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Terminology Series:    Graphic Design Glossary

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Graphic Design Glossary
A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L     M     N     O     P     Q     R     S     T     U     V     W     X     Y     Z

In computer graphics, an undesirable effect--also known as “jaggies”--in which the edge of the image or letter is characterized by a stair-step appearance.

A term used to refer to the proper positioning of all typefaces and size variations along an imaginary reference line.

All Rights
In publishing, the purchase of all subsidiary rights to a publication, illustration, or photograph, including North American and international rights, serials rights, etc.

Aqueous Coating
Water-based coating applied by a printing press to protect and enhance the printed surface.

The part of a lowercase letter which rises above the main body, as in the letters “b”, “d”, “h”, and “k”.

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Back Matter
All the material that follows the main text of the book such as appendix, bibliography, and glossary.

An invisible horizontal line on which the feet of all characters on a line of type are set, used for proper alignment of type.

Binding and Finishing
Activities performed on printed material after printing. Binding involves fastening individual sheets together, while finishing involves additional decorative actions such as die-stamping and embossing.

Bitmap (Bitmapped)
In computer graphics, the collection of individual dots--or pixels--that make up a screen image.

A synthetic rubber mat used in offset lithography to transfer--or “offset”--an image from a metal plate to the paper.

A printed image that extends beyond one or more of the finished page margins and is later trimmed so that the image “bleeds” off the edge of the sheet.

Block Text or Block Type
In typography, paragraphs set without indents.

Body Text
The main portion of a book or other document, excluding front matter and back matter.

Book Typography
The setting and arrangement of the various parts of a book.

Block Quote
A long quotation--four or more lines--within body text, that is set apart in order to clearly distinguish the author’s words from the words the author is quoting.

In magazine and newspaper publishing, a line added to an article identifying the author (and other contributors) of the article.

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In typography, any of several different typographic elements that are, in essence, “called-out” of the main body text, such as text pasted onto an illustration to identify specific portions of it.

To-be-printed copy and/or artwork that requires no additional layout, positioning, redrawing, or typesetting or, in other words, is prepared to be photographed for a negative or printing plate. Synonymous terms are camera-ready copy and camera-ready art.

Camera-Ready Art
Alternate term for camera-ready. See Camera-Ready.

Camera-Ready Copy
Alternate term for camera-ready. See Camera-Ready.

Cap Height
In typography, the distance from the baseline to the top of the capital letters.

In typography and page layout, any strictly descriptive text accompanying an illustration, located beneath it, alongside it, or above it.

Cast Coated Paper
Paper dried under pressure against a heated, polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.

Any letter, figure, punctuation, symbol or space.

Clip Art
Ready made artwork sold or distributed for clipping and pasting into publications. Available in hard-copy books, and in electronic form, as files on a disk.

Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). The four process colors.

Coated Paper
Paper with a coating of clay or other substances that improve reflectivity and ink holdout.

Color Chart
A set of color swatches, or samples of printed color that are used to accurately mix, match, choose, and communicate a particular color.

Color Matching System
A set of color charts and/or swatches--either in printed form or as computer-generated samples--used to compare, match, and specify different colors.

Color Separation
A means of dividing a full-color photograph into four separate components, corresponding to the four primary colors used in process color printing - cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Color Swatch
A sample of a specific color--either printed or stored digitally--used to describe a particular printing ink or combination of printing ink colors.

Color Wheel
Primary Colors = red, blue and yellow. (In printing; cyan, magenta, and yellow).
Secondary Colors = Orange, Violet, and Green.
Tertiary Colors = Colors produced by mixing two or more secondary colors, as in Green-Violet, Orange-Green, Violet-Orange, etc.

Column Gutter
The space between columns of type.

Complementary Colors
On a color wheel, the colors opposite of each other as in Blue and Orange, Yellow and Violet, Red and Green.

Comprehensive Layout
Commonly referred to as a “comp” is a stage in the page layout and design process consisting of a detailed dummy or layout of the page to be reproduced, showing the exact placement of page elements (text, illustrations, etc.) in a form comparable to that of the final print.

