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.


  • Mesh composition
    Type of fiber used to make screen material such as polyester, nylon or stainless steel.
  • Mesh count
    The number of openings in a screen mesh in centimeters or inches.
  • Mesh counter
    A magnifier with a 6.35mm (1/4 inch) square opening, by means of which the number of threads per centimeter or linear inch of a screen printing mesh can be determined; also referred to as a linen tester.
  • Mesh geometry
    The dimensions required to specify the three-dimensional aspects of mesh structure.
  • Mesh marks (weave marks) (screen marks)
    (1) A fine, cross-hatch pattern left by the printing mesh in the ink film; (2) A condition occurring when certain areas of the screen do not properly separate from the substrate.
  • Mesh opening
    A measure of the distance across the space between two parallel threads, expressed in microns.
  • Mesh stretcher (fabric stretcher)
    A mechanical device for tensioning screen printing mesh over the screen frame.
  • Mesh tensioning (fabric tensioning)
    The act of imparting stretch in warp and weft directions to a screen printing mesh preparatory to securing the mesh to the frame.
  • Mesh thickness (fabric thickness)
    The total average height of two crossing threads in a woven screen mesh measured under tension.
  • Mesh volume
    A mesh aperture width and length multiplied, then multiplied by the total thickness of the mesh without consideration of stencil thickness.
  • Met
    Acceptable abbreviation for metallic.
  • Metal foil
    Very thin sheet of metal capable of being laminated to another sheet material such as paper, to provide a metal facing, or being used, without laminating to a support sheet, in the manufacture of parts by chemical milling.
  • Metal halide lamp
    A mercury light source enhanced by the addition of metallic elements to increase emission spectra and output energy; also refer to mercury halide lamp.
  • Metal mask
    A stencil made entirely of metal, with open (print) areas having been etched into it, leaving completely open apertures, void of screen mesh. Used for depositing solder onto surface mount circuit boards.
  • Metallic fiber
    An inorganic fiber made from minerals and metal.
  • Metallic ink
    An ink that produces an effect gold, silver, bronze, or metallic color.
  • Metallize
    To impart a metallic appearance to a plastic or other substrate, by depositing a microscopic layer of metal.
  • Metallized film
    A plastic or resinous film that has been coated on one side with a very thin layer of metal by vacuum.
  • Metallized mesh
    Screen mesh woven of polyester threads that have been totally encased in nickel by an electrocoating process.
  • Metamerism
    A condition where colors change hue under different light sources.
  • Meter (m)
    Metric system unit of length equivalent to 39.37 inches.
  • Methacrylate resin
    A type of resin produced by the polymerization of methacrylic esters.
  • Methanol
    One of the alcohols that has a high toxic and solvent power used in printing inks where high volatility is essential.
  • Methy carbitol
    One of the trade names for diethylene glycol mono methyl ether, a high boiling solvent for printing inks and pastes used as a solvent for many natural and synthetic resins, dyes, fats, oils and waxes.
  • Methy ethyl ketone (MEK)
    Widely used in the manufacture of lacquer-type screen printing inks and industrial lacquers, also used as a thinner for some screen printing inks of lacquer base.