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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

Natural Color

Natural Color refers to antique, brown, cream, ivory, mellow-white and off-white colored paper.

Neutral Gray

Neutral Gray is any shade of gray, running the gamut from white to black, that possesses no discernible color or hue, or which resembles a gray shade found on a gray scale.


Nipping is the compressing of the spine of a book prior to casing in. Nipping forces out air from the pages of a book block and also compensates for thread build-up. In contrast, smashing is the application of pressure to the entire surface of the book block.

Nonimpact Printing

Non-impact printing is a printing process in which the imaging apparatus never comes into contact with the printed medium.

Nonreproducing Blue

This term refers to a shade of blue that is invisible to photographic film and is thus used to mark guidelines, instructions, etc., on camera-ready copy. Also called blue pencil, drop-out blue, fade-out blue and nonrepro blue.

Novelty Printing

Novelty Printing means printing on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls, ashtrays, keychains, pens, trays etc.