Condensed Font (also Condensed Type)
A font in which the set widths of the characters is narrower than in the standard typeface. Often used when large amounts of copy need to fit into a small space.

Continuous Tone
Essentially, a photographic image that is not composed of halftone dots or, in other words, an image that consists of tone values ranging from some minimum density (such as white) to a maximum density (such as black).

In typography, the setting of type in a shape in order to create the appearance of an object.

Any material that is to be typeset, be it a manuscript or typescript, or a typewritten document with handwritten changes and edits. Copy is also used to refer generally to any other page elements--including illustrations, photographs, etc--that will need to be prepared and assembled.

In typography, the process of estimating the point size and leading in which a particular piece of copy will need to be set to fit in a (usually) predetermined amount of space.

In typography, the space in a letter or other character enclosed--either fully or partially--by the strokes of the character, as in the center of the letter “o”.

Crop Marks
Lines drawn or printed on a photograph, overlay, or printed product to indicate the proper cropping of the image or print in question. Also spelled as one word in cropmarks.

Cutting off an undesired portion of a printed piece, photograph or other image.

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In typography, the portion of lowercase letters that extends below the character’s baseline as in “g”, “j”, “p”, “q”, and “y”.

In binding and finishing, as metal plate or block etched with a design, lettering, or other pattern.

In binding and finishing, a finishing operation involving the use of sharp steel blades to cut a specific pattern into a substrate or to cut the substrate itself into a specific pattern.

In binding and finishing, a finishing operation similar to embossing in which hard metal dies are used to stamp or press images or patterns into a surface, such as a cloth book cover.

Display Type
In typography, type set in a larger point size than the text (commonly greater than 14 point), such as in headlines.

In digital imaging, to use the colors of two pixels to determine the color of a pixel lying between them. This new pixel thus has a value that is the average of the two pixels on either side of it. Dithering is often used to eliminate unwanted jaggies.

(Dots per inch) is a unit of measurement used to describe the resolution of printed output. The most common desktop laser printers output at 300 dpi. Medium-resolution printers output at 600 dpi, and Image setters output at 1270-2540 dpi.

Drop Folio
In book typography, page number, or folio, that is printed at the bottom of a page. Also known as a foot folio.

A two-color halftone produced by overprinting two halftone screens made from the same photograph (usually black-and-white photograph), as a means of generating a monochromatic image with a full range of tonal gradations.

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In typography, a fixed space having a height and a width equal to that of the point size.

Em Dash
In typography, a dash one em long, used to set off parenthetical text, replace missing text matter, or function in lieu of a colon.

In binding and finishing, a process in which images, patterns, or text are stamped or pressed into a substrate.

Em Space
In typography, a fixed space one em in length.

In typography, a unit of measurement exactly one-half as wide as, and as high as, the point size being set.

En Dash
In typography, a dash one en long, used to represent the words to or through, or function in lieu of a colon.

Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.

Extended Type
Typefaces that are wide horizontally -- an example is Microgramma Extended.

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Facing Pages
In a double-sided document, the two pages that appear as a spread when the publication is opened.

Fixed Space
In typography, a blank space of a fixed increment, used where a constant-width blank space is required, since typographic word spaces vary in width according to the justification needs of a line.

Flush Right
In typography, a paragraph or lines of text are aligned on the right side. Synonymous with the term Right Justified.

Flush Left
In typography, a paragraph or lines of text are aligned on the left side. Synonymous with the term Left Justified.

Foil Stamping
In binding and finishing, a finishing operation in which a design or other image is pressed onto a substrate. In foil stamping, a heated die containing a relief (raised) image presses down on a roll of foil passing above the substrate to be decorated.

In typography, a page number, commonly placed outside the running head at the top of the page. Folios are also commonly set flush left on verso pages and flush right on recto pages. They can also be centered at the top of the page. A folio that appears at the bottom of a page is called a drop folio.

In typography, a set of all characters in a typeface.

Foot Folio
In book typography, page number that appears at the bottom of a page. Also known as a drop folio.

