Specialists in print and digital publications for . . .

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We provide a comprehensive range of services for print and digital media (websites, eBooks, eMags, flipbooks, CDs and DVDs):

  • Design
  • Layout
  • Typesetting
  • eBooks (ePub and Kindle)
  • Technical illustration
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Website development
  • Prepress
  • Print management
  • Multimedia management

The Seven Deadly Sins

Ask ten proofreaders or editors their seven pet hates, and no doubt you’ll end up with seventy rather than seven examples. In fact, we had quite an argument here at Sunset as we tried to narrow the list down to just seven! Here’s what we ended up with:

1. Lead/led

2. Everyday/Every day

3. It’s/Its

4. Alright/All right

5. Stationery/Stationary

6. Foreword/Forward

7. Separate/Seperate

Glossary of publishing terms

Author: The Sunset Team

Ampersand (&)   Sometimes called a ‘short and’, this character is widely used as an abbreviation in everyday writing; however, it should generally be expanded to ‘and’ where it appears in book text. Exceptions are ampersands in the official names of companies and other organisations, and references to printed works where the character is used to join the names of authors or editors.

Appendix   A section of subsidiary material in a book, consisting of text or tables and usually part of the End matter, but sometimes following a chapter.

Author’s corrections  Changes made by the author (or the author’s proofreader or editor) subsequent to supply of first page proofs. Author’s corrections are usually charged by the typesetting trade house at a standard hourly rate (see also House corrections).

Back   The inside margin of a book (closest to the spine).

Bad break   An unacceptable hyphenated break in a word at the end of a Justified line; for example, while ware-house would be considered a good break, wareho-use would not. Many short words should never be broken, while words that already contain a hyphen should only be broken on the pre-existing hyphen, e.g. fire-extinguishers.

Bibliography   A section of the end matter of a book, containing details of works referred to in the text. A bibliography should be included in any book that contains more than a handful of references.

Bleed   Commercially produced documents are almost always printed on oversised paper and then trimmed down to the exact finished size of the publication. While the guillotines used to cut the paper are very accurate, they are not perfect – and to compound the problem further, there will have been a slight movement of the paper during the printing process (‘printer bounce’). For this reason, elements that are meant to print to the edge of the paper are always extended outside the page boundaries by 3 mm to 5 mm. In printer’s terminology, they are ‘bled off’. If no allowance is made for bleed, a fine white line on the paper edge will often result.

Binding   The cover and materials that hold a book together (see also Burst binding, Case binding, Comb binding, Perfect binding, Ring binding, Saddle stitching, Side stitching and Spiral binding).

Burst binding   A similar but superior process to Perfect binding. In burst binding, folded 16- or 32-page ‘signatures’ (sections) of text are slot-perforated along the spine during folding. The signatures are then glued to the cover at the spine, the glue penetrating the perforations to provide a greater degree of strength than the simple bond provided by perfect binding.

Case binding   This is the form of binding used for the familiar hardcover (also known as ‘hardback’ or ‘hardbound’) book. A non-flexible cover (usually cardboard covered with paper, cloth or leather) is glued to the first and last pages of the book. The book itself is gathered in folded 16- or 32-page ‘signatures’ (sections) which are sewn or, to reduce costs, glued together at the spine.

CMYK   See Four-colour printing.

Comb binding   A binding method where round plastic spines are passed through punched rectangular holes near the page edge.

Computer-to-plate   A prepress technique which has rapidly replaced traditional computer-to-negative methods. Whereas previously a film negative was needed before a printing plate could be made, the newer technology eliminates this step, improving detail and sharpness while increasing productivity.

Copy editing   The process of making changes to a manuscript in order to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar; conform to the publisher’s House style; remove errors of semantics and terminology; insert headings, etc.; check for legal problems; and, where necessary, summarise, shorten or rewrite text. A copy editor’s tasks can be summed up in the ‘five Cs’ of the profession, i.e. when the final, edited copy is ready for typesetting, it should be Clear, Correct, Concise, Comprehensible and Consistent.

Deep-etch   The removal of the background from an image so that only the desired portion remains. Commonly performed in Adobe Photoshop®, the technique results in an image that can be superimposed on a coloured or white background, or on another image.

Digital proof   A colour prepress proofing method where a publication is printed from a digital file using inkjet, colour laser, dye sublimation or thermal wax technology. Digital proofing can give a good approximation of how the final printed product will look, and is cheaper than other prepress proofing methods. It has become more prevalent with the introduction of Computer-to-plate and Digital printing technologies.

Digital printing   A commercial printing process that uses inkjet or laser technology rather than the previously dominant Offset lithography. Considered until recently the poor cousin of lithographic printing, digital printing is now able to achieve excellent results. It is particularly popular for short print runs (500 or less) and has made possible the Print on demand (POD) companies popular with self-publishers.

