Printing, Graphics, Signage and Trade Show Glossary of Terms



Sidewalk signs in an A shape, sometimes referred to as sandwich board signs. Hinged at the top with sign inserts on either side that may be printed on coroplast, PVC or directly mounted vinyl. Available in many sized in durable white or black plastic, metal, etc.

Abrasion resistance

A material’s ability to resist deterioration or destruction by rubbing. Alternative term: rub resistance.


A material’s ability to take up liquids or vapors (e.g., water).


No color or hue. (Black and white or grey.)


Term used for plastic manufactured by Lucite®, Plexiglas®, Acrylite®, and other brand names for acrylic.  Available in various thicknesses, clear or colors in opaque and translucent.


(see Dibond)

Adhesive Types

Generally, printable and some pre-colored adhesive vinyl is produced in the following general types, designed for different application and removal requirements:

  • Re-positionable /Changeable – Adhesive that permits removal and re-positioning shortly after application, prior to development of ultimate adhesion.
  • Removable – Adhesive that may be removed without applying heat
  • Permanent – Adhesive that provides permanent bond to a wide variety of surfaces
  • High Tack / Low Energy– Adhesives designed for applying to plastic, powder-coating and other hard-to-adhere surfaces
  • Air release or Air egress – adhesive that has micro pattern to allow air to release and prevent bubbles being trapped.

Adhesive-backed Vinyl (aka Pressure Sensitive Vinyl or PSV)

A huge category with many different specialty adhesives, thicknesses and quality levels, providing a wealth of options for each application situation. The vinyl may be pre-colored, or used for printing/cutting when the graphic has to be mounted either to a vehicle or other substrate.


Attachment of at least one separate piece to another with an adhesive. Also referred to as “mounting” when applying adhesive backed media to a rigid substrate.


  • Positioning type characters along a horizontal line. See also; justification.
  • In large format, ensuring that series of rigid panels or sheets of roll media will properly conform exactly when assembled or applied to recreate an image that had to be split in production.


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.


A brand of sign panel with a corrugated/fluted polypropylene interior with aluminum on both sides. More durable than corrugated plastic and lighter than ACM, this hybrid is a good option for some exterior use due to its light weight and resistance to rust.


The process of averaging between pixels of different colors. In practice, the result is a smoother, blended transition between the edge of two areas rather than a distinctly jagged or ‘stair-step’ appearance. See also: dithering.

Anti-curl banner material

Printable vinyl smooth banner media intended for use in retractable banner stands to prevent edge-curling (sometimes known as the “taco” or “burrito” effect). The tension on a pull-up banner display can cause regular banner curl in, so the SF Peninsula team at SpeedPro never uses scrim or inexpensive banner for these stands.

Apparent Metamerism

(see Metamerism)

Aqueous Coating

Aqueous coating is not applied in large format work, where either durable inks or overlamination provide similar protection. In offset and small format digital, it is a water based coating applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.


All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Artist Canvas

Printable coated canvas material for gallery wrap prints and glicée art reproductions.



A print illuminated from behind. These prints may also be viewed from the front with the back lighting off.

Backlit Displays

Flat panel displays intended to be lit from behind. May range from retail outdoor signage to LED exhibit signs.


A versatile display graphic that can be hung, carried or attached to a surface. Most modern banners are printed on durable vinyl material (see Scrim Banner, Smooth Banner, Mesh Banner), but can also be made with contour cut vinyl lettering or printed on fabric. Banners are often finished with hems and grommets, and can also feature pole or rope pockets, reinforced corners or nylon-reinforced seams.

Banner Wind Slits or Vents

A series of cuts (usually semi-circular ‘U’ shaped or “V” shaped) cut in a banner in the mistaken belief that this relieves or reduces wind resistance. The effectiveness of wind vents has been thoroughly disproved by science, but they are still required in many towns and cities for street banners.

Bitmap (see: Raster)

An image that is digitally produced using dots (pixels) rather than a mathematical formula (see Vector). Since the image has a limited native size, when enlarging for large format, over-sizing will result in either pixilation (aliasing) or a softened loss of resolution through interpolated pixels. Unlike in the movies or TV, pictures cannot be blown-up with tight resolution, alas. See also: line art; object oriented; raster; vectors.


  • Used when an image is meant to extend completely to the edge of the finished sheet. Printing a color beyond the trim edge of a sheet to ensure that there is no white space at the edge after the media on which the image is printed is trimmed to finish size. See also: extended color; full bleed.
  • Adding a small border of the same color to an image detail so the color overlaps a different, adjacent color. The intention is to ensure that no white space is visible where the two colors meet even if there are slight variations in registration (x y positioning) of the two colors.


An enlargement, usually used with graphic images or photographs


The main text of work not including the headlines.

Boiler Plate

Blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.


The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.

Brushed Metal

A surface characteristic for aluminum or steel signs. Dibond (ACM) and other substrates offer this surface treatment that provides a distinctive look to signs – either with direct print or as a back plane on multi-level dimensional signage.

Bubble wrap

Well d’uh! We use a lot of it when shipping, so no complaints to date.


A dot or similar marking to emphasize text.

Butt Seam

In wall murals and wallpapering, the process of overlapping matching panels and then cutting a fine line in the middle before removing the underlying and overlaying pieces, leaving a virtually invisible joint. This is recommended for non-shrinking materials such as backed wallpaper and some woven adhesive backed media. For vinyl wraps or wallcoverings, however, overlapping seams are recommended to avoid gaps if any shrinkage should occur.



1) Reflective photographic print material–paper based with a very thin polyester laminate on both sides.

2) Generic term for commercial short run color poster paper gloss print.

C1S and C2S

Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides. Term used with paper stocks and rarely in large format.


To make the surface of paper smooth by pressing it between highly polished metal rollers during manufacturing.

