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 Stitch Saddle 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 Paper A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily
Satin Finish A smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen
Saturation Saturation 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
Scale To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing
Scaling The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area
Scan Area The maximum dimensions of the area, in a flatbed scanner, in which an original can be placed and be imaged
Scanner Device used to scan an image and capture it in an electronic format.
Scanning Area Array A hybrid of Scanning Linear Array and Area Array for the arrangement of the detector within a digital camera
Scanning Linear Array Another way in which the detector within a digital camera can be arranged. Gives high resolution images
Score To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease
Screen Angles The placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moiré patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45º, magenta 75º, yellow 90º, and cyan 105º
Screen Density Refers to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage
Screen Printing Often 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 Ruling Number 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 Tint Colour created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone
Scumming The 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
Seal Coating in water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath. Also called Aqueous Coating
Search and Retrieval Action taken by database software after a request for an image has been submitted
Selective Binding Placing signatures or inserts in magazines or catalogues according to demographic or geographic guidelines
Self Cover A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets
Self Mailer A printed item containing all relevant posting information and posted independently without the need for an envelope
Separations Usually 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 Printing Printing 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
Setoff Undesirable 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
SGML Standard Generalised Markup Language is a standard text markup language or tag set, which can be used in the typesetting process of a book
Shade Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint
Shadows Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights
Sharpen To decrease the dot size of the halftone, which in turn decreases the colour strength
Sharpening A software method of exaggerating ‘edges’ in an image to give enhanced definition
Sheet Fed Relating to a printing technique whereby paper is fed into the printing press in single sheets, as opposed to paper on a roll
Sheeter Converting machine which cuts a web of paper into individual sheets
Sheetfed Press Press that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.
Sheetwise The 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
Shiner A 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
Shingling Allowance, made during paste-up or stripping, to compensate for creep. Creep is the problem; shingling is the solution
Short Ink Ink that is smooth and creamy but does not flow freely
Show Through A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side
Shutter Lag The delay between pressing the shutter button of a camera and the taking of the photograph, this is common in budget digital cameras
Side Guide The guides on the sides of the sheet fed press that position the sheet sideways as the paper is led towards the front guides
Side Stitch To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch, side wire and Side-Stab
Signature The 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 Halftone A halftone with the background screen removed
Silverprint See also brownline proof
Simplex Printing done on only one side of each sheet. Opposite of duplex
Size Process 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 Sheets Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the “printed run” for a variety of reason
Slit A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.
Slitter The 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
Smoothness That quality of paper defined by its levelness that allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print
Soft Dot An excessively large halo around a dot in a photograph that causes a fringe that diminishes the dot intensity
Solid Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint
Soy Based Inks Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier on the environment
Spatial Resolution Describes the finest detail visible to the human eye
Specific Volume Measurement 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
Spectrophotometer Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of colour
Specular Highlight Highlight area with no printable dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight. Also called catchlight and dropout highlight
SPI Samples per inch, a measure of the resolution of a capture device
Spine Back or binding edge of a publication
Spine Width The 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 Bind To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind
Splice Point where two strips of paper are joined. Can relate to joining a mill roll or parts of continuous form
Split Fountain Technique 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 Run 1. 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
Spoilage Materials that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste
Spoilage Reprint The second production run of a publication or signature due to mistake or accident
Spot Colour Any area of colour that is not printed using a CMYK process set; coloured areas reproduced using self-coloured inks, such as Pantone inks
Spread 1. 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 TLHC Generic term for finishing style which is a single stitch placed in the top, left-hand corner of the document
Stability The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes
Stagger Cutting A 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 Conditions Background 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 Target The 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 Neutralizer A device on a printing press that minimizes the amount of static buildup on paper as it passes through the press
Step and Repeat Prepress 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
Stet A 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
Stitch A staple or metal fixing used to hold the sections of a document together
Stock A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed
Stocking Paper Popular sizes, weights and colours of papers available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s warehouse
Straw Board Straw composition board, usually used for making covers of cheaper books
String Score Score created by pressing a string against paper, as compared to scoring using a metal edge
Strip To 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 Roll Used 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 Copy A 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 Weight Alternate term for basis weight, usually referring to bond papers. Also called sub weight
Substrate Any surface or material on which printing is done
Subtractive Colour Colour 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 Colour Yellow, 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
Sulphite Sulphite process used in preparing wood pulp. Preparation includes use of sulphate of soda, caustic soda and sulphite of soda
Super Calendering In 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
Surprint Taking an already printed matter and re-printing again on the same
Surrogate Image A 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 Book A 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 Fibre Fibres 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 Papers Any petroleum-based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength
System Palette A lookup table containing information on a limited number of colours, normally 256. Computer manufacturers’ system palettes may differ