The PRINTING United Alliance Glossary serves as an excellent industry terminology resource. It is the language by which we all communicate. Without it, universal understanding would be impossible.

To keep our constituents well informed about changes to the increasingly complex industry terminology, PRINTING United Alliance has developed this glossary of terms. Definitions are for general reference only. Usage may vary between companies, individuals, or national and country customs. The information presented is as accurate as the authors and editors can ascertain and PRINTING United Alliance assumes no responsibility for the use of information presented herein.
  • Contact print
    A photographic print made from either a negative or a positive in contact with sensitized paper, film, or printing plate, producing same-size reproduction.
  • Contact printing
    (1) Textile screen printing accomplished by printing with the screen in contact with the substrate across its entire surface; (2) Photographically exposing a light sensitive material through a film negative or positive held in contact with the surface by vacuum or mechanical pressure.
  • Contact resistance
    The resistance through a membrane switch as measured between two terminals that complete a circuit.
  • Contact resistance variation (CRS)
    In electronics a condition caused by variance pressure of the wiper contact in variable resistance components.
  • Contact screen
    A photographic screen with dots of varying density that is placed in direct contact with a photographic film, used to produce halftone positives or negatives for making screen printing plates.
  • Contact table
    A table with a pressure or vacuum arrangement between two fixed surfaces, both of which are normally transparent, and usually with a light source opposite one surface for exposing purposes, into which two or more sheet materials can be made to come into positive contact for handling or processing by exposing.
  • Container board
    A paper board of good tensile strength and bending qualities, usually light weight.
  • Container printing
    The act of direct screen printing of cylinders or other three-dimensional objects of various shapes.
  • Container printing machine (bottle press)
    A screen printing press capable of printing on cylindrical or other three-dimensional part.
  • Continuity
    An uninterrupted circuit or trace line on an electronic product.
  • Continuous dryer
    A drying system where the ware, part, or object to be dried passes through the dryer in a continuous and uninterrupted motion.
  • Continuous film
    That complete film formed when a coating dries, fuses, oxidizes, or reacts to its final point after being applied to a surface.
  • Continuous tone
    An image with gradient tones that has not been screened with tone gradations between the lightest highlight and the darkest shadows.
  • Contract printing
    (1) A type of textile screen printing where the customer provides the garments or piece goods to be printed; (2) A contractual arrangement where press or shop time is reserved for a specific customer.
  • Contrast
    The degree of tonal gradation between highlight and shadow areas in an original, reproduction, or negative.
  • Contrast grade
    A zero to five rating scale for photographic paper. (Zero has the lowest contrast and five the highest contrast level).
  • Contrast ratio
    (1) A measure of the opacity of a paper, ranging from 100% in a totally opaque stock to just a few percent in transparent stock such as tracing paper; (2) Ratio of the reflectance of a dry ink or coating film, over a black substrate of 5% or less reflectance, to the reflectance of the same material applied in an identical manner over a substrate of 80% reflectance.
  • Control chart
    A graphic representation of a characteristic of a process showing plotted values of some statistic gathered from a characteristic graph, includes a central line, and one or two statistically derived control limits.
  • Control limit
    The maximum allowable variation of a process characteristic due alone to common cause.
  • Convection drying
    The drying of screen printed items by the movement of currents of uneven temperatures.
  • Convection oven
    A heat chamber where air of elevated temperature is introduced and drying takes place under circulated heat conditions.
  • Conventional ink
    A color mixed composition with vehicle for liquid application to a substrate for aesthetic results, exceptions those containing frits or fluorescent pigments, or special purpose inks such as solder resists, conductive inks, and other designed for functional results.
  • Conversion
    In computer imaging to change an RGB file to a CMYK or vice versa; to convert one file format to another.
  • Conversion coating
    A coating process that is applied to paper or board after manufacturing such as coated paper.
  • Converter
    Company or individual that finishes fabric to buyer’s specifications.