Calendered PVC or Calendered vinyl

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) sheet formed by means of system of cylinders, distributing and pressing the PVC into a sheet of the required caliper. Calendered vinyl is less expensive to produce than Cast vinyl, but shrinks over time and does not have the elasticity to conform to compound curves such as required for vehicle wraps.

Calibration bars

A strip of tones printed on paper, vinyl or film and used for quality control.


  • Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or pages per centimeter (ppc).
  • Device on a sheet fed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.



A distinctive style of artistic handwriting created by using special pen nibs that allow a calligrapher to vary the thickness of a letter’s line elements. The art flourished from the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries.


A quotation, often surrounded by a box, that uses large text to set it apart from the rest of the page. The effect is to draw attention to the page contents.

Cap height

A measurement from the bottom of a capital letter to its top.


Capital or uppercase letters.

Caps, small

Capital or uppercase letters that are about the same height as the lowercase version of the font.

Cast (or Premium, High Performance, etc.) Adhesive Vinyl

High quality, flexible, printable adhesive-backed vinyl designed for longer-term durations on flat surfaces or conformable application with heat over dimensional surfaces (wraps, etc.) Less shrinkage and improved dimensional stability than with calendered vinyl.

Cleat (see French Cleat)

Wood strips cut at a 45 degree angle–one mounts to the wall, the other is attached to the graphic panel. Also referred to as a “Gardner Cleat” or a “Gravity Cleat.”


A term often used for a short term wrap to be applied to walls, windows or floor surfaces. Technically, cling implies “static cling”, a material that uses surface tension rather than adhesive to stick to smooth surfaces like glass, however the term ‘cling’ is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to other removable media (micro-dot adhesive, changeable adhesive, etc.)

Clip art

Graphic images, designs, and artwork in digital form that can be copied and pasted into a digital document or image. Clip art can be obtained on diskette, CD-ROM, or as a download from the Web with pricing that ranges from free to pay.


Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.


CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, a process used broadly in manufacturing that involves the use of computers to control machine tools. Our Esko Kongsberg flatbed cutter is a CNC system used for precession routing or cutting various hard materials such as foams, card stock, plastics, wood and aluminum composites as well as soft, flexible materials such as banner, vinyl and paper.

Cold Laminate

A protective laminate used on graphic prints applied under pressure at room temperature–very durable, available with a luster, matte, gloss, or satin finish. At SpeedPro, we also have the ability to apply cold laminate with “heat assist” that can improve the initial adhesion and look. “Hot” laminates barely exist anymore due to advances in cold laminate (or heat assist) technology.

Color Balance

Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.

Color Control Bar

Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Correct (see ECC)

To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Gamut

The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.

Color Matching

The process of working to ensure that a sample of the printed image matches either the spot (or PMS) color desired or an overall saturation / density / hue on a photo.

Color Profile

Color profiles are generated for printer and media combinations so that accurate reproduction of colors is possible. They are also very useful in obtaining color matches between monitors and printers.

Composition (“Comp”)

  • In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing.
  • In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.


Ability of a material to adjust itself to the contours of a surface. For large format prints on specialty surfaces such as brick, exterior cinder block, sidewalks, etc., special materials are available to conform.


The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Contour cutting

The process of using a digital cutting system (plotter-cutter or digital flatbed table) to cut letters or shapes from vinyl or rigid substrates. Digital files require a “cut line” or “die line” to define the cut path. Cuts may be through cuts – fully through the material – or “kiss cuts” which only cut thin vinyl and leave the backer intact for installation.

Coroplast® (corrugated plastic)

Brand of lightweight, printable corrugated plastic material used for inexpensive signage, the term is used generically. Available in a number of different colors, opaque and translucent. Sometimes though of as the exterior equivalent of foamcore. Since corrugated plastic has flutes like corrugated cardboard, ensuring the direction of the flutes can is important if lawn “H” stakes will be used.

Crop Marks

Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.


In traditional printing curing is drying inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing. Fortunately at SpeedPro, most of our ink sets require no or little curing. Our eco-solvent printer requires 24 hours to off-gas prior to lamination, but UV and latex are dry and cured upon output.

Custom Modular Displays

Exhibits constructed of interchangeable components intended to be set-up in various configurations and sizes with custom printing as needed. A modular trade show display can be customized to fit the exhibitor’s needs. Common sizes are a 10×10 trade show booth to a 10×20 trade show booth up to a 20×20 exhibit and larger.

Custom Portable Exhibits

Lightweight displays designed to be compact and fit into small shipping cases that can be transported by one person or sent via common carriers. Portable exhibits can be customized with unique print elements to fit the exhibitor’s needs.

Custom Wallpaper Printing

A relatively recent phenomenon, huge walls (smooth or rough) can be covered with large format printed panels. Wallcovering choices range from PVC-free vinyl to pre-pasted economy papers to high-end LEED certified wallpapers such as Terralon.

CSR – Customer Service Representative

Employee of a printer, service bureau or other business who coordinates projects and keeps customers informed. Abbreviated CSR, and sometimes they’re so much more.

Cyan – C

One of the four process colors. CMYK, with C standing for cyan. Cyan is a predominately blue color with some green. Cyan, together with magenta and yellow, is also one of the three subtractive primary colors.  Also known as process blue.




Dots Per Inch or Pixels Per Inch.  A reference for measuring the resolution of an image.  DPI is a measure of the printed dots per inch in a print; generally an indication of quality of the output a device will produce.  DPI is commonly exchanged with PPI: a measure of the number of pixels per inch in a digital file.  PPI is the true measure of an image’s resolution, which will dictate the quality of the final print.


A horizontal line used as a type character. Dashes are characterized by weight, design, width of image and allotted space, and vertical position. (e.g., the em and en dashes).

Data Compression

Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.

Data conversion

Changing digital data from one format to another so it can be used in another software application or printed on a specific output device. (e.g., CMYK to RGB, TIF to GIF, MS Word to Postscript, etc.).

Data file

Line art, photographs, text and other graphic elements that are maintained as an electronic group.


