Glossary Of Terms

The PRINTING United Alliance Glossary of Terms serves as an excellent industry terminology resource. It is the language by which we all communicate, without it universal understanding would be impossible. Language and our ideas about how it is interpreted change rapidly. PRINTING United Alliance is aware of this and continues its effort to keep our constituents well informed about changes to the increasingly complex industry terminology. The 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.


  • Kangaroo easel
    An easel with a built-in pouch.
  • Kaolin
    A fine white clay used as a filler or coating pigment in papermaking; also referred to china clay.
  • Kauri
    A gum like copal resin used in making oleoresinous enamel and varnish.
  • Kauri butanol value (KB value)
    A measure of the solvent power of hydrocarbon solvents and oils using kauri gum butanol reagent;(values range from 20, petroleum naphtha, a poor solvent to 105, toluene, an excellent solvent).
  • Kbps
    Acceptable abbreviation for kilobytes per second.
  • Kelvin (K)
    An absolute scale of temperature (Kelvin Scale) where the degree intervals are equal to those of the Celsius scale and where 0° or absolute zero equals —273.16° C. (Color temperature of light is measured in Kelvin).
  • Kenaf
    An Indian plant with long fibers in its bark suitable for papermaking.
  • Kernel size
    The number of pixels sampled as a unit during image manipulation and shaping.
  • Kerning
    Manipulating type character width and white space to achieve tighter fit or aesthetically pleasing results; also referred to as character compensation.
  • Ketone
    A class of strong volatile organic solvents such as acetone and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).
  • Key
    (1) Master layout or flat that is used as a positioning guide for color artwork and for image assembly of other film flats; (2) Any special quality of the surface or of a previous coat of ink, which assists adhesion of a subsequent coat. (A rough or abraded surface provides a mechanical key for adhesion of an applied ink or film).
  • Key height
    The measured distance from the base of a keypad to the top surface of the key.
  • Key plate
    In color printing, the plate used as a guide for the register of other colors, and normally contains the most detail.
  • Key travel
    The distance a switch moves to close an electrical contact.
  • Keyline
    An outline drawing or finished art, which shows maximum detail, to indicate the exact shape, position, and size for such elements as halftones and type.
  • Kicker
    Short line above the main line of a head, printed in smaller or accent type.
  • Kier
    A large vat used in bleaching and dyeing of fabric.
  • Kill
    To delete unwanted copy.
  • Kiln
    A furnace or enclosed heat chamber controllable by pyrometer or pyrometric cones for the firing of ceramic ware in static position.
  • Kilo (k)
    A prefix utilized in the metric system of measurement that denotes 10 to the power of three (103) or 1,000.
  • Kilobyte (KB)
    An electronic unit of measure equal to 1024 bytes.
  • Kilocalorie (kcal)
    A unit of measure of heat equal to 1000 calories or the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree centigrade.
  • Kilogram (kg)
    The standard for unit of mass and weight in the metric system; equivalent to 1000 grams (2.2046 pounds).
  • Kilogram-meter
    A unit of energy or work equivalent to the amount of energy needed to raise one kilogram one meter and is equal to 7.2334 foot-pounds.
  • Kilometer (km)
    A metric unit of length equal to 1,000 meters or 0.621 miles.