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.


  • Backing adhesive
    An adhesive applied to the back surface of a membrane switch, 0.002 to 0.005 thick, to attach it to the application surface.
  • Backing sheet (carrier)
    Support aid such as the plastic or paper support sheet of knife-cut stencil film, indirect photoscreen stencil film, camera film, and the support sheet of pressure sensitive laminations.
  • Backing up
    Printing the reverse side of a sheet that has already been printed on one side.
  • Backlap
    An extremely heavy, uneven application of color at one edge of a print.
  • Backlash
    Movement beyond actual adjustment in a device, usually when a screw type adjustment cannot be locked into the adjusted position.
  • Baffle
    A device used to separate one light source from another.
  • Baffle mark
    A seam on a bottle resulting from an imperfect mold joint between the blank mold and the baffle.
  • Bake
    To convert an organic coating film from a liquid to a continuous, hard, dry film by the application of heat.
  • Baked enamel
    A type of finish, usually screen printed or sprayed on a metal surface with enamels containing resins, dried, and then baked at a high temperature to prolong the life of the coating.
  • Baking
    To dry or harden by subjecting to heat, usually a temperature above 65.6° C (150° F).
  • Baking cycle
    The time and temperature combination used to develop maximum properties of an organic film.
  • Balance
    (1) A device for weighing material in the preparation of processing compounds and solutions; (2) Harmony and equilibrium of graphic elements due to placement.
  • Ball mill (mill) (paint mill) (pebble mill)
    A rotating cylinder containing smooth pebbles, porcelain balls, or steel balls in which organic pigment or inorganic ceramic material is ground in either a wet or dry state.
  • Ballast
    A step up transformer with a range of capacitors for regulating line voltage to a lamp housing.
  • Balopticon
    A projector used to project an image onto a drawing surface to enlarge or reduce photos, sketches, or drawings.
  • Balsam (copaiba)
    A natural resinous liquid used as a color vehicle.
  • Banding
    (1) Application of banded decoration to glass or ceramic items with a banding wheel; (2) Undesirable harsh, well defined transitions on a print.
  • Bandwidth
    The range of wavelengths between two identified limits, expressed in the same units as wavelength (nm).
  • Banned heavy salts
    Metal substances that are controlled by government restrictions (US) such as chrome, lead, arsenic, selenium, and antimony.
  • Banner
    A sign made of fabric, plastic, or other non-rigid material that has no enclosed framework.
  • Banner Applications

    Banner Applications

    Virtually anywhere and everywhere...
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  • Banner Media

    Digital Banner Media

    Digital media for banner production can be any one of a number of materials in the market place. Banners can typically be broken down into two categories; those that will live indoors and the banners that will be outdoors in the environment. Indoor banners typically require less protection and can be made of materials that might be unsuitable for an outdoor environment. There are a myriad of media for outdoors depending on the location and duration of the project. Solvent, latex and UV curable inks need not be laminated or protected for outdoor use, but doing so will add to the durability and cost of the project. Check with the manufacturer about a materials durability and longevity under the conditions your customer has in mind. Engineering digital products takes some consideration and sometimes testing to insure products can go the distance. Don’t be afraid to make some test banners to put them outside for testing purposes. [[{"fid":"911","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
  • Banner Production
    Banners can be made with digitally cut self-adhesive vinyl or by digital printing directly onto banner materials with aqueous, solvent, UV or latex ink systems. Whether you cut or print, you will first need to start with a design and graphic design software. The feature list in your software can sometimes make or break your designs, so limiting yourself to inexpensive software can hurt your competitiveness. Standard software packages like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, CorelDRAW or FlexiSIGN will enable you to create distinguishing projects that sell banners and work well for your clients. You will need a modestly powerful computer to design with and usually another one to drive the cutters and printers with special RIP (raster image processor) software or cutting/printing software.
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    Plotters and printers:

    If you’re going to create vinyl-decorated banners, you’ll need a commercial grade vinyl cutter with good tracking. There are many such cutters in the marketplace with varying widths and feature sets, including the ability to vary cut force and speed. These are ideal because of their precision and media handling. Most entry-level cutters are fine for small decals, but don’t cut accurately beyond 8 – 10 feet. Ask about tracking before you choose a cutter to ensure that it will deliver accuracy for the lengths you require. Ten feet might seem silly, but pin striping a recreational vehicle is at least ten feet, maybe twenty+, so think about your possible future products, not just the common ones.   The alternative to cut vinyl lettering is to digitally print your banner.  Digitally printed banners are the de facto standard in the market place. With the prices for entry level digital printers at their lowest in years, there’s no excuse to own a sign shop and not have one. Banners can be produced with every ink type that digital printers typically are using, but the materials used must be compatible with the ink set in the printer. Water based inks need coated media, solvent printers typically do not need coated media, nor do UV curable or latex inks. When in doubt, check with the media manufacturer about an inks compatibility and longevity with the media in question. There are a myriad of choices in the digital printer world and your choice will depend on your products size and your business production needs.   Printers can be purchased that have basic ink sets of CMYK or extended ink sets that have light cyan, light magenta, light blacks, metallic silver and white. The majority of printers that one would consider for banner printing start at the 30” (762 mm) width mark, but can go all the way up to the maximum width of 5 meters (196.8”) in width. One of the lesser-known advantages of going wide is the ability to print multiple narrower rolls across the media width (each roll is a different job). This alone will increase productivity for narrower jobs and provide capability for wide material printing. Currently latex printers stop at the 126” (3200 mm) width, but both solvent and UV curable devices are available up to the maximum 5-meter width.
  • Banners
    Banner - A long strip of cloth bearing a slogan or design hung in a public place or carried in a demonstration or procession. That’s the definition of banner; before it morphed into a multifunctional digitally printed graphic message. Banners are big business for digital printers and sign shops in general. It’s estimated that 40%-50% of a sign shop’s profits come from banners. So, they’re not only popular, but they are easy to produce and profitable. The market for banners is deep and wide. You can sell in high volume to retail stores, and in lower volume to a wide variety of secondary markets including schools, municipalities, and individuals. Banners range in size and type, from extremely large to small, with mounting systems or grommets for hanging, horizontal or vertical. Learning to make, sell, and install banners correctly is an important step to becoming a lucrative sign professional. This basic guide to banner making which will give you an overview of the equipment, tools and supplies needed, display options, and a few tips. Let’s start with the basic equipment list.
  • Bar
    A standard unit of pressure equal to 105 newtons per square meter or 0.98697 standard atmosphere.