To press or rout an image or lettering into a substrate so it lies below the surface. The opposite of “emboss”


Laminated prints for application to a surface, often die-cut to specific shape and size. Decals can be produced for face mounting (see “second surface”) or surface mounting (see “first surface”). With current technology, decals can be customized using variable data.


To take a digitally compressed data file and return it to its original state.


The sharpness or clarity of an image. The resolution of a digital image.


A mark made by a proofreader. The material so marked will be removed or excised.

Demand printing (or on-demand printing)

Printing only the amount of material that is needed immediately, rather than printing and storing large quantities from which small quantities are drawn from time to time. Clearly the way the industry has moved, and a core competency for SpeedPro.

Density Range

Difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range.

Desaturated color

A color that appears too light, faded, or whitewashed.

Device Independent Colors

Hues identified by wavelength or by their place in systems such as developed by CIE. ‘Device independent’ means a color can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other method.

Dibond® (or generically ACP or ACM)

A leading brand of aluminum composite panel / material (ACP/ACM) with a polyethylene core. Available in various colors and thickness, Dibond and other generic aluminum composite materials are lighter than solid aluminum. Durable, rigid, and easy to fabricate in constructing kiosk or cut out letters. Used indoors or out.


Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing in traditional print finishing. Dies have been largely replaced by computer-controlled cutters for shorter run jobs.

Die Cut

To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die. Often used interchangeably with “Contour Cut” in large format and sign work, although no actual die is cast or punched.

Die Line

A line in digital art indicating where the shaped cut will be made. Usually kept on a discrete layer and often shown in pure magenta (M).

Digital Imaging

Using digital data (electronic information) with electronic imaging systems for printing.

Digital Cutting Table


Digital Proofing

Page or sign proofs saved (usually as .PDF for easy viewing) for approval or feedback prior to printing. May also be printed onto paper via laser or ink-jet.


  • The process of averaging between pixels of different colors. In practice, the result is a smoother, blended transition between the edge of two areas rather than a distinctly jagged or ‘stair-step’ appearance. See also: anti-aliasing.
  • A printing method used by ink jet and other nonimpact printers where colors are produced by mixing colored dots in a more randomized visual pattern.


Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, image setters and monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.

Double Strike

A setting on inkjet printers to print an image twice to increase the depth and density. Generally used for backlit prints that may otherwise appear washed out or under-saturated when lit from behind.

Double-faced panel

Application where graphics appear on both sides. Often referred to simply as “2-sided”.


Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors. Not technically synonymous with PPI, but often used interchangeably.


In the printing arena, to drill a hole in a printed matter.

Duratrans (or Digital duratrans)

Traditionally a photographic material with a milk white backing used as a diffuser for light box graphics, most backlit prints are now done as “digital duratrans”. Backlit prints can be created with optional lamination and fit in snap frames or custom cabinets.


Printing technology primarily used for fabric. Dye-sublimation (“dye-sub”) works by penetrating the surface of the substrate with ink. Man-made materials such as nylon, certain plastics, and polyester fabrics contain polymers that when heated, enable the bonding of ink.




Generally, a folding, cut-cardboard piece that attaches to the back of a rigid substrate poster, creating a self-standing mount that folds flat for shipping.

Eco-solvent Printing/Inks

Large and grand format printers using inksets that contain lower VOCs than traditional “hot” solvent printers. Eco-solvent printers do not require special venting and tend to dry and off-gas faster but maintain the durability and color intensity of solvent inks.


To alter information in form or substance.

Edge Wrapped graphic

For printed canvas displays, it the graphic continues around the wooden frame system, edge wrapping is often called “gallery wrap”. By using the frame as part of the visual imagery (generally from ¾” to 1.5” deep) gallery wrapping provides a finished look and eliminates the need for a traditional, exterior frame. Similarly laminated vinyl can be mounted to a thick substrate with an edge wrap for a full and finished effect.

Electronic Color Correction

Using a computer system to adjust, change or otherwise alter or manipulate a color image. Examples include changing a CMYK image to RGB or vice-versa, retouching, adjusting color balance, color saturation, contrast, etc.


An artist’s rendering showing how the finished booth (display) will look from eye level.


Increase in length of material brought on by extending it to breaking point.

Em dash

A line the width of a font’s uppercase m.


Traditionally, to press an image into paper so it rises above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.   Additionally, the “embossed” font effect strives to make text look as if it is dimensional.

En dash

A line the width of a font’s uppercase n.

Encapsulate (encapsulated lamination)

When the top and bottom laminates extend past the edge of a print, they form a bond that seals out dirt and moisture. (see Laminate Bead)

Encapsulated PostScript  – aka EPS (.eps)

Encapsulated PostScript, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another. EPS retains vector information allowing images to be scaled to any size. Although still used, EPS has largely been replaced by PDF, which is a more modern and versatile file format which can also be viewed without professional level graphics software.


An international maker of cutting systems and software. SpeedPro owns an Esko Kongsberg XN-24 cnc flatbed cutter. ESKO i-cut software focuses on precise shape cutting and efficiency.


Price that states what a job will probably cost based on stated or known parameters. Also called bid, quotation and tender.


The individual performing or creating the “estimate.”

Etched (or Frosted) Vinyl

Specialty vinyl designed to simulate the look of etched or sandblasted glass. Used as a decorative or privacy film for offices, conference rooms and other commercial, industrial and household uses. May be contour cut into infinite patterns.

Exhibit Display Accessories

Add-ons to pop up trade show booths that provide additional functionality. Common pop up exhibit accessories are LED lights, shelves, monitor mounts, graphic headers and display counters.

Extrusion System

Trade show exhibit system constructed with aluminum posts as the main structure. Extrusion systems are often infilled with large-format, trade show display graphics printed on PVC panels or SEG fabric, depending on the type.




Fabric Display Graphics

Trade show graphics printed on stretch or tension fabric. Can be translucent or opaque. Fabric graphics also work with truss-style trade show displays or hanging trade show signs.

