used for the reproduction of colour photographs. The diverse hues are made by the superimposition of halftone dots of the process colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and black.

Proportionally spaced type: A typeface in which the set width of characters is variable.

Pull quote: A few sentences that are set off from the body text that is enlarged and set off from the rest of the text with rules a box and/or a screen. It is part of the text set previously and is placed in the middle of a paragraph to add importance and awareness to the subject.

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


Ragged right alignment: This is a type set where the extra white space in a line is set at the right side, which gives the text a ragged margin.

Recto: In a double-sided, document the page that appears on the right side.

Resolution: This refers to the crispness of feature or distinction of grain in an image.

Reverse: white or light-colored type or images on a dark background.

Right-justified alignment: This is a type set so that the text runs even on both left and right margins. The extra white space is dispersed between words and sometimes between the characters on the line.

Rivers: These are spaces between words that make uneven lines of white space in the body type. It mainly occurs when the lines of type have been set with too much word spacing.

Roman type: Book weight, regular or in desktop publishing systems which is called plain or normal type.

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

Rule (ruling line): A geometric line that can be used as a graphic improvement in page assembly.

Run-around: This is a type that is set to fit the shape of an illustration, photo, ornament or an initial.

Run-in heading: A heading that is placed on the exact same line as the text and that is normally in bold or italic type.

Running heads/feet: Titles that are sometimes accompanied by page numbers and placed at the top/bottom of text pages of a multi-paged publication.

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