An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

EPA Communications Stylebook - Appendix B: Glossary

Last revised 2009



Abstract - There are two types of abstracts used in EPA documents. The indicative (descriptive) abstract tells readers what the report is about. An informative abstract reports the hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusions of research detailed in the text.

Advertising specialty (see: Promotional product)

Artwork - A general term used to describe photographs, drawings, paintings, hand lettering, and the like prepared to illustrate printed matter. Artwork also refers to digitally supplied documents that are ready to be output to film, printing plates or digital output via ftp, or by email.

Audiovisual - Generic term for media and format that employs pictures and sound. When used specifically it commonly refers to a still picture format (slide show) as opposed to motion pictures.

Top of page


Bitmapped - An image that has a too low resolution or linescreen for the output resolution ( That image looks bitmapped. ); line art scanned at 72dpi when it is to be printed at 2540dpi will be very coarsely bitmapped).

Bitmapped font - a font made up of bitmapped letters, characterized by jagged edges, as opposed to smooth edges

Binding - the various methods used to secure loose leaves or sections in a book; e.g. saddle-stitch (also called stapling), perfect bound.

Booth - (see: exhibit)

Blog - a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer or hosting organization. 

Blueline proof - a now outdated proofing process. This term refers to a proof made from the actual printing plates, so-called because of its blue color. Now a high-quality full color proof is provided, usually now referred to as the final proof. This is chance to get one more look at a printing job before it goes to the press.

Broadcast - Technically a program that is transmitted via radio-frequency signal to receiving locations such as televisions or radios. Generally used to refer to publicly available television and radio programming, as distinct from narrowly available programming such as a teleconference from an office to a convention site. Commonly, but incorrectly, used to refer to any program that is received via television or radio.

Brochure - (see: collateral material)

Bleed - layout, type or pictures that extend 1/8 beyond the trim marks on a page that designers must allow if they want images, that are butting up to the edge of the page, to be cropped properly.

Top of page


Calendar - (see: planner)

Camera-ready - artwork or pasted up material that is ready for reproduction.

Caption - Also called a cutline. The lines of text referring to information identifying a picture or illustration.

Character generator (CG) - Subset of titles (see: titles) Refers to a process for creating titles

CMYK - Cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) are the four primary printing inks that make up any full color printing job. Also known as the four process colors.

Collateral material (also: Collateral media, promotional print) - Printed material, generally controlled by and published by an organization to support its communications efforts. Sometimes used to include promotional and display material. This is the general category of the most commonly used and familiar public print materials booklets, brochures, fliers, folders, leaflets, pamphlets, pocket-cards, postcards, posters and some display and promotional materials.

Comp - a layout that has been mocked up to show how the different elements of the design will look when the job has been printed. This could range from a rough sketch, to a fully formatted digital layout or printed proof.

Concept - a design concept is the graphic designer s idea or solution to a client brief. Often a designer will produce more than one concept, so that the client can have a choice.

Color separation - The process whereby the four (CMYK) process printing colors are separated into their primary colors to allow for professional printing.

Color correction - The process of adjusting an image to compensate for scanner deficiencies or for the characteristics of the output device.

Color proof - A representation of what the final printed composition will look like. The resolution and quality of different types of color can vary greatly.

Crop marks - lines printed showing the dimensions of the final printed page. These marks are used for final trimming.

Cropping (photo) - to trim an image to a size that best enhances the contents or to make it fit into the allocated space in the design. Cropping an image can be achieved digitally in an image editing program such as Photoshop, or it can be imported into a page layout package, such as InDesign, and trimmed there.

Top of page


Density - The degree of opacity of a photographic image on paper or film.

Deckle edge - The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.

Die cutting - The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes into printed sheets.

Digital video disc (DVD) - Technically a disc that carries a digitally recorded video program. Commonly used to mean a program that is distributed on such a disc.

Director - The person with chief responsibility for on-set and post-production development of an audiovisual program

Display - (see exhibit)

Double page spread - two facing pages of booklet, newspaper or magazine where the textual material on the left hand side continues across to the right hand side. Abbreviated to DPS.

Dots-per-inch (also known as DPI) - A measure of output resolution produced by printers or monitors.

Drop shadow - A drop-shadow is the shading effect used to give the appearance of raised type or graphics on the designed page.

Drop cap - a large initial letter at the start of the text that drops into the line or lines of text below.

Dummy - a sketch of a page showing the position of text and illustrations and giving general instructions.