Foot Margin
In typography, the amount of blank space allowed between the bottom of the last line of text (or other bottommost page element) and the bottom edge of the sheet.

In typography, a reference relating to the main body of text positioned at the bottom of the page.

For Position Only (FPO)
On a mechanical, a written designation applied to a low-resolution or inferior-quality image (such as a xerox of a photograph or line art) to indicate that the image (as seen) has only been added to the mechanical to indicate its position on the layout and thus is not indicative of the appearance of the final printed image.

Four-Color Process
In multi-color printing, the printing of process color by means of color separations corresponding to the four process colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Front Matter
In book typography and production, the pages of a book that precede the main text.

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Galley Proof
A printout of text used for proofreading before final page assembly.

In computing, a means of speeding up the display redraw rate of a computer monitor by representing text characters below a certain size as gray lines, boxes, or illegible dummy type.

In typography, the term refers to the space between columns of type, usually determined by the number and width of columns and the overall width of the area to be filled.

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Any image--such as a photograph--that exists as a series of small dots of varying size and color density, which serve to simulate the appearance of continuous gradations of tone. Halftones are necessary in the reproduction of photographic images; most printing presses cannot print continuous tones, so photographic images must first be converted to a series of dots in order to be effectively printed.

Hanging Indent
In typography, a form of indention in which the first line or first few lines of a paragraph are set flush with the left margin, while the rest of the lines of that paragraph are indented a specified distance.

Hard Copy
Any page, document, publication, or other data that exists as some kind of output, be it on paper, film, etc., rather than as an item on a computer display or soft copy.

Hard Hyphen
In typography, a hyphen that is always typeset, regardless of where on the line it falls. Such a hyphen would be one of those in the word “mother-in-law”.

In typography, display type used to emphasize copy, act as a book, chapter, or section title, or otherwise introduce or separate text. More commonly referred to as simply a head.

Any printing defect caused by a particle either of paper or other source of debris attaching itself to the printing plate.

Hyphenation Zone
In typography, a “zone” established by a typesetting device or software toward the end of a line, within which the system can hyphenate words. A hyphenation zone is commonly used in ragged right copy. The setting of the hyphenation zone is a way of controlling the number of hyphens that will appear in the set copy.

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Ink Holdout
The ability of paper to prevent ink from penetrating into its surface.

In typography, a style of type that has a chiseled effect, as if chipped out of stone. Although classic in appearance, their use in small doses is most effective, and they are often used in display type and are especially well-suited to dropping out from a dark background.

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Alternate term for the results of aliasing. See Aliasing. Also known as stairsteps.

In typography, setting lines of text so that they line up on the left and right, as opposed to ragged right, in which the lines do not line up on the right.

Type that aligns on both the left and right side. Alternate term for justified text, justified type, and justified composition.

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In typography, the reduction of letterspacing between certain character combinations in order to reduce the space between them, performed for aesthetic reasons.

Kiss Cut
To die cut the top layer but not the backing of self-adhesive paper.

A space left in a document for the later insertion of some form of graphic image. The term knockout is also used to refer to “white type” or, in other words, type that prints as a reverse, or, in fact, does not really print at all, allowing the color of the page to show through a background in the shape of type.

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To bond a plastic film by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection and appearance.

A page format in which the correct reading or viewing orientation is horizontal; the width of the page is greater than its height. See also Portrait.

In typography, dots (called dot leaders) or dashes (called dash leaders) that lead the eye from one side of a line to the other.

In typography, the first two or three words of a block of text set in a different, contrasting typeface or style (such as small caps or boldface).

(pronounced “led-ding”)
In typography, an alternate and more popularly used term for line spacing.

Term for a sheet of paper in a book or other publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Left Justified
Alternate term for flush left. See Flush Left.

General term referring to all typographic characters and symbols.

The oldest of the major printing processes distinguished by its use of raised metal type. The type can be either individual characters or plates made with raised type.

In typography, the space between typeset letters or other characters.

In typography, two or more characters designed as a distinct unit and commonly available as a single character. Examples are ae, ce, etc.