Face mount (in sign terminology, see “Second Surface”)

A sign or window graphic mounted on the inside surface of a clear material (glass, acrylic, polycarbonate, etc.) to be viewed from the other side. Prints or contour cut graphics must be mirrored so that they will “read right” from the correct side when mounted on the inside.


The process of degradation of color brilliance, usually caused by exposure to sunlight (UV) or age. With modern UV, latex and eco-solvent printing as used by SpeedPro, the fading associated with aqueous or dye printing is largely eliminated. However, exposure to sunlight will inevitably fade all prints, paints and surface coatings, however imperceptible.

Falcon Board®

A brand of “eco-friendly” substrate for large format, rigid substrate printing. Using all recyclable materials with a corrugated interior, Falcon and other generic bio-boards fill a niche.  Available ¼” and ½” depths up to 60” x 120” panels.


A line of 3M manufactured specialty window films.

Feather Banner or Flag

For display advertising, flags come in a variety of shapes and sizes (rectangle, feather, teardrop) and can be single or double-sided. Commonly seen at festivals, events, farmer’s markets or storefront retail locations, the units are portable and can use a lawn stake or fixed stand.


A collection of text, graphical, image, sound or other information stored and accessed digitally.


In large format printing, sometimes used synonymously with vinyl or other print material. More specifically a clear or opaque thin sheet or roll media without adhesive backing. Unlike photo films, inkjet films are not coated with light sensitive chemicals, but with a coating to accept solvent, latex or UV inks.

Film Laminate

Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss. At SpeedPro we use “cold” laminate, but often with heat assist.


  • Surface characteristics of a material — contour, gloss, etc.
  • General term for cutting, weeding, grommeting and all other post print operations.

Finished Size

Size of product after production is completed. Also called Final Trim

First Surface

Mounting a graphic image to the front side (side facing you) of acrylic (see also: “second surface”).


Material or fabric that has been treated to be fire retardant.

Flame Polish

Use a heat source (generally a MAP gas torch) to carefully melt the edges of an acrylic sign, leaving a polished, glossy finish.

Fleet Branding

General term applied to vehicle wraps, partial wraps or decal packages designed and produced for customers having more than one-company owned vehicle for business use, delivery transport use, etc. Fleet graphics programs may be managed directly through a company/organization or leasing companies.

Flood Coat

In general printing, a coat that is applied to the full surface of a material. For sign making, a flood may be a layer of white that is either printed by a printer as an undercoat on clear media to allow colored ink to show as opaque and not translucent, or a layer of white vinyl behind a clear layer for face mounted (“second surface”) application.

Folding Displays

Portable displays, usually a table top trade show booth, that fold for packing in carry bags.

Fome-cor® (or generically, foamcore or foam core)

A brand of lightweight foam board substrate. Constructed of sandwiched clay-coated paper board with a polystyrene (foam) center, very lightweight and inexpensive. A good choice for short-term posters and graphics, but easily dented, pinched or marred.


A particular style or type of alphabet letters and numbers.

Font Family

The group of typeface variations within a specific design (e.g., Helvetica Regular, Helvetica Italic, Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Bold Italic, etc.).


Size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product.

For Position Only (FPO)

In layouts, a reference to a placement of a graphic or photo that is ultimately to be replaced with finished art. May be a placeholder or low res version, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.

Four-color Process Printing

Technique of printing that uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing. With digital inkjet printing, light cyan (LC) and light magenta (LM) are available in higher-end printers – like all of our printers at SpeedPro. These achieve greater range and subtlety for accurate reproduction (e.g., skin tones, gradations, etc.). Although there are six ink sets with C M Y K Lc Lm, it is technically still four-color process.

French Cleat

Gravity-based hanging system for “invisible” hanging of prints on a wall. A pair of notched or oppositely angled bars – one on the wall and one on the back of the print –allow the print to settle into place.

Full Bleed

Used when an image is meant to extend completely to all four edges of the finished sheet. Printing the image beyond the trim edge of a sheet to ensure that there is no white space at the edge after the substrate on which the image is printed is trimmed to finish size. See also: extended color; bleed.




Gator Fome® (sometimes called Gatorboard, and generically available as Ultraboard or other brands)

A leading brand of durable, indoor foam board substrate used for signage with a dense foam and printable, resin impregnated laminate on both sides, making it more rigid and durable than foamcore.  Ultraboard brand uses plastic surfaces. Available in black and white, with varying thicknesses.

Gallery Wrap

A canvas print where the sides visibly wrap around an internal frame, extending the image on the sides and presenting a “frameless” look. Gallery wrap frames are most often 1.5” deep, but can range from ¾” to 2” deep. Generally the larger the picture, the thicker the frame needs to be to support the image – both physically and visually.


Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a print where it was not intended to appear.

Glass Graphics

A wide variety of materials designed to potentially be printed and / or cut for application to glass. Media includes “frosted” and “etched” vinyl, pre-colored and metallic films, and printable, conformable vinyls. One-way vision perforated vinyl is popular for transit and retail. (see “Perf”)


Giclée printing is a process that uses fade-resistant, archival inks and archival substrates to print on large format printers. The term Giclée is said to be based on the French word “le gicleur” meaning “nozzle”, or more specifically “gicler” meaning “to squirt, spurt, or spray”. In other words, it’s specific to inkjet reproduction.


Light-reflective property of a surface (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish) measured in gloss units. Often used interchangeably with “glossy”.


The finished surface of a graphic panel, very shiny and reflective (see also: “matte,” “luster,” and “satin”).

Graphic Arts

The crafts, industries and professions related to designing for reproduction. Traditionally associated with printing, graphic arts now encompasses design for a variety of unique and specialized production / distribution – online, print, décor, stagecraft, etc.


Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.

Graphic Header (trade show)

A prominent component of trade show booths that features the exhibitor’s logo and company name.

