Laid: paper with a watermark pattern showing the wire marks used in the paper making process. Usually used for high quality stationery.

Laminate: a thin transparent plastic coating applied to paper or board to provide protection and give it a glossy finish.

Laminating: the application of transparent plastic film, usually with a high-gloss finish, to the surface of printing matter to enhance its appearance and to increase its durability.

Landscape: work in which the width used is greater than the height. Also used to indicate the orientation of tables or illustrations which are printed ‘sideways’. See Portrait.

Laser: Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation. A fine beam of light, sometimes with considerable energy, used in image-setting, colour scanning, copy scanning, plate-making, engraving and cutting and creasing form-making.

Laser Printer: a high quality image printing system using a laser beam to produce an image on a photosensitive drum. The image is transferred on to paper by a conventional xerographic printing process. Currently, most laser printers set at 300dpi with newer models operating at up to 600dpi.

Lateral Reversal: a positive or negative image transposed from left to right as in a mirror reflection of the original.

Layout: a sketch of a page for printing showing the position of text and illustrations and giving general instructions.

Lead or Leading: Space added between lines of type to space out text and provide visual separation of the lines. Measured in points or fractions thereof. Named after the strips of lead which used to be inserted between lines of metal type.

Legend: the descriptive matter printed below an illustration, mostly referred to as a caption. Also an explanation of signs or symbols used in timetables or maps.

Letraset: a proprietary name for rub-down or dry transfer lettering used in preparing artwork.

Letterpress: a relief printing process in which a raised image is inked to produce an impression; the impression is then transferred by placing paper against image and applying pressure.

Letterset: a printing process combining offset printing with a letterpress relief printing plate.

Library Picture: a picture taken from an existing library and not specially commissioned.

Ligature: letters which are joined together as a single unit of type such as oe and fi.

Limp Cover: a flexible book cover, as distinct from a stiff board cover.

Line block: a letterpress printing plate made up of solid areas and lines and without tones.

Line Copy: copy suitable for reproduction without using a halftone screen.

Line Gauge: a metal rule used by printers. Divided into Picas it is 72 picas long (11.952in).

Line-Up Table: a table with an illuminated top used for preparing and checking alignment of page layouts and paste-ups.

Lining Figures: numerals that align on the baseline and at the top.

Lithography: a printing process based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to grease. The photographically prepared printing plate when being made is treated chemically so that the image will accept ink and reject water.

Look-Through: the appearance of paper or board when held up against a strong light.

Long-Grain Press: a press where the longest side of the standard folded product runs parallel to the grain of the paper.

Loose Insert: any item inserted into a printed product without being affixed in any way.  Can be either placed (in a specific position in the product) or random (anywhere in the product).

Loose Leaf: a method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.