Line Art
Any illustration material that contains no halftone, continuous tone, or tinted images. Pen-and-ink drawings are line art.

Line Length
In typography, the overall width of a typeset line, usually the area between two margins.

A term describing a printing process in which the image area and the non-image area coexist on the same plane, in contract to letterpress (printing from raised type).

In typography, a symbol representing a company or product.

Descriptive of an image--either on a computer display or in printed form--that has a low number of dots--or pixels--per square inch.

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A term for one of the four process color inks used in multicolor printing. Also incorrectly referred to as “red” (or process red), it is the red component used in many types of color mixing.

An alternate term for a capital letter.

Any original handwritten or typed (typescript) copy from which type will be set.

Any deliberately unprinted space on a page, especially surrounding a block of text. Margins are used not only to aid in the aesthetics and the readability of a page, but also to provide allowances for trimming, binding, and other post-press operations.

Master Proof
A galley proof containing flagged items and questions for the editor or author. Also known as a printer’s proof and reader’s proof.

In newspaper and magazine publishing, the listing of the publication’s staff, management, address, etc., commonly printed toward the beginning of the publication. That term masthead is often confused with the flag or logo, which is a newspaper or other publication’s nameplate.

In typography, measure is synonymous with line length.

Camera-ready art consisting of typeset text, heads, line art or other illustration matter, and other page elements pasted up into the proper position and ready for the making of printing plates.

An early technique in copperplate engraving, invented in the 17th century by Ludwig von Siegen, that involves etching a copper or steel printing plate with a pattern of crosshatched lines or dots to provide the illusion of continuous tone images and gray values.

Alternate term for a lowercase letter.

(pronounced “mo-ray”)
An undesirable optical effect found in halftone reproductions resulting from interference patterns caused by incorrect screen angles.

Possessing a single color.

In typography, descriptive of characters of a typeface all having the same width. The lowercase “i” and “m”--which would have different widths in proportional width typefaces--are identical in monospaced typefaces.

In desktop publishing, term for a collection of reference materials, such as an encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, and materials from a swipe file, such as clip art.

A printing defect characterized by a spotty, nonuniform appearance in solid printed areas.

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Generally speaking, a reversed photographic image produced on acetate-based film or photosensitive, resin coated paper.

Negative Space
In design, the space not occupied by the text or images.

Nested Indent
In typography, a form of indention in which each subsequent indent is set relative to the previous indent, rather than from the left (or right) margin.

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Descriptive of computer graphics that are based on vectors rather than bitmaps. See Vector Graphic.

In typography, an alternate term for italic, or a term descriptive of a right-leaning change in the posture of the characters in a particular typeface.

Offset Lithography
A term describing the most common form of lithography (a printing process in which the image area and the non-image area coexist on the same plane, rather than from raised or etched type) in which a printed image is transferred first to a rubber blanket, and the blanket then transfers (or “offsets”) the image to the paper or other surface.

Offset Printing
Synonymous term for offset lithography.

In typography, the last line of a paragraph when it is less than one-third the width of the line--especially when it is the carry-over of a hyphenated word--carried to the top of a new page or column.

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The collection of colors or shades available or used in a project, graphic system, or program.

A brand-name for a popular color matching system, or series of printed color swatches used to match, specify, identify, and display specific colors or colored ink combinations.

The composition of a page by assembling the disparate page elements, either manually or electronically, into a mechanical or other form of camera-ready copy.

A basic unit of measurement in typography. One pica equals 12 points, and 6 picas equal approximately 1 inch.

Shorthand term for picture element, or the smallest point or dot on a computer monitor.

The basic image-carrying surface in a printing process which can be made of a variety of substances such as paper, metals, rubber, or plastic.

Point (Point Size)
Unit of measurement commonly used to specify type size. There are twelve points in a pica and 72 points in an inch.

A page format in which the correct reading or viewing orientation is vertical; the height of the page is greater than its width. See also Landscape.

A reproduction that is exactly like the original.

The conversion or reproduction of a continuous tone image to one with only a few distinct tones, or having a flat, poster-like quality.