Gray Balance

Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray image. G7 is an industry standard to achieve a “common visual appearance” on photographic images printed on different media using different print technologies by analyzing the grey balance.

Gray Levels

Number of distinct gray tones that can be reproduced by a computer.

Gray Scale

Strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates in traditional printing. Also called step wedge.

Green Displays

Trade show exhibits that are constructed with eco-friendly, recycled and/or recyclable materials. “Green Displays” are becoming more popular as businesses look for ways to fulfill green initiatives.


Usually a metal ring which reinforces holes in banners for installation. Grommets are usually brass, but also available in nickel, white and clear (special order).


The metric unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).





Inexpensive “H” shaped step-stake holders intended to display coroplast signs on lawns or other soft surfaces. Two of the heavy gauge wire legs are driven into the lawn and the top facing sides slide into the vertical flutes of the corrugated plastic.

Hem (Banner)

A finished edge on a fabric or vinyl banner made by folding over the material and bonding it to the back of the banner. SpeedPro of San Francisco Bay offers both high-bond tape and double stitched options for greater durability.


Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.

Hook & Loop

The generic description of the two-sided attachment system best known by the brand Velcro™. The loop is the furry side and hook is the scratchy side. For portable displays, loop is sewn on the fabric and hook attached to the frame.


A specific color such as yellow or green or more generally, a color’s name.  Also, the name of the mascot for SpeedPro — the adorable Dalmatian puppy with colored spots.





Installation and Dismantle. The standard terms used in Exhibit, Trade Show and Event production for the assembly and disassembly of assets (staging, scenic, lighting, props, etc.)


Application of media to surfaces. Vehicle wraps, walls, windows. Generally, large format surface applications are referred to as “install”.

Image Area

The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage

Ink Jet Printing

Method of printing by spraying pico droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing. T




Job Number – or Job Ticket

An online number assigned to a specific printing project at SpeedPro for use in tracking and historical record keeping.

JPEG (file with the extension.jpg)

The most common file type for an image. Most digital cameras take a .jpg image by default. This is a raster file format that uses color compression to reduce the size of the image file. The compression amount can be adjusted, but .jpg files typically achieve a 10:1 reduction in file size with very little noticeable loss in image quality.

Just In Time Printing

Based on the general concept of ‘just-in-time” inventory; print provision with short turn times and expected delivery under tight deadlines.





Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the ‘K’ in CMYK.

Kiss Cut

To contour cut or die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.


Formerly an independent manufacturer of CAM cutting tables and systems, now a division of ESKO Graphics (see ESKO). SpeedPro in San Carlos has a Kongsberg/Esko XN-24.

Kraft Paper

Strong, brown paper used for wrapping.





Any protective, transparent material applied to either side of a print. Available in many thicknesses, finishes, with anti-graffiti treatments and scratch resistance. Laminates with heat-activated adhesives are known as hot laminates. Pressure activated laminates are known as cold laminates.


A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.


Directions about a specific matter (illustrations) and how to use. In regard to maps and tables, an explanation of signs (symbols) used.

Lexan (see “Polycarbonate”)

Linen Finish

Embossed finish on text paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.


Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose nonimage areas repel ink. Nonimage areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink. SpeedPro can fulfill these orders, though we do not print litho in-house.

Live Area

Area on a mechanical within which images will print. Also called safe area.

Logo (Logotype)

A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a “sole” entity symbol of that specific unit.


Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.

Low Key Photo

Photo whose most important details appear in the shadows.




Magenta (M)

One of the four process colors. The M of CMYK


All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup.


Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.


Instructions written usually on a “dummy.”


In analog imaging, to prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also called knock out. In the digital world, the analog

Matte Finish

Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.


Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer.

Mesh Banner

Printable banner made of a tight, strong weave of nylon-backed vinyl, designed to allow wind and sound to pass through and reduce the “sail” effect. Mesh banner is great for construction fences, outdoor fairs, vertical banners on buildings and other areas where air passage is important. Placement should take into consider the potential for some ‘washout’ or desaturation of the image when strongly lit from behind.

Meter Board

Single-sided or double-sided display stands for events and retail. About a meter wide (ranging from 36”-48” in most cases, and about 6’ – 8’ tall), meter boards are generally printed on ½” display board, and are supported by metal bases such as MighteeMounts, SpiderFeet or double-L brackets or folded cardboard triangular bases.

Metallic Ink

Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Metallic Paper or Vinyl

Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal. Or in the case of vinyl, specialty adhesive material ranging from high polished to brushed or hammered metal look for specialty signage.


The quality of color that causes it to appear differently under different light sources – that is, officially, the matching of apparent color of objects with different spectral power distributions. For example, two printed color samples might appear the same in natural light, but not in artificial light. At SpeedPro, we always evaluate color critical samples in the light in which they will be viewed – e.g., a vehicle wrap outdoors, an exhibit under industrial light.

Mil – 1/1000 Inch (synonymous with pt.)

  • This is huge, since people often colloquially shorten “millimeter” (metric) to ‘mill’, But don’t be fooled: the Mil is an Imperial measure, based on inches…it’s 1/1000th of an inch.
  • So for Americans referring to media thickness, mil = pt = 1/1000th
  • There are grids online that equate mil to GSM to Cover or Text #s

Mock Up

  • A pre-visualization of the project, rendered in Photoshop, Illustrator or a 3-D program for customer approval or feedback.
  • A miniaturized reproduction of the original printed matter, often containing instructions or direction.


Undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.


The process of adhering a digital print to a substrate using an adhesive, either on the back of the laminated print or coating the substrate. SpeedPro mounts, and also direct prints…ask what’s best for your project.




Neutral Gray

Gray with no hue or cast.

Nominal Square Footage

In vehicle wraps and other large format projects (wall murals, exhibits, etc), the total square footage actually required to produce the material required for the job. For example, the side of a car may literally be 38 sq. feet, but requires 46 square feet of material to create the wrap panels to do the wrap.