Digital publishing/E-publishing   Broadly speaking, digital publishing defines any documents that are not produced for commercial printing (if they are printed at all, it will be by the end-user). Most commonly, such documents will be distributed via the Internet (e.g. eBooks), but they may also be designed for CD or DVD (e.g. user or training manuals). They may even be destined for an organisation’s intranet (e.g. company newsletters, training or educational material), and will be accessed by a limited number of people.

Dyeline/Blueline   An inexpensive photographic proof made from lithographic negatives, with colours presented as shades of blue (or some other colour). With the widespread adoption of computer-to-plate technology and digital printing, dyelines have been largely superseded by digital proofing techniques.

eBook/e-book/E-book   The digital equivalent of a printed book. eBooks are available in a variety of formats, and are designed to be read on a variety of devices: desktop and laptop computers, dedicated eBook readers, the iPad and other tablets, and even mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

Editor   The word ‘editor’ describes a wide variety of positions within the publishing, newspaper and film industries; however, in the context of this website, it refers mainly to copy editors (also called ‘sub-editors’ in the newspaper and magazine industries in the UK and Australia). A copy editor takes the raw manuscript submitted by an author and massages it into a shape suitable for publication, a process which involves the correction of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as checking for factual and terminological errors. The copy editor will also insert appropriate headings and subheadings, and will ensure that the publisher’s House style is adhered to. Copy editing sometimes crosses over into ‘ghost writing’ where part or all of the manuscript is re-written by the editor. This can happen for a number of reasons: the author’s writing skills may not be up to the task; or he or she may not have the time to submit any more than a rough draft. Academic, scientific and many industry publications will also require the services of a ‘technical editor’ – preferably a person with first-hand knowledge of the particular discipline or product, and, where appropriate, a familiarity with the style of a particular academic or scientific publisher.

Embossing   A raised effect (usually on a cover page) produced by impressing an image into the paper or cardboard.

Em   A unit of typographical measurement, the em was originally based on the width of the ‘M’ character; however, the unit has since become fixed at a width equal to the point size of the particular font. The term ‘em’ is sometimes used as a synonym for Pica (e.g. ‘The line of type is 30 ems long.’), but it should be understood that the ems referred to here are in fact 12-point ems.

Em rule/Em dash   A dash the width of one em. For a discussion on dashes and their uses, see Dashes and hyphens, ems and ens.

Em space   A space fixed at the width of one em.

En   A unit of typographical measurement, the en was originally based on the width of the ‘N’ character; however, it has since become fixed at a width equal to half the point size of the particular font.

End matter/Endmatter/Back matter   Material placed at the end of a book, following the last page of the main text. See also Appendix, Bibliography, Endnotes, Glossary and Index.

Endnotes   Positioned either at the end of a chapter or at the end of a book (as part of the end matter), endnotes and Footnotes cite or comment on a reference in the text, the reference usually being indicated by a superscript numeral.

Extent   The total number of pages in a book, including Preliminary matter, main body and End matter.

Footnotes   Positioned at the foot of a page, footnotes cite or comment on a reference in the text, the reference usually being indicated by a superscript numeral.

Foredge   The outside margin of a book (opposite the spine).

Four-colour printing   A commercial print process using three primary colour inks (cyan, magenta and yellow) plus black to reproduce photographs and other elements in full colour. This subtractive colour model is called ‘CMYK’ from the initials of the colours used, the ‘K’ being the initial for ‘Key’ (printers refer to black as the ink colour to which the other three are ‘keyed’ or aligned). The vast majority of colours can be derived by mixing various percentages of these four inks; however, there are a number of colours that cannot be reproduced this way, necessitating five- or six-colour printing (see Pantone Matching System (PMS)).

Full point   The typographical term for a period (US) or full stop (UK).

Folio   The page number placed at the head or foot of a printed page.

Font   In traditional typography, the term ‘font’ means the complete set of characters in just one size and style of a particular Typeface, i.e. 10 point Times Bold Italic is one font, while 14 point Times Roman is another. Since the advent of desktop publishing, a new meaning is in common use, with all sizes of a particular style now constituting one ‘font’. It is not uncommon, however, for the word to be used to cover all sizes and styles of a face, hence making ‘typeface’ and ‘font’ equivalent in meaning.

Galley proof   Proofs supplied unpaginated. (See also Pagination.)

Glossary   An alphabetical list of terms with which a book’s readers would probably be unfamiliar, together with corresponding explanations or definitions; the glossary is a section within the End matter.

Graphic designer   In the publishing industry, graphic designers are responsible for the internal page and cover design of a book or other publication but do not perform the actual assembly work (see Typesetting). Internal book design and book cover design are both specialist fields, and quite often the cover and internal-page designs of a book will be the creative products of two different designers.

