Glossary of Printing & Digital Media Terms

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Term Definition

The term is commonly applied to spatial aliasing, which manifests as visible pixelation - a blocky or jagged effect - especially with near horizontal or near vertical lines of high contrast.


The positioning of text within the page margins. Alignment can be flush left, flush right, justified, or centered. Flush left and flush right are sometimes referred to as left justified and right justified.

Alkali Blue

Also called reflex blue. A pigment used in carbon black inks and varnishes to improve luster.

Alkaline-Sized Paper

Paper internally sized with a synthetic sizing material and containing a mildly alkaline filler. The pH of alkaline-sized paper is above 7.5.


A term for a random, coincidental path or a row of white space within a segment of copy.

Alpha Channel

A special 8-bit grayscale channel that is used for saving a selection.

Alphabet Length

The measured length (in points) of the lowercase alphabet of a certain size and series of type.


Having or using both alphabetical and numerical symbols.


Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration.


An astrigent crystalline substance used in rosin sizing to hold paper fibers together; responsible for introducing acid into the paper.


(Amplitude Modulation) Halftone screening, as opposed to FM screening, has dots of variable size with equal spacing between dot centers. See halftone.


Red-orange acetate used for masking mechanicals when photographing for plates. The amberlith area appears black to the camera, and prints clear on the resulting film.


Like an image composed of black, white and all shades of gray, an analog electrical signal is can be on, off, or everything in between. See also: digital.

Analog Color Proof

Off-press color proof made from separation films.


Continuously variable signals of data.

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