Duotone - A black and white photographic image that has been given a color tint, by duplication the image onto a second color channel.

Top of page


E-bulletin - An online news publication or periodic update posted on the Internet or sent to interested parties via e-mail.

Editor - The person in an audiovisual post-production crew who assembles the production elements of footage, images, effects, etc in the detailed sequence that creates the final produced program.

EFX (also FX) - Common abbreviation in audiovisual production for effects (SFX for sound effects )

Embossing - A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper, using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure, and heat. The effect can also be simulated digitally using software such as Photoshop.

EPS - Encapsulated PostScript is a vector format designed for printing to PostScript printers and imagesetters. It is considered one of the best choices of graphics format for high resolution printing of illustrations. EPS files are typically created and edited in illustration programs such as Adobe Illustrator.

Exhibit (also display) - A relatively large, usually three-dimensional, communications product; can range from table-top size to a small building; essentially a multi-media product that presents a broad message for an organization to be viewed by people in a personal and/or interactive setting.

Top of page


Fact sheet - Provides information about an issue, project or activity to someone who could have limited knowledge of the issue, project or activity. Needs to be limited to one page in length and focus on the issues of highest importance.

Field guide - (See tool kit)

Final proof - once called a blueline this is now a digitally generated full color proof.

Flush left - copy aligned along the left margin.

Flush right - copy aligned along the right margin.

Flyer - (See: collateral material). An advertising circular.

Font - Any (digital) typeface that can normally be rendered in a variety of sizes.

Footage - The raw material of produced continuous images which are assembled to create a motion picture.

Four color process (also, full color) - The four basic colors of ink (CMYK--yellow, magenta, cyan, and black) which reproduce full-color documents.

Top of page


Gaffer - The electrician on an audiovisual production crew

GIF - Graphics Interchange Format; a compressed image format. GIF was the first commonly used image format on the Web, but it has been largely replaced by JPEG.

Grayscale - a range of luminance values for evaluating shading through white to black. Also, a term used when referring to a black and white photograph.

Grip - A stagehand on an audiovisual production crew

Gutter - The inside margins or blank space between two facing pages of a magazine or book is called the gutter.

Top of page


Hang-tag - Promotional print item with a cut-out portion that permits it to be hung on a doorknob or other hanger.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - The set of markup symbols and codes inserted in a file intended for display on a World Wide Web browser page.

Top of page


Illustrator - Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based drawing program. It is used to create print quality line-art drawings, such as logos, illustrations and maps. Although it uses its own proprietary file format, .ai, Adobe Illustrator can also save files in .EPS format for importing into page layout programs.

Images - Graphics, photography, artwork or individual frames from a motion picture

Imposition - the arrangement of pages on a printed sheet, which when the sheet is finally printed on both sides, folded and trimmed, will place the pages in the proper sequence.

InDesign - the professional design/layout program which has become the industry standard in print publishing.

Top of page


JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) - the most common image compression format used by digital cameras.

Top of page


Knockout - A shape or object printed by eliminating (knocking out) all background colors. Contrast to overprinting.

Kerning - The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

Top of page


Laminate - A transparent coating applied to printed sheets to give either a shiny (gloss) or neutral (matt) finish. Usually used on the outer covers of brochures or heavy, single sheet, printed materials

Layout - A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, images, thumbnails etc., of a final printed piece.

Leading - Space between lines of type. The distance in points between one baseline and the next.

Letterpress - Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces, usually type, to create the image.

Letterspacing - The addition of space between typeset letters.

Logo (logotype) - A graphic design, often simply distinctive lettering that identifies a particular organization; related to brand and trademark

Top of page


Manual - An instruction handbook.

Masthead - Magazine term referring to the printed list, usually on the editorial page of a newspaper or magazine, that lists the contributors. Typically this would include the owners, publishers, editors, designers and production team.

Media - A medium of communication (for example: Print, broadcast, Web) that is designed to reach the mass of the people.

Motion picture - Technically can refer to any format that produces moving pictures (movie film, videotape, video-disc, etc.); commonly refers to film production.

Multi-media - Technically any communications product or format that combines more than one specific format or medium to create a unified presentation. Commonly refers to audiovisual productions, but many exhibits and displays are multi-media. Audiovisual productions can be parts of larger multi-media products.

Top of page


Native files - The files that were used to originally create the document, i.e., Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, etc.

Native format - The default file format used by a specific software application.

