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Printing Glossary

This glossary of printing terms was created by people working in today's printing industry and is brought to you by It has been revised and edited and we have rewritten some technical descriptions in every day language to help the non technical person. Any suggestions that you may have on how we can improve this glossary will be carefully considered. Please send your comments and any new definitions to us at


K is the letter that stands for the color black in the acronym CMYK. C stands for cyan, M for magenta and Y for yellow.


Key can mean the screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press.

It can also refer to relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters.

Key Negative or Plate

The Key Negative or Plate is the basic image-carrying surface in a printing process, which can be made of a variety of substances, such as various metals (as those used in letterpress and lithography), rubber, or plastic (such as those used in flexography). The image areas of a printing plate may either be raised above the non-image areas (such as in letterpress or flexography) or on the same plane as the non-image areas (as in lithography). The exact nature, composition, and method of platemaking depend on the printing process to be utilized.

Kiss Die Cut

A Kiss Die Cut is a form of die cutting where a very light impression cuts through the peel-off portion of pressure sensitive labels, not through the backing material.

Kiss Impression

A Kiss Impression is the minimum pressure required to produce the proper ink transfer from the blanket to the paper or other substrate (in offset lithography) or from the plate to the substrate (in flexography). It can also refer to the minimum pressure required to transfer ink from the form roller or anilox roller to the plate.

Kraft Paper

Kraft Paper is a term used to refer to paper or paperboard made using unbleached pulp produced by the kraft process. Unbleached kraft pulp is generally dark brown in color and strong. Papers produced from unbleached kraft pulp include brown wrapping paper, paper bags, envelopes, etc.