Sans Serif—Any font or typeface that lacks serifs.
Saturation—The intensity of a specific hue, based on the color’s purity, measured from 0-100% in the HSV color model. Highly saturated hues have vivid color, while less saturated hues appear grayish.
Scanner—Device employing a mechanism such as a CCD array, to scan an image, printed text or artwork and converts it to a digital image. A common example is the desktop (or flatbed) scanner where the document is placed on a glass window for scanning. See also Drum Scanner and Linear Scanner.
Scoring—To cut or notch a material prior to bending it. Sufficient scoring of some substrates—glass and some thicknesses of PVC boards, for example—will also allow them to be broken cleanly without cutting them all the way through.
Screen—A frame over which fabric is stretched for use in screen printing. The screen supports the stencil oremulsion through which the ink is forced by the squeegee, creating the print.
Screen Printing—Historically one of the oldest and simplest forms of printing. A print is made by using a squeegee to force ink through a stencil or emulsion that’s supported by fabric stretched over a frame. Although also referred to as silk screening, several synthetic fabrics have replaced silk as the fabric of choice.
Seam—A line formed by the joining together of two separate materials by their edges, as with flexible face material or wood, metal or plastic sheets.
Second-Surface—Refers to a sign made of a clear substrate, such as glass or acrylic, where the art is done in reverse on what will be an interior face of the sign, providing extra protection.
Serif—A small line or embellishment finishing off the strokes of letters in some fonts. Well-known serif fonts include Souvenir, Times Roman and Garamond.
Setback—The distance between the primary face of a sign and the property line.
Shadow—Duplication of an image that’s slightly offset. Drop shadow is a simple copy and offset; block shadow joins the outlines of the original and duplicate to create a 3D-relief effect; and cast alters the shape and size of the duplicate to imitate shadows cast from varied placement of light.
Shadow Point—The darkest tone in an image that is printable. Tones darker than the shadow point print as black. The opposite of white point.
Sharpen—A process in image-editing software to improve the contrast of tones within an image. This can be a universal (all tone) operation or target specific areas.
Sheet Metal—Aluminum or steel in sheets or plates used as a sign substrate.
Showcard—An interior sign utilizing a card stock substrate and often decorated with tempera paints. The standard showcard size is 28″ x 44″.
Silhouette—The overall shape of a sign, or a block of copy within a sign.
Single-Face—A sign consisting of one face, rather than back-to-back faces.
Single-Pass Printing—Inkjet printing process that uses arrays of stationary printhead clusters (also called “color bars”) instead of a shuttling printhead. A substrate passes beneath printhead arrays in a single pass. Not yet commonly applied to wide format printing.
Sizing—The substance applied to the substrate before gilding in order to make the gold leaf adhere to the surface.
Slice—Cutting of an image by means of using parallel lines to eliminate the image after alternating lines. Also called striping in some sign softwares.
Smoothing—Method used to vary speed and movement of material and knife-head of a plotter, making for less-jagged transitions between nodes during cutting.
Snipe Sign—A sign added to a structure where it is neither the main nor permitted sign.
Spectacular—An extra-large outdoor sign that incorporates special lighting and/or motion effects, or an interior sales display that also includes special lighting and motion elements.
Squeegee—In screen printing, a flexible blade mounted in a wood or metal handle and used to force ink through a stencil mounted on a screen. In sign making, a hard plastic or nylon blade used to apply pressure to increase surface adhesion between cut vinyland the transfer tape or between the vinyl and sign face.
Stencil—A thin sheet of material into which a design is cut; often used in various screen printing processes.
Sublimation—Process in which an image is printed by turning ink or toner, by heat and pressure, into a gas, which then impregnates itself into a substrate or a special coating on a substrate.
Substrate—The material out of which a sign face is made. Wood, metal sheeting, paper and acrylic are all sign substrates. In screen printing and inkjet printing, a substrate can be any printable material, but usually some form of rigid sheet; or it may refer to a rigid mounting board.
SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications)—Refers to, among other things, inks formulated exclusively for web offset printing, and provides the basis for standard Pantone color matching.