An abbreviation for the Pantone Matching System. See Pantone.

Camera work, color separating, stripping, platemaking, and other functions performed by the printer, separator, or service bureau prior to the actual printing.

Primary Colors
Any set of colors within a particular color system that are the most basic colors for that system. All other colors can be produced from the primaries, but the primaries cannot be produced by combinations of other colors.

Any hard copy of computer data.

Any early copy of to-be-reproduced material produced as a means of checking for typos or other similar errors, as well as positional errors, layout problems, and color aspects.

Process Colors
The printing of “full color” images utilizing a photographic color separation process in which each of three primary colors--cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus black--are separated from the original art and given their own printing plate.

Proportional Width
In typography, individual character-width relationships based on character shape and typeface design. For example, the letter “i” has a narrow width, while the letter “m” has a wide width.

Pull Quote
In magazine publishing (and occasionally elsewhere), a small extract of text is pulled from a story or article and set off from the main text, often in a larger point size and/or different typeface, and may be surrounded by a border or rule. Often used for emphasis.

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None Defined.

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In typography, lines of type that are not justified; that is, they do not align at the right margin. (Also called ragged right).

Raster Graphics
Alternate term for bitmapped graphics. See Bitmap.

The odd-numbered page on the right side of an open book, or the right-hand page of a two-page spread. See also Verso.

The degree to which successively printed colors (or images) are accurately positioned with respect to each other.

Register Marks
Small designs, shapes, or other patterns (most commonly a circle or oval with a cross through it) placed in non-image areas of negatives, positives, color separations, and plates to ensure correct register--or alignment--of successive colors and/or images.

The extent to which successively printed colors or images are positioned on the final print, with respect to each other or to their position on the original copy. See Register.

A measure of the extent to which the human eye can distinguish between the smallest discrete parts of an image.

Essentially, the negative of an image, or the producing of the negative of an image. The term reverse also refers to type or other matter that is designed to print as white on black (or dark colored) backgrounds.

Abbreviation for Red, Green, Blue. In computer graphics, the three basic components of visible light, the various combinations of which produce all the colors of the spectrum.

Right Justified
Alternate term for flush right. See Flush Right.

Descriptive of any film or paper image that can be read normally--i.e., from left to right and top to bottom--as opposed to wrong-reading.

In typography, an optical path of white space that sometimes occurs when word spaces in successive lines of type occur immediately below each other and continue for several lines. This is distracting to the eye and aesthetically undesirable, and may be corrected by moving words from line to line in order to position the word spaces. Also known as a river of white.

A sketch or enhanced thumbnail of a page design or layout that depicts a somewhat accurate representation of the final size and position of all page elements. Roughs are usually drawn on tracing paper by hand. A more formalized design sketch is a comprehensive layout.

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

In Typography, copy set so that it will create a “hole” on the page to fit an illustration, photo, or other page elements. The term runaround is also used to refer to contour type, or type that is set to form a shape. See Contour.

In typography, any copy--specifically a head--designed to be set in the same line as the text.

Running Foot
In book typography, a “heading”--such as a book title, chapter title, or author--that is located at the bottom of consecutive pages, in contrast to a running head. A running foot may also include a folio.

Running Head
In book typography, a heading--such as a book title, chapter title, or author--that is located at the top of consecutive pages, in contrast to a running foot. A running head may also include a folio.

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Sans Serif
In typography, characters (or typefaces) without serifs, which are lines crossing the free end of the stroke. “Sans serif” means “without serif”.

The act of--or the computer function that facilitates--altering the size of an image or font proportionately.

In typography, an all-inclusive term for characters that have a line crossing the free end of a stroke. The term serif refers to both that finishing line and to characters and typefaces that have them.

Service Bureau
A business that provides manipulation and output of digital files, usually to a Postscript imagesetter.

Soft Copy
Any page, document, publication, or other data that exists on a computer display, rather than as a printout, or hard copy.

In page layout and printing, any two facing pages of a book, magazine, newspaper, or other publication.

In digital printing, an alternate term for jaggies or the effect of aliasing.