Non-Glare Acrylic

Clear acrylic that has one side treated to prevent sharp reflections. Often called P99.

Normal Observer

Person whose visual acuity and color perception fall within normal limits

Novelty Printing

Printing on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising specialties or premiums.




Offset Printing

Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.


  • The degree to which a material can prevent the transmission of light, and with films, paper or substrates, the characteristic that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side.
  • Characteristic of ink that prevents the media from showing through.

Opaque (see Opacity)

  • Not transparent or translucent.
  • In banners, being designed for front-lighting and having a solid color backing (as opposed to blockout, where an additional layer of light-blocking material is layered in to prevent any light from bleeding through from behind


Dimensions for width and height of a file as it is going to be printed. Height could also be referred to as Length but height or “H” is the less ambiguous term.  A product that is higher than wide can be referred to as Portrait and a product that is wider than tall can be referred to as Landscape.

OOH – Out of Home Media

Out-of-home media is advertising or brand messaging focusing on consumers in public places. Since traditional advertising buys (e.g., print, television, digital, direct mail) are focused on reaching prospects in their homes, the blanket category of OOH addresses the “other” categories: mainly transit, street, roads, highways, billboards and alternative.

Outdoor Graphics

Large format display graphics printed on vinyl, Tyvek, fabric or other weather-resistant materials with inks that withstand the elements – like everything we produce at SpeedPro.

Overlaminate (or Laminate)

Typically a pressure sensitive (cold or heat assisted) laminate that is applied on top of a finished vinyl print to add durability, UV protection, special finishes, increased thickness or other characteristics.

Overlapping Seams

For vehicle wraps and most vinyl wall coverings (murals, hoarding graphics, etc.), seams will overlap from ½” to 1” depending on material and environment.


  • Excessive amount of ink placed onto media causing image to bleed through or across the media.
  • Excessive chromaticity of a color





  • In large format – One section of a multi-part exhibit or wall mural
  • In traditional litho – One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.

Partial Wrap

In vehicle wrap graphics, partial wraps fall between a decal package and a full wrap; covering a portion of the car or truck with shape cut or panel wrap vinyl.

Perforated Window Film (sometimes shortened to “Perf”)

Adhesive vinyl designed for “one way viewing.” As seen on bus windows or some retail shops, window “perf”, has a series of tiny holes like Swiss cheese, allowing a printed image on the outside, while the interior looks like tinted glass. Available in 50/50 (required for vehicle windows for exterior visibility), or 60/40, 65/35 or 70/30 for retail windows.

Photomural Graphics

Large-format display graphics panels of standard sizes installed side-by-side to make a larger image. Often used with Popup Trade Show Displays as well as office and workspace decor.

Physical Proof (Strip Proof)

A sample image at full (or agreed upon reduced size) to demonstrate color, resolution and finish. In large format printing, where proofing is not considered a normal step given small runs, customer should expect to pay for this service.


A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.


Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Every raster image is made up of pixels; single dots of color that, together, form the image. As an example, a 2-megapixel image has 1,920,000 pixels (1200×1600). Also abbreviated: px.

Pleasing Color

Color that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.


An abbreviation for Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is officially “Pantone” colors, not PMS Colors.

Pole Pocket

A overlapped flap on one or more edges of a banner to allow the pole, rod or cable to pass through and support the pole.

Polycarbonate sheeting

LEXAN™ is a leading brand of polycarbonate resin thermoplastic. It has an impact strength 250 times greater than that of glass and 30 times greater than that of acrylic (a similar thermoplastic). Polycarbonate is more flexible and durable than acrylic, but also more prone to scratching and less optically clear.

Point (another confusing term that depends upon usage and context)

  • Regarding paper thickness, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch, or 1 Mil
  • Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).


An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Pop-up or Portable Exhibit (see also Retractable banner stands)

A broad term that refers to a wide variety portable display exhibits. These may have a frame or be frameless, with fabric or roll media covers. Ask us check out our Exhibit and Display Catalogs

POP Display Racks

A “point of purchase” promotional display assembly used in retail environments to sell products for incent spot purchase. Also called Promotional Display, Trade Show & Retail Kiosk or Sales Rack.

Portable Exhibits

Compact, lightweight displays designed to fit into small shipping cases that can be transported by one person or shipped via FedEx or UPS.

Pre Flight (also known as PrePress)

The process of checking for readiness and preparing digital or other art for printing. This may include color correction, scaling, creating cut lines, raster image processing, etc.

Prepress Proof

Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof.

Price Break

Quantity at which unit cost of media or printing drops. Traditional lithography tends to have large price breaks, as set up and initial run costs are high, whereas digital (including large format) are more suited toward smaller runs with low set-up costs but relatively small volume (“Price Break”) benefits.

Print Broker

An independent agent who works with multiple trade printers to deliver to clients the best product at a favorable retail price based on their professional wholesale relationships with numerous suppliers.


Any process that transfers to paper or another media or substrate an image from an original such as a digital file, film negative or positive, stencil, die or plate.

Process Color (Inks)

The colors used for four-color process printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black – CMYK. The addition of Lc and Lm adds quality to the output, but it is still fundamentally CMYK printing.

Proof (see Strip Proof)

Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proofreader Marks

Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.





Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.

Quotation (or EST)

Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.




Raster Images

Raster images are made up of pixels, dots of color that work together to form the image. Photographs are always raster files, as well as most images you see online. Raster images will gradually lose quality as you scale them up, creating a rough, pixelated appearance.

Raster Image Processor (RIP)

Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device. At SpeedPro we use AGFA Asanti, ONYX Thrive and Roland VersaWorks.

Reflective Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl for decals that shine when direct light is projected upon them. For police vehicles, specialty signs, emergency transport and many other uses, reflective vinyl can be printed, cut and crafted as needed,

Referral (or Reference Point)

  • The state or place in which a print is being handled and/or viewed.
  • More importantly, the “passing on” of your great experience to a colleague or friend.