Top of page


Offset printing - The most commonly used printing method, where the printed material does not receive ink directly from a printing plate but from an intermediary blanket that receives the ink from the plate and then transfers it to the paper.

Opacity - Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

Overrun - Quantities of sheets printed over the requested number of copies.

Top of page


Pagination - The process of performing page makeup automatically.

PDF (Portable Document File) - Adobe s PDF is a universal electronic file format, modeled after the PostScript language and is device- and resolution-independent. Documents in the PDF format can be viewed, navigated, and printed from any computer to almost any printer regardless of the fonts or software programs used to create the original. Printing industry workflows are now primarily PDF-based.

Perfect bind - A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a wraparound cover.

Pixel - Short for picture element. A pixel is the smallest resolvable point of a raster image. It is the basic unit of scanning and digital imaging.

Planner - A calendar that provides information or places to insert information about numerous dates of interest to a specific audience NOTE: EPA may not print general calendars, but may print planners.

Platform - An underlying computer system on which application programs can run. For example, a Dell computer running Windows XP runs on a Windows platform. An iMac computer runs on the Macintosh platform.

PMS (Pantone Matching System) - Color charts that have more than 1000 preprinted color patches of blended inks, used to identify, display, or define colors. PMS is the standard ink color system used by commercial printers. Ask to see/use a PMS swatchbook when specifying ink colors for your job.

Podcast - A music or talk program made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet to a personal mp3 or digital device.

Poster - (See Collateral material)

PostScript - A page description language developed by Adobe Systems to describe a page image for printing. It handles both text and graphics. A PostScript file is a purely code-based de scription of a page.

PowerPoint presentation - A common trademarked and copyrighted production format for presentation graphics that provides the ability to create output for overheads, handouts, speaker notes and film recorders.

Preflighting - The evaluation and analysis of every component in a file needed to produce a printing job. Preflight confirms the data being submitted, color gamut, color breaks, and any art required, plus layout files, fonts, image files, proofs, page sizes, print driver, cropmarks, etc.

Pre-production - The technical preparation of verbal and visual elements of the final product before they move into actual production.

Preface - The author s own statement about the work; might include such information as the reasons for undertaking the work, the research method (if it might bear on the reader s understanding of the text), or the limitations within which the subject was studied.

Press proof - a copy obtained from inked type, plate, block or screen for checking purposes; a reasonably accurate sample of how a finished piece is intended to look.

Printer spreads - Each page needs to be printed next to it is true opposing page, versus the way it will look in the end after it is bound. Use your mock version as your guide and double check with the printer to make sure you are doing it right before you create the printer spreads.

Proceeding - usually derived from the presentation of a paper and from the questions, answers, and general discussion at conference sessions

Process printing - Printing from a series of two or more plates to produce intermediate colors and shades.

Producer - The person and/or organization with overall responsibility for creating and producing an audiovisual program. This generally implies all financial, legal and logistical responsibility including hiring staff, cast and crew, buying or providing all equipment and travel, overseeing creative development and production scheduling.

Product review - EPA s product review system is the communication management process that requires each program and regional office to ensure Agency communications serve the public interest and the immediate interests of intended audiences, as well as to ensure messages are coordinated fully across the Agency to convey EPA operations and policy with the highest degree of consistency and accuracy.

Project report - Most EPA research is documented and made available to the research community in a project report.

Promotional product (also Advertising specialty, Promotional item, Promotional, three-dimensional) - A tangible product (of some intrinsic material value) which is also a communications medium, bearing a message to advertise, promote or inform about an idea, product or service.

(Subsets include: Award, Incentive, Premium, Souvenir)

(Colloquial/pejorative: Handout, Gadget, Give-away, Novelty, Trinket)

Prop (also: Property) - An item that is used by someone appearing in an audiovisual production (e.g., an umbrella, a coffee cup), other than fixed elements in the set such as furniture.

PROTRAC - The software system which tracks work through the Product Review process.

Public service announcement (PSA) - A brief presentation of a message by a non-profit organization via broadcast media. The term public service should be understood to mean that it is in the interest of and for the benefit of the public, and the time allocation for which is provided free of charge by the broadcaster. (Subset of public service advertising which can include print media.)

Top of page


Quire - (noun or verb): Sheets of paper making a pamphlet or booklet folded together in a single fold, but not bound or stitched.

Top of page


Radio frequency - The standard band of signal frequency (usually expressed in Herz/Hz) for transmitting broadcast signals in radio, television and wireless communicators

Ream - Five hundred sheets of paper.

