Glossary of Printing & Digital Media Terms

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Term Definition
Acid dyes

Commercial dyes used for nylon, wool, silk, acrylic, polypropylene and blends of these fibers, so called because they are applied to fabric in organic or inorganic acid dyeing solutions.

Acid Free (Neutral pH)

Papers that are without acid in the pulp. Acid free papers have a pH of 7.0. If prepared properly, papers made from any fiber can be acid free.

Acid Migration

The tranfser of acid from an acidic material to a less acidic or neutral-pH material. Occurs when neutral materials are exposed to atmospheric pollutants or when two paper materials come in contact. Acid can also migrate from adhesives, boards, endpapers, protective tissues, paper covers, acidic art supplies, and memorabilia.

Acid Resist

An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching.

Acid-Free Paper

A - paper containing no acidity or acid producing chemicals.


A water-soluble polymer used in paints to make them dry both tough and flexible.

Acrylic Adhesive

A - pressure sensitive adhesive based upon high-strength acrylic polymers. This adhesive is used with laser labels.

Acrylic Ink

A - polymer ink with exceptional flexibility and durability; suitable for exterior applications.

Actinic Rays

Light exposure that affects chemical changes in paper.


The sharpness of a printed shape's edge against its background.


A- pparent Dot Area. The dot area of a printed halftone.

Additive Color

Color produced by light falling onto a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive primary colors are red, green and blue.

Additive Color Process

A method of creating a color image by mixing red, green, and blue lights (e.g. a color computer monitor).

Additive Primaries

In color reproduction, red, green, and blue. When lights of these colors are added together, they produce the sensation of white light.


Substances added to ink that promote abrasion resistance, blocking resistance, pinholing resistance, adhesion, slip, and film flexibility.

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