To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be “in register”.

Register Marks

Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.


The opposite of installation for vinyl products or event exhibits. Peeling off (often with heat, as needed) of existing vinyl, clearing out of props, elements, exhibit disassembly, etc.


General term for xerography, diazo and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, architects or for general office use.


Raster images are often resampled when being enlarged in order to lessen the noticeability of pixelation. Resampling will “soften” images, particularly at sharp borders between colors, but when done by a knowledgeable professional it can enlarge an image with very little loss of image quality.


Apparent sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium. As described in “Resampling,” images may indicate a high PPI resolution as a file, but in fact be relatively “low resolution” due to prior resampling.

Retractor (or Retractable Banner Stand, or Pull-Up Banner)

A portable display system that comes in a variety of widths and heights and allows a vertical printed banner graphic to be extended from a spring loaded roller and held aloft on a multi-part or telescoping pole when assembled.


Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink color. Also called knockout.


Abbreviation for red, green, blue — the additive (or display) color primaries used in lighting, projection, monitors and digital cameras. Colors are defined by the levels of red, green, and blue measured on a scale from 0-256: therefore, pure black is 0-0-0 and pure white is 256-256-256.

Rich Black

Black that is printed on a 4 or 6 color printer using Cyan, Magenta and Yellow in addition to K (black) to produce a deeper, richer black level.  Black images specced at 0,0,0,100 will appear black on a computer monitor but often lack depth when printed on vinyl or other media if not enhanced.

Right Reading

Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written. Also describes a photo whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared to a flopped image.

Roll-to-Roll Printer

In large format, a digital printer which passes media between two rotating cylinders holding media, with the high-res inkjet heads print. SpeedPro offers roll-to-roll with eco-solvent, latex or UV cured inks.





(see Silicone Edge Graphic)

Site Survey

A paid visit to a potential customer site for evaluation of elements required for a local installation, I&D or delivery.


Electronic device used to scan an image. At SpeedPro, we’re not scanners of anything larger than a small logo. There are specialists who focus on this so we partner with them if needed.

Scrim Banner

A type of vinyl banner designed primarily for outdoor use that is more durable than smooth banner but usually has a rougher or slightly waffled surface. Scrim banner is our most common banner media, due to its versatility. It is constructed by fusing two layers of banner vinyl with a nylon mesh (“scrim”) for tensile strength and rip-stop characteristics.

Screen Printing

Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil. We don’t do this either.

Secondary Color

The color that results when two primaries are added or mixed together.


Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.


Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights.

Sintra® (or generically “expanded PVC))

A leading brand of expanded PVC material widely used in sign making and exhibits. Available in various colors and thicknesses, Sintra and other generic PVC sheets are more durable than foam alternatives like foamcore or gator, but are heavier and more flexible. SpeedPro stocks 1mm, 2mm, 3mm and 6mm in white and 3mm and 6mm in black. Also can be custom ordered in other colors and sizes up to 5ft x 10ft

SEG – Silicone Edge Graphics

Dye-sublimated fabric graphic finished with a thin silicone strip (or welt/gasket). The silicone strip is sewn directly to the edge of the graphic, and the strip is then pressed into an extruded frame with a recessed groove. The size of the graphic must be precise so the fabric is taut when installed in the frame.


A problem which may occur during lamination. It is seen as a silver sheen or discoloration in dark areas. The silvering is produced by tiny bubbles in the adhesive layer of the laminate, usually indicating separation due to low pressure, low heat, or high speed. That’s why we have heat assist if needed. Silvering is insufferable.

Solid (color)

Any area of the media receiving 100 percent ink coverage.

Specialty Printer

Printer whose equipment, supplies, work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category of products. We are a Specialty Printer: Great. Big. Graphics. (…and cool small decals, too!)


Complete and precise written description of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method. Abbreviated specs.


Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of color. We’ve got ‘em. Stand alone and built in, too.


Media that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste.

Standard Viewing Conditions

Background of 60 percent neutral gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin the color of daylight on a bright day. Also called “lighting standards”.  But since this only covers the “technical” aspects and many situations are not “standard”, we’ll work with you if you know the lighting conditions under which your project will be viewed.

Step and Repeat

  • A display background often used for event photos where logos or words are repeated across a line, shifted (or stepped) and repeated on the next line
  • Prepress technique of exposing an image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or plate. Images are said to be stepped across the film or plate.

Stocked Media

Popular size and weights of hardware, media, substrates and specialty materials are stocked on a regular basis at SpeedPro and other leaders. Unexpected, custom items will always long than stock.

Strip Proof

In large format, a physical proof on the intended media showing how a section, or strip, of the large image will enlarge when printed on the intended media. (see Physical Proof)

Stud mount

In sign mounting, small extensions that are used to attach dimensional letters or panel signs to a wall. Depending on the thickness of the sign and wall characteristics, many diameters and lengths of studs are available.


In large format and sign-making, the rigid surface which will be direct printed upon or to which a self-adhesive material is to be adhered or mounted. Common substrates include foam boards (foamcore, Ultraboard, Gator, etc. and their eco-friendly alternatives, Falconboard, Ecoboard, etc.), PVC (Sintra, Fomex), aluminum composites (DiBond, MaxMetal, etc.), fluted corrugated sheets (Coropolast, etc.) and many others.

Subtractive Color

Color produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive color. Subtractive color includes hues in color photos and colors created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Color

Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colors because, along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process printing.

Swatch Book

Usually referring to a Pantone book, but in general: A book in a variety of forms, indicating specific stock in various materials, finishes and approaches. Of course SpeedPro offers swatch book samples as needed.




Table Throws and Skirts

Table throws are cloth covers that may be fully printed (generally dye-sublimation) or have an “imprinted” (heat applique) front logo. Table skirts surround the outside of a table and attach with clips or hook & loop.