Registration - The positioning of two or more printing images in exact alignment with each other. Printing that is correctly positioned on the page is said to be in register. Four-color printing is in register, for example, when all four successive colors are aligned, one on top of the other, so that they produce a single image with no color gaps or overlaps.

Registration marks - Crosses or other targets applied to original copy prior to photography. Used for positioning films in register, or for register of two or more colors in process printing.

Research report - A book-length presentation of the best of EPA s research findings.

Resolution - the measurement used in typesetting to express quality of output. Measured in dots per inch, the greater the number of dots, the smoother and cleaner appearance the character/image will have. Photographs need to be scanned at a resolution of 300 dots per inch. Screen resolution is 72 dots per inch and something that looks wonderful on your computer screen or on the Internet will look terrible when printed.

RGB (red, green, and blue) - The primary additive colors used in display devices and scanners. Commonly used to refer to the color space, mixing system, or monitor in color computer graphics.

Reverse - The opposite of what you see. Type your name on a white sheet of paper in black ink. The reverse of this would be a black piece of paper with a white name.

Top of page


Saddle stitching - a method of binding where the folded pages are stitched through the spine from the outside, using wire staples. Usually limited to 64 pages size.

Sans serif - a typeface that has no serifs (small strokes at the end of main stroke of the character). Helvetica and Arial are examples of sans-serif fonts.

Scenario - A narrative description of all sequences and major scenes in the order presentation that will constitute the storyline of an audiovisual presentation.

Script - In audiovisual media a text that contains all spoken language plus written description scene-by-scene in sequence of all principal verbal, visual, audio and effects elements that will constitute an audiovisual presentation. Generally the text of a message to be presented principally via spoken word, as with a lecture or speech.

Separations - The four screens corresponding to the percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black used to define colors that are used to create the final printed colors, usually for a color photograph.

Serif - a small cross stroke at the end of the main stroke of the letter. Times New Roman is an example of a serif font.

Set - The specific area that is the physical setting of an audiovisual production or of a scene within it.

Setting - The general area (or time) in which an audiovisual production is set (the Arctic, a schoolyard, the 1980s).

Sheet fed - a printing press which prints single sheets of paper, not reels.

Signature - A printed sheet with multiple pages on it that is folded so that the pages are in their proper numbered sequence, as in a book.

Spine - the binding edge at the back of a book.

Spot announcement - Generic phrase meaning a commercial or public service announcement.

Stock - a term for unprinted paper.

Stock art - Royalty-free photos that can be purchased for use in a publication.

Swatch - a color sample.

Top of page


TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) - a TIFF is a cross-platform graphics file format that is highly used in graphic arts.

Tabloid - 11 x 17 - a page half the size of a broadsheet, or twice the size of a sheet of standard paper.

Tint - the effect of adding white to a solid color or of screening a solid area.

Titles - Generally any words that appear on screen in a finished audiovisual production.

Tool kit - A set as applied to communications work of articles, printed matter, teaching devices, etc. for a specified audience and/or message

Treatment - A narrative description of an audiovisual presentation that details all the main ideas and major sub-texts, along with a general description of the visual presentation that will be made of those ideas.

Trim - The cutting of the finished product to the correct size. Marks are incorporated on the printed sheet to show where the trimming is to be made.

Typeface - A complete set of characters forming a family in a particular design or style.

Typography -The technique of arranging and emphasizing type, type design and modifying type symbols.

Top of page


Up - A term used to describe how many similar pieces can be printed on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.

Top of page


Varnishing - A finishing process whereby a transparent varnish is applied over the printed sheet to produce a glossy finish.

Vector graphics - A vector is a mathematically calculated method of plotting accurate lines and curves. Unlike bitmap images, it is resolution independent and allows graphics images to be enlarged to any size, without any loss of quality. Programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Flash and CorelDraw all use vector graphics formats to save files in, such as .EPS SWF and various CAD file formats.

Video - General term for an audiovisual program usually a motion picture that is produced in a digital format

Videocast - A video produced for the Web and made available for streaming and/or download onto a personal mp3 device.

Top of page


Web-safe colors - Color palette consisting of a collection of 216 colors which remain consistent across Macintosh- and Windows-based computer screens, without dithering.

Webinar - An online seminar that might contain audio and video.

Workbook - A booklet containing problems and exercises that a student or reader may work directly on the pages.

Top of page