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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

Laid Finish

Laid Finish refers to a type of bond paper or book paper finish imprinted with evenly-spaced parallel lines that are visible when the sheet is held up to the light. This "laid finish" is produced in the same manner as a watermark; the lines are woven from wire and attached to the surface of the dandy roll in the forming section of the papermaking machine. As the wet paper pulp passes beneath it, the laid design is imprinted into the pulp, decreasing the paper opacity in the image areas. Laid paper is commonly used for company letterhead.


A Laminate is a material constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and sealing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an adhesive.


Landscape refers to a page format in which the correct reading or viewing orientation is horizontal; the width of the page is greater than its height.

Lap Register

The term Lap Register refers to multi-color printing and the process of trapping, or overlapping of a thin strip of a second (or later) color at the edges of a previously-printed color.

Laser Bond

Laser Bond is a type of paper made especially smooth and try to be able to run well through laser printers.

Laser-imprintable Ink

Laser-imprintable Ink is a special type of ink that can be used in a laser printer that will not fade or blister as the paper ages.

Lay Edge

A Lay Edge is the edge of a sheet of paper that is feeding into a printing press.

Lay Flat Bind

This is a term that refers to pages held together with a cold glue, which is more flexible than hot glue, and the pages are not attached to the inside cover spine area but to a free-floating cap. The cover is held on by the first and last pages being partially glued to covers two and three.


Layout has several meanings including:
In typography, a drawing, sketch, or other plan indicating how a printed piece will look, including the placement of text, illustration matter, and other page elements, and perhaps type specifications.
In prepress and design, the manual or electronic paste-up of pages.
In platemaking, a marked sheet used for step-and-repeat exposures.


Leading refers to the space between lines of type, also called vertical spacing, or film advance. The term leading dates back to metal typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted by hand between lines (i.e., lines were leaded). In linecasting, the line was one unit of metal called a slug. The slug could be cast with an amount of leading "built-in" or added by hand later. If no leading was present at all, the lines were said to be set solid (for example, 10/10).


A Legend is any explanatory text attached to (or placed near) an illustration or chart, as distinct from a strictly descriptive caption.

Lightweight Paper

Formerly called bible paper, lightweight papers include a variety of different types of low-thickness, high-opacity papers used in bibles, handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other uses that require low bulk or low weight (for example, in material that will be mailed). The basic size of lightweight papers is 25 x 38 in., and comes in basis weights of 17:40 pound.

Line Copy

Line Copy is illustration material that contains no halftone, continuous tone, or tinted images.

Line Negative

A Line Negative is a photographic negative which contains only text or line art, no halftones, continuous tones, or other matter containing shades of gray.

Linen Finish

A Linen Finish is a paper finish characterized by a surface texture intended to simulate linen cloth, used primarily on bond paper. Linen-finish paper was originally produced by pressing the paper against linen cloth, but the linen finish is now imparted to the paper by embossing.

Loose Proof

A Loose Proof is 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.


Looseleaf is a binding method allowing the insertion and removal of pages in a publication.