Table Top Displays

Small exhibits which fit on top of a 6 or 8 foot table. Popup Trade Show Displays and Folding Displays are types of a table top trade show booth.


The property of a pressure sensitive material that causes it to adhere to a surface under conditions of low pressure and short contact.


Tagged Image File Format. High resolution computer file format used to store images initially from scanners and video devices.  Common output from Photoshop when native files are not supplied.

Tear Strength

Property measured by the force required to tear a specimen under specified test conditions.


A printing project’s basic details regarding dimensions. A standard layout.

  • For event pop-ups and banner retractors, just ask…
  • For vehicles, SpeedPro offers templates for standard US and foreign vehicles as a guideline for layouts.

Tension Fabric Displays

Displays generally constructed of aluminum to support lightweight tension fabric materials printed with dye sublimation or direct digital printing. Tension fabric displays may be attached with hook & loop (Velcro) or SEG channels.


  • Initial ideas jotted or sketched to give an initial concept of a future project.
  • Multiple miniature reproductions of larger format graphics represented on a computer screen or contact sheet


A compact flash-memory storage device used to back up or transport computer data, usually featuring a USB connector.  Also called flash drives, memory sticks, stick drives, USB sticks, etc. – Alternative technology would be SD cards.


Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color.

Trade Printer

Printer working primarily for other graphic arts professionals and brokers, not for the general public.

Trade Shows

Expositions focused toward a particular industry or group and aimed toward the interests those members of or interested parties. Also called a Fair in Europe.

Transfer Paper

For cut and weeded vinyl graphics (whether printed or pre-colored), transfer paper or masking is applied to the graphics to hold all the elements in place and allow for application to the final surface. The adhesive on the transfer paper is strong enough to allow the backing paper to be removed from the adhesive side, but mild enough to remove after the graphics are burnished on to the surface.


Transmitting light in a diffuse manner so that the object beyond cannot be clearly distinguished. Partly transparent.


  • The light transmission rate of a clear film.
  • A positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, color transparency and tranny. Often abbreviated TX.


Colors that are seen through a transparent or translucent object.

Trim Size

The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1\2 x 8 1\2).

Truss Displays

A type of exhibit, trade show or museum display constructed from lightweight aluminum providing an industrial look to an exhibit. Often paired with fabric or substrate display graphics. Truss can also be used to hang lighting or other equipment above a booth or stage area.





Term to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. “Two up” or “three up” means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.

UV Light

  • Ultraviolet light — an invisible light radiation. This may change properties of paper, plastics or inks after prolonged exposure.
  • What we (and much of the industry) use to cure our inks instantly.





The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a color. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and tone.

Variable Data

Using fields (data) from a spreadsheet to customize multiple copies of a base design with names, numbers, etc. Often used for badges, team decals, etc. Data can be imported from a basic Excel or other .csv files.

Vector Images

Vector images are not comprised of pixels. Instead, they use math equations to determine the appearance of the image. Because of this, vector images can be scaled up or down to any size and they will never decrease in image quality, which makes them ideal files to send to be printed in large formats.

VHB tape

Very High Bond double sided tape from 3M and other manufacturers is an industrial strength adhesive for permanent applications.

Viewing Booth

Small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations or press sheets. Also called color booth. See also Standard Viewing Conditions.


Decorative design or illustration fading to white.


Abbreviation for volatile organic compounds, petroleum substances used as the liquids for many printing inks.





Walking Billboard

Billboards or flags that are strapped onto the shoulders or a backpack mount to be walked around for display. Often used at festivals, trade shows or conventions, walking billboards provide mobility, high visibility and the opportunity for the carrier to also distribute literature or promotional giveaways.

Wall Mural

Generally, a custom printed wall covering used for temporary to permanent display. Wall murals can be printed on fabric, paper or vinyl materials. Uses include everything from offices and hospitals (perm) to construction sites and malls (temp).


Unusable media or media damage during normal makeready, printing or finishing operations, as compared to spoilage.

Water Fast/ Water Resistant

Ability to withstand the effects of water with minimal or acceptable change.


  • (Visible digital watermark) – a more or less visible alteration of an online or stock footage image designed to protect the owner and discourage unlicensed use of the picture
  • (Invisible digital watermark) – a piece of code embedded in a digital image, video, or audio file or other intellectual property to provide copyright information, typically being undetectable during normal use of the file
  • (Traditional paper watermark) – Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Water Proof

The ability to be unaffected by water.


The ability of a material to withstand the effects of exposure to weather conditions, without significant change in physical or chemical properties.


In sign making, the process of removing unwanted vinyl from a plot-cut media, leaving only the “positive” letters or images prior to backing and ultimately mounting.

Wet Strength

Poster weight paper that is not weather proof, but will withstand initial soaking and not fail or flake.

White Ink

Most wide-format printers are CMYK, or add light Magenta and light Cyan. This is fine for white media and substrates, but when printing on clear or metallic films, the colors will look translucent (the “stained glass” look). White ink allows the spot color white to be printed on dark or clear media, and as a “flood” layer, white permits colors to be printed with full opacity and saturation on clear. White ink is White ink is available on our Agfa Anapurna H3200i printer.

Wind Slits

(see Banner Wind Slits or Vents)


In large format graphics, the process of applying pressure sensitive vinyl (PSV) print to a surface. Wrap techniques and materials can vary greatly depending on the surface characteristics (flat, textured, compound curves, etc.) and the intended duration of the application. Generally wraps can last to a maximum of 8-10 years.

Wrong Reading

An image that is backwards when compared to the original. Also called flopped, mirrored or reverse reading. Images for a face mount of second surface application must be produced “wrong reading.”





An inexpensive type of portable, vertical banner stand using flexible fiberglass or bamboo rods to support a grommeted banner.




Yellow – Y

Abbreviation for yellow in four-color process printing. The ‘Y’ in CMYK.

SpeedPro of SF Peninsula

Studio Owner

Michelle Barberini