In typography, a secondary heading, often in a smaller point size and set below the primary head.

In typography, characters set in a small point size and positioned below the baseline, also called inferior.

Term for any surface to be printed to which ink will adhere.

In typography, characters set in a smaller point size and positioned above the baseline, also called superior.

Shorthand term for color swatch. See Color Swatch.

Swipe File
In graphic arts and design, a type of “scrapbook” or collection of examples of good design--such as published advertisements, page designs, etc--from which an artist can draw for inspiration.

Abbreviation for Specifications for Web-Offset Publications, a set of standards for color proofing developed by a joint committee to ensure that colors are reproduced consistently among different publishers and publications.

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In newspaper publishing, a page size of a newspaper corresponding to 11 1/2 x 17 inches long. As tabloid paper was often used to print so-called “scandal sheets,” the term “tabloid” itself has come to refer to splashy, attention-grabbing (and, some would say, somewhat “sleazy”) journalism. Not to be confused with an 11 x 17 inch spread which is made up of two letter-sized pages.

In desktop publishing, a code attached to a specific piece of text that provides instructions for its formatting. Tags applied to text include its font, point size, leading, paragraph formatting (ragged or justified), and any other text attribute.

In page layout, a background grid, image, or shape used to indicate where page elements are to be inserted. Templates are used to define the default page layout for a publication.

Text Wrap
Alternate term for word wrap. See Word Wrap.

A small, crude sketch of a proposed page layout, usually generated in bunches during the brainstorming phase of design. Used primarily to seek approval as to which design warrants further development. A slightly more finalized layout sketch is known as a rough.

Abbreviation for Tag Image File Format (or sometimes, Tagged Image File Format). A graphic and page layout file format for desktop computers. TIFF is used to transfer documents between different applications and computer platforms.

A printed image containing “halftone” dots that are all of uniform size, as opposed to a halftone or vignette, which use variable-size dots to simulate a range of tones or shades.

In typography, the adjusting of the letterspacing throughout a piece of typeset copy. See Letterspacing.

In typography, a specific variation within a type family, such as roman, italic, bold, etc.

Type Family
In typography, a group of typefaces created by common design characteristics. Each member may vary by weight (bold vs. regular) and width (expanded vs. condensed) and may have related italic versions.

Any original handwritten (manuscript) or typed copy from which type will be set.

The art and process of specifying, setting, or otherwise working with print-quality type, as opposed to typewriting. Typography involves the proper placement, positioning, and specification of type to ensure not only maximum legibility but also high aesthetic appeal.

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Abbreviation for “upper and lower case” letters.

In typography, some fraction of an em space that, due to the variation of the size of an em according to point size, varies from point size to point size.

UV Coating
Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

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Vector Graphic
Also referred to as object-oriented, as elements within an image can be grouped together and considered by the software as individual “objects”. The detail of the image remains the same whether small in size or scaled larger.

The even-numbered page on the left-hand side of an open book, or the left-hand page of a two-page spread. See also Recto.

An illustration in which the background color gradually decreases in strength (but not hue) as it gets closer to the edges of the image, until it gradually segues into the color of the paper.

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Translucent logo in paper created during manufacture by slight embossing while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

In typography, the lightness or darkness in print of a particular typeface, based upon its design and thickness of line.

White Space
The total amount of non-image areas on a page, particularly gutters and margins. White space also refers to the space on either side of typographic characters, which can be reduced with tracking.

In typography, the last line of a paragraph when it is less than one-third the width of the line, especially when it is the carry-over of a hyphenated word. Widow can also refer to one word or word part standing alone in a line of a heading or a caption.

Word Wrap
In word processing (and other text-editing programs), a feature that automatically relocates a word to the next line when it will not fit on the current line.

Descriptive of any film or paper image that cannot be read normally--i.e., from left to right, top to bottom--or is, in other words, a mirror image, as opposed to right-reading.

Abbreviation for “What you see, is what you get.”

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In typography, the height of the lowercase letter “x” representing the most important area of a letterform for 90% of lowercase characters.

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None Defined.

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None Defined.

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