Glossary of magazine terms and jargon

This is a glossary of terms and jargon used in magazines and magazine publishing. It has been quoted in Mag Scene, the careers guide from the PPA. NB: terminology varies between industries, titles and internationally
Use Ctrl-F to find specific words on this page.
Upper Ten Thousand gossip column in Beeton's Victorian magazine The Queen. The name derived from a 19th century term used to describe Britain's ruling elite, from the landed gentry, the aristocracy and the peerage to industrialists and financiers
URL uniform resource locator. Address for a file on the internet
UPC universal product code. A 14-digit number carried with the barcode on US titles. An initial single digit identifies the type of product. The first five-digit grouping identifies the distributor or publisher and the next gives the magazine's unique 'BIPAD' (a numbering system developed by the Bureau of Independent Publishers and Distributors). There is then a checking digit. Finally, 2 digits identify the issue. Distributors and the Uniform Code Council (UCC) issue UPCs
USP unique selling point


VALS Values and Lifestyles – US method of segmenting consumer markets using psychographic (personality) attributes. The principle behind the system is that people express their personalities through their behaviour. Based on answers to a questionnaire, consumers are placed in one of eight segments. Segmentation is based on three primary motivations (ideals, achievement and self-expression) and resources. The segments, called VALS types, are: Innovators; Thinkers; Achievers; Experiencers; Believers; Strivers; Makers; and Survivors. VALS system was created by Arnold Mitchell and developed by SRI International as a commercial product in the 1970s
variable costs costs that vary with the use of something (as opposed to overheads, fixed costs such as the rent of a building, that still have to be paid when office not being used)
variance difference between a budgeted cost and the actual cost
vertical hub website that aims to act as a gateway to information about an industry, for example CNN Money ( built around Money, Fortune, and CNNfn
VLF very large format. Printing press that uses much larger sheets than is usual, for example a 1,510mm x 2,050mm sheet (an A0 sheet is just 1 sq metre – 1,189mm by 841mm)
vortograph term coined by Ezra Pound to describe Vorticist-like experiments in kaleidoscopic photography by Alvin Coburn
voucher copy free copy of a magazine sent to advertisers to prove an advertisement has been published to the promised quality
Vest Pocket Kodak (VPK) compact camera introduced in 1912 that became ‘the soldier’s camera’ in WWI. Two million sold until discontinued in 1926. ‘Vest’ is US term for a waistcoat


WARC World Advertising Research Centre
waterfall shelving staggered shelving used by retailers to display titles cover-on
web 1) reel of paper for continuous printing of long-run publications.
2) abbreviation for World-Wide Web
common form of magazine printing whereby the printing press is fed by a continuous reel, 'web', of paper. Image is transferred from (lithographic) printing plate to an intermediary roller called a blanket (hence the plate does not make contact with the paper, it is 'offset'). From there, image is brought into contact with paper.
white space use of space around headlines or images for design purposes
World-Wide Web. File system on the internet invented by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee while working at the CERN research labs in Geneva whereby documents stored as pages can be linked to each other. Pages can be viewed using browser software thatt interprets files written using the HyperText Mark-up Language (HTML). Standards set by the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C)


software from Quark for typesetting and page design


yield usually, 'page yield'. Revenue that results from selling advertising after commission is paid

zasshi see manga
zine 1) amateur magazine.
2) magazine on the World-Wide Web
zip/unzip compression/decompression utility for computer files