Gutter   The space between columns in a multiple-column publication.

Head   The top margin of a book.

House corrections   Errors or omissions made by a typesetting trade house in the course of production. While every effort is made by reputable trade houses to avoid such errors, they inevitably arise. Standard publishing industry practice is for the client to mark Author’s corrections in one colour on returned proofs, and house corrections in another colour. While author’s corrections usually incur a charge, attending to house corrections does not.

House style   A particular publisher’s preferences on punctuation, the spelling of certain words, the order of preliminary pages and end matter, the internal order of footnotes and references, the spacing of headings and other page elements, the permissibility or otherwise of Widows and Orphans, where and when words should break within justified text, and numerous other matters relating to the layout of pages. A house style should confine itself only to those areas not at variance with Standard English, and should be documented so that editorial and proofreading staff and contractors can become fully conversant with it. Most publishers will make it known to authors that a house style exists and will ask that they comply with it, but where an author has particularly strong feelings on questions of style or layout, he or she should raise any differences with the publisher, so that an accommodation can be reached (see also Style manual.)

Imposition   Commercial printers almost always print multiple pages on very large sheets of paper which are then folded, collated, trimmed and bound. The term imposition refers to the placement of the pages on these large sheets such that they will appear in a readable sequence when the paper is folded.

Imprint page   Also known as the ‘Title page verso’, the imprint page is printed on the reverse side of a book’s title page. It lists such information as the publisher’s imprint, publication date and history, Cataloging in Publication (CIP) data including the ISBN, names and locations of the typesetter and printer, and other relevant information.

Index   An alphabetical listing of subjects, authors, titles, etc., together with corresponding page numbers; the index is usually the final section of a book’s end matter.

Justify   To place equal spaces between the words in a line of type such that it expands to fill the full width of a column.

Layout   The arrangement and treatment of type, images and illustrations on a page.

Letterpress printing   The sole printing process until the invention of the lithographic printing press in 1903, letterpress printing has a history stretching back to around 750 AD in China and the 1400s in Europe. Raised, reversed type and images are inked, and then paper (or another printable material) is pressed against the inked surface, thereby producing positive, right-reading print. While the vast majority of presses these days are lithographic or digital, it has to be said that letterpress printing produces a crispness and fine detail that lithographic and digital techniques cannot match. Not surprisingly then, letterpress still has its adherents and has seen something of a revival since the 1990s.

Lithographic printing   One of the dominant commercial printing processes today, together with digital printing. In lithographic printing, also called litho or offset printing, an inked image is transferred (or ‘offset’) from a plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film (called ‘fountain solution’), keeping the non-printing areas ink free.

Manuscript (abbr. MS)   The original work of an author, in paper or, more commonly, digital form.

Margins   The non-printed areas at the top, bottom, inside and outside of the pages of a book or other publication.

Orphan   The first line of a paragraph sitting alone at the bottom of a page or column.

Overmatter/Overset   Supplied material (text and/or other elements) that cannot fit in the required area. This is commonly typeset on a separate page and marked ‘overmatter’ for the attention of an editor or author.

Page layout/Page makeup   The process of assembling a book or similar publication, with due attention paid to interpretation of the design, layout aesthetics, correct positioning of images and diagrams, acceptable word breaks, avoidance of widows and orphans, etc.

Pagination   (1) The numbering of the pages of a book or other publication. (2) The process of assembling a book or similar publication (see also Page layout/Page makeup).

Pantone Matching System (PMS)   A standardised colour system, used worldwide, which ensures colour consistency whoever the print supplier; for example, companies often specify one or more Pantone colours for use in their logos or other areas of corporate branding. It is important to note that Pantone colours are intended primarily for Spot colour use, and some of them cannot be reproduced using a mix of CMYK inks.

PDF (Portable Document Format)   A file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 which allows documents to retain their appearance on different computer platforms and printing devices. The original fonts chosen by the designer need not be present on the viewer’s computer, as the fonts can be ‘embedded’ in the document. High-resolution PDFs have also become the prepress standard for computer-to-plate and computer-to-film workflows.

Perfect binding   A form of binding most commonly used for paperback books, but also applied to annual reports, journals and many other publications. Several folded signatures (sections) are glued at the spine to a cover of heavier paper or light card.

Permissions   The obtaining of ‘permission’ to use various texts, images, etc., which may be protected by copyright law.

Pica   A typographical unit of measurement 12 points (1/6 inch) in length. Prior to computerised typesetting, line lengths were measured in picas, but this is rarely the case today.

Point   A typographical unit of measurement 1/72 inch in length. Points are used to measure type size, leading, baseline shift, and other small variables.

