S – Glossary of Print and Design Terms

Welcome to our comprehensive glossary of print and design terms. We are continually seeking to grow and improve this glossary, so if you spot any definition you do not agree with, a term that is missing, or have any comments in general, please email our reference team.

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Saddle StitchSaddle Stitch refers to a finishing process, where the sheets of paper are folded and secured by applying staples along the fold to produce a book format
Safety PaperA paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily
Satin FinishA smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen
SaturationSaturation represents how pure a colour is. It is the amount or strength of the colour. Saturation is measured as a percentage from 0% to 100%. If a colour has a saturation of 0% then the colour will contain no hue and would appear grey. On the other hand, if the saturation of a colour is 100% then the colour will appear fully saturated
ScaleTo identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing
ScalingThe enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area
Scan AreaThe maximum dimensions of the area, in a flatbed scanner, in which an original can be placed and be imaged
ScannerDevice used to scan an image and capture it in an electronic format.
Scanning Area ArrayA hybrid of Scanning Linear Array and Area Array for the arrangement of the detector within a digital camera
Scanning Linear ArrayAnother way in which the detector within a digital camera can be arranged. Gives high resolution images
ScoreTo compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease
Screen AnglesThe placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moiré patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45º, magenta 75º, yellow 90º, and cyan 105º
Screen DensityRefers to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage
Screen PrintingOften called silk screen printing from the material formerly used for the screen. A stencil process with the printing and non-printing areas on one surface. The printing (image) area is open and produced by various forms of stencil. the substrate is placed under the screen and ink is passed across the top of the screen and forced through the open (printing) areas on to the substrate below
Screen RulingNumber of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimetre in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value
Screen TintColour created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone
ScummingThe non-image area of a printing plate attracts ink. This unwanted ink will print on a sheet and give a dirty background appearance. The problem is usually fixed by adjusting the ink/water balance on the press
SealCoating in water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath. Also called Aqueous Coating
Search and RetrievalAction taken by database software after a request for an image has been submitted
Selective BindingPlacing signatures or inserts in magazines or catalogues according to demographic or geographic guidelines
Self CoverA cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets
Self MailerA printed item containing all relevant posting information and posted independently without the need for an envelope
SeparationsUsually in the field of four-colour process printing, separate film holding images of one specific colour per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific Pantone colours through film
Serigraphic PrintingPrinting method whose image carriers are woven fabric, plastic or metal that allow ink to pass through some portions and block ink from passing through other portions. Serigraphic printing includes screen and mimeograph
SetoffUndesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also called offset
SGMLStandard Generalised Markup Language is a standard text markup language or tag set, which can be used in the typesetting process of a book
ShadeHue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint
ShadowsDarkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights
SharpenTo decrease the dot size of the halftone, which in turn decreases the colour strength
SharpeningA software method of exaggerating ‘edges’ in an image to give enhanced definition
Sheet FedRelating to a printing technique whereby paper is fed into the printing press in single sheets, as opposed to paper on a roll
SheeterConverting machine which cuts a web of paper into individual sheets
Sheetfed PressPress that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.
SheetwiseThe printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides
ShinerA process whereby solid areas of colour are overprinted onto a percentage tint created to the same coverage area. For example, a solid area of black by be pre-printed on an earlier press unit with a 60% tint of Cyan
ShinglingAllowance, made during paste-up or stripping, to compensate for creep. Creep is the problem; shingling is the solution
Short InkInk that is smooth and creamy but does not flow freely
Show ThroughA problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side
Shutter LagThe delay between pressing the shutter button of a camera and the taking of the photograph, this is common in budget digital cameras
Side GuideThe guides on the sides of the sheet fed press that position the sheet sideways as the paper is led towards the front guides
Side StitchTo bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch, side wire and Side-Stab
SignatureThe signature function is used in conjunction with booklet printing. The spine of a book is made up of numerous smaller booklets which are then bound together. For example, if you fold a sheet of A4 paper in half you can create 4 pages of A5. The signature option limits the amount of pages used to print individual booklets in order to make folding easier
Silhouette HalftoneA halftone with the background screen removed
SilverprintSee also brownline proof
SimplexPrinting done on only one side of each sheet. Opposite of duplex
SizeProcess of binding fibres and loading together to increase resistance to ink and increase strength. Resin or other sizing material is included in the furnish of a paper
Slip SheetsSeparate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the “printed run” for a variety of reason
SlitA term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.
