- In order to compensate for minor misalignments on the printing press it is sometimes necessary to slightly overlap touching colors. Spread is one process where a lighter color spreads out and overlaps a darker color. See the definition and illustration for choke, a related term.
- A spread refers to facing or adjacent pages in a layout or adjacent pages laid out for printing. In a multi-page publication such as a booklet or magazine, the center spread (which is all one sheet of paper) is usually the best place to put artwork that you want to have spread across the center fold. Otherwise, the image gets split and printed in two parts (on two different sheets of paper) and may not line up exactly across the spread or it may be printed in one piece but cut apart when assembling the publication, which can also result in slight misalignment and parts of the image lost in the fold.
When working on something such as a tri-fold brochure, you may work on individual panels or open it up to view the full spread — how it would appear to the reader when opened fully.
Note that when laid out for printing (see imposition) a pair of adjacent pages (a spread) may no longer be a spread once the publication is printed and assembled in reading order. The pages that face each other in reading order then become spreads.
- A headline that spans multiple columns as well as articles that continue across multiple columns (such as in a newsletter) are sometimes also referred to as a spread.