Preliminary matter/Preliminary pages/Prelims   Preliminary matter is any material that precedes the main body (text pages) of a book. Typical preliminary pages are the half-title, title, dedication, foreword, preface, acknowledgements, contents and introduction. Specialist books may also include specific preliminary matter; for example, legal books will commonly have tables of cases and/or statutes in their preliminary pages, while atlases will include lists of maps, symbols, etc.

Print on demand (POD)   Print on Demand is a business development of digital printing technology which provides very short-run printing – an attractive proposition for some self-publishers.

Proof   A printout of formatted material or assembled pages, produced for the marking of errors by a proofreader and/or author. Proofs of non-paginated material are called ‘galley proofs’, while proofs of completed pages are called ‘page proofs’. As there may be several revisions of pages over the course of production, page proofs are commonly named ‘first pages’, ‘second pages’, etc., through to ‘final pages’.

Proofreading   Not to be confused with copy editing (though the two roles are complementary), proofreading at its most basic involves checking for typographical errors (‘typos’), and marking corrections on proofs using a standardised set of proof-correction marks; however, proofreaders employed by publishers will also be skilled in checking for formatting mistakes, departures from the agreed design, errors of sequence, as well as inconsistencies of various kinds. With more layout-intensive publications, the proofreader will also make aesthetic judgments and mark changes to the positioning, size, colour, etc., of various elements on the pages.

Quotes   The typographical abbreviation for quotation marks (inverted commas).

Range left/left align/set ragged right   An instruction to align type at the left and leave it ragged (unjustified) at the right.

Range right/right align/set ragged left   An instruction to align type at the right and leave it ragged (unjustified) at the left.

Recto   A right-hand page of a book.

Registration   The accurate alignment of colours during commercial printing. (Many forms of printing require each colour of a multi-colour job to be printed in a separate ‘colour run’, each colour being printed over the top of its predecessor.) Registration marks are optionally inserted by page layout programs for this purpose.

Ring binding   A binding technique where pages are punched or drilled at one edge and inserted into two or more metal rings held inside a stiff cover.

Rough   A quick design, often no more than a pencilled sketch and usually one of several options presented to a client. Roughs are produced to gain an idea of a client’s likes or dislikes prior to commencing work on a more complex design sample.

Running head/foot   A line of type set at the Head or Tail of the pages of a book, magazine, etc. In the case of printed books, a running head is more common and usually consists of the book title on the Verso and the chapter title on the Recto. It is common also for the Folio to appear in the running head, but variations are common.

Saddle stitching   A simple form of binding where staples are inserted at the Spine of a single set of folded pages. The technique is limited to magazines and booklets of no more than 80 pages (any more and the folded pages would not lie flat and would tend to spring open). With saddle stitching there is, of course, no printable spine.

Section   A group of pages, imposed (see Imposition), printed, folded, trimmed, and then stitched or glued to other sections to form the internal pages of a book.

Side stitching   Another simple binding technique, suitable for books or magazines of more than 80 pages. A side-stitched publication consists of loose sheets of paper stapled together at the side, often with a wrap-around cover of light card or paper glued to form a printable spine. Side-stitched books do not lie flat when opened.

Spine   The portion of a book to which the pages are glued or stitched. With the exception of saddle-stitched books, the book title, author’s and publisher’s names are usually printed along the spine of the cover.

Spiral binding   A binding technique where a spiral of plastic or wire is passed through holes punched through one edge of the pages. The spiral usually also passes through corresponding holes in separate front and back covers.

Spot colour   Spot colours (usually Pantone colours) are used where Four-colour printing is considered too expensive (black and an additional spot colour are typically chosen). Occasionally, however, one or more spot colours may be specified in addition to the usual CMYK process colours. Spot colours are also commonly nominated during corporate branding (see also Pantone Matching System (PMS)).

Style manual   A manual used by a publisher as a House style reference. The style manual may be prepared by the publishing company itself, or may be a recognised external standard. Sunset Publishing Services uses The Chicago Manual of Style for US English publications, and The Oxford Style Manual for UK English publications.

Tail   The bottom margin of a book.

Trim marks   Sometimes (incorrectly) called ‘crop marks’, trim marks are optionally inserted by page layout programs to indicate where pages should be trimmed to size. (See also Bleed and Imposition.)

Typeface   Traditionally, the design of a particular font family. For example, Helvetica is a typeface, and within the Helvetica type family there are many variants in style and size, each of which constitutes a separate Font.

Typesetting (abbr. setting)   The composition of typographical characters into lines of type and, together with other elements such as images and illustrations, into pages – a highly skilled craft crucial to the production of quality books but, sadly, no longer taught in the formal sense. (See also Maintaining standards in printed English . . . an industry gone wrong.)

Verso   A left-hand page of a book.

Widow   The last line of a paragraph, sitting alone at the top of a page or column.

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