SlitterThe actual device/tool attached to a printing press (usually between cylinder and delivery) that allows for a cut to be made during the production run
SmoothnessThat quality of paper defined by its levelness that allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print
Soft DotAn excessively large halo around a dot in a photograph that causes a fringe that diminishes the dot intensity
SolidAny area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint
Soy Based InksInks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier on the environment
Spatial ResolutionDescribes the finest detail visible to the human eye
Specific VolumeMeasurement of paper compressibility and suitability for forms printing
Specifications (or Spec)Complete and precise written description of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method
SpectrophotometerInstrument used to measure the index of refraction of colour
Specular HighlightHighlight area with no printable dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight. Also called catchlight and dropout highlight
SPISamples per inch, a measure of the resolution of a capture device
SpineBack or binding edge of a publication
Spine WidthThe measurement made across the bulk of the backs of folded sections forming a publication to be allowed between cover pages 1 and 4 in order a good fit is achieved. The Spine Width will often contain text, e.g.. title of publication
Spiral BindTo bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind
SplicePoint where two strips of paper are joined. Can relate to joining a mill roll or parts of continuous form
Split FountainTechnique of putting ink colours next to each other in the same ink fountain and printing them off the same plate. Split fountains keep edges of colours distinct, as compared to rainbow fountains that blend edges
Split Run1. Different images, such as advertisements, printed in different editions of a publication.2. Printing of a book that has some copies bound one way and other copies bound another way
SpoilageMaterials that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste
Spoilage ReprintThe second production run of a publication or signature due to mistake or accident
Spot ColourAny area of colour that is not printed using a CMYK process set; coloured areas reproduced using self-coloured inks, such as Pantone inks
Spread1. Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit.2. Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image
Stab TLHCGeneric term for finishing style which is a single stitch placed in the top, left-hand corner of the document
StabilityThe quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes
Stagger CuttingA process of cutting many sheets from the same parent sheet in which the smaller sheets have different grain directions; also called dutch or bastard cutting
Standard Viewing ConditionsBackground of 60 percent neutral grey and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin, the colour of daylight on a bright day. Also called lighting standards
Star TargetThe Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, GATF, has established various quality control images; the star target appears along with the colour bar and helps the pressman detect any irregularity in the ink spread. See also colour bars
Static NeutralizerA device on a printing press that minimizes the amount of static buildup on paper as it passes through the press
Step and RepeatPrepress technique of exposing an image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or plate. Images are said to be stepped across the film or plate
StetA proofreader’s symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was
StitchA staple or metal fixing used to hold the sections of a document together
StockA term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed
Stocking PaperPopular sizes, weights and colours of papers available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s warehouse
Straw BoardStraw composition board, usually used for making covers of cheaper books
String ScoreScore created by pressing a string against paper, as compared to scoring using a metal edge
StripTo assemble images on film for platemaking. Stripping involves correcting flaws in film, assembling pieces of film into flats and ensuring that film and flats register correctly. Also called film assembly and image assembly
Stub RollUsed roll of paper that has had too large a percentage of the roll used for the remainder to be considered sufficient for further jobs
Stumping (Blocking)In the bookwork field, hot die, foil or other means in creating an image on a case bound book
Style CopyA sample of a (usually previously printed) document included with a job for the purpose of producing a document with the same characteristics and feel. Not to be confused with Customer’s Copy, the style copy is a guide only
Substance WeightAlternate term for basis weight, usually referring to bond papers. Also called sub weight
SubstrateAny surface or material on which printing is done
Subtractive ColourColour produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive colour. Subtractive colour includes hues in colour photos and colours created by inks on paper
Subtractive Primary ColourYellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colours because, along with black, they are the inks colours used in process-process printing
SulphiteSulphite process used in preparing wood pulp. Preparation includes use of sulphate of soda, caustic soda and sulphite of soda
Super CalenderingIn papermaking, alternating rolls of highly polished steel and compressed sotton in a stack. Paper is subjectted to the heated steel rolls and pressed by the compressed cotton rolls. This process imparts a high gloss finish to the paper
SurprintTaking an already printed matter and re-printing again on the same
Surrogate ImageA digital image that has been derived from the archival Image. Usually not as high resolution as the archival image, surrogate images are usually used as Access Images
Swatch BookA book in a variety of forms, indicating specific stock in specific colours in a specific thickness
SWOP (Specification for Web Offset Publications)Specifications recommended for web printing of publications
Synthetic FibreFibres which are used to replace cellulose fibres used for paper manufacture, to offer special grades and characteristics which normal paper grades cannot offer. e.g. wall charts, labels, envelopes, manuals etc
Synthetic PapersAny petroleum-based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength
System PaletteA lookup table containing information on a limited number of colours, normally 256. Computer manufacturers’ system palettes may differ