Glossary Of Terms

The SGIA Glossary of Terms serves as an excellent industry terminology resource. It is the language by which we all communicate, without it universal understanding would be impossible. Language and our ideas about how it is interpreted change rapidly. SGIA is aware of this and continues its effort to keep our constituents well informed about changes to the increasingly complex industry terminology. The definitions are for general reference only. Usage may vary between companies, individuals, or national and country customs. The information presented is as accurate as the authors and editors can ascertain and SGIA assumes no responsibility for the use of information presented herein.


  • Fountain
    The ink reservoir on a screen printing press.
  • Fountain roller
    The roller in the ink fountain which, by revolving, agitates the ink.
  • Four color halftone
    A halftone print composed of four colors (magenta, yellow, cyan and black) deposited in a very small dot pattern, which by proximity or overlapping have the capacity to form all intermediate tones.
  • Four color hues
    Magenta, cyan, yellow and black.
  • Four color process printing
    A system of photographically reproducing an illustration or design to produce all colors in the original by using magenta, cyan, yellow and black ink printed through color-separated halftone printing screens.
  • Four color separations
    Term applied to negatives, positives, or stencils each having the ultimate printing responsibility for one of the four colors used in four color process printing; namely, magenta, cyan, yellow and black. (Separations may be made with a process camera or by electronic scanner devices.)
  • Four-post press
    A flatbed screen printing press where the screen carriage is mounted on four vertical posts and the vacuum bed moves forward for loading and back for printing.
  • FPO
    Acceptable acronym "for position only."
  • Fractal
    Mathematically generated pattern that is reproducible at any magnification or reduction.
  • Fracturing
    Sometimes found at the high stress points of a mechanical emboss due to stretching the sidewalls of the material.
  • Frame
    Acceptable abbreviation for chase, printing frame, vacuum frame.
  • Frame adhesive
    Special bonding agent that holds the screen mesh in place on a static or rigid frame.
  • Frame profile
    Wall thickness, shape, and design of a frame member as seen in cross section.
  • Frame strength
    Property enabling screen frame to hold tension and retain profile without distortion.
  • Free mesh area
    The area of the mesh that lies between the inside of the frame and the image area of the stencil.
  • Free moisture
    Liquid that will drain freely by gravity from solid materials.
  • Free radical
    A reactive material which initiates polymerization in UV curable formulations, generally by the loss of an electron.
  • Free shrink (thermal shrinkage)
    The irreversible and rapid reduction in linear dimension of a plastic film exposed to given temperatures, expressed as a percentage of the original dimension. Also designated as unrestrained linear thermal shrinkage.
  • Freeze point
    The temperature at which a liquid becomes crystalline or solid.
  • French crystal
    A translucent matte glass color that gives the effect of acid etching or sandblasting when applied to glass and fired.
  • French fold
    A sheet that is printed on one side and then folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.
  • Frequency
    (1) The number of periods or cycles per second of an alternating electrical current, expressed in units of Hertz; (2) Point-of-purchase exposure, the number of times an individual sign or display is exposed to individuals within a specified time period.
  • Frequency modulated screening (FM)
    A dithering method that uses uniform dot sizes and varies the distance between them.
  • Friction feed
    Process where material is moved by placing it between a motor driven grit wheel and two tensioned pinch rollers.
  • Frilling
    Describes (indirect film) gelatin emulsion which is falling off of its polyester base due to lateral swelling in the hardening bath, caused by weak chemistry or too high temperature.