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.


  • First surface
    The outside or exposed area of a sign face or translucent material.
  • Fisheye
    (1) A flaw in an ink film consisting of a generally circular dark pattern surrounded by a ligter color or halo; (2) A flaw in an emulsion coated screen that results in a generally circular thinning defect in the emulsion film.
  • Fixed off-contact
    The distance between the screen and the substrate, which can be adjusted to various values, but once set, it generally remains fixed at that value during the print run.
  • Fixed-focus
    A camera lens that has been focused in a fixed position by the manufacturer and cannot be changed.
  • Fixing solution
    A solution or bath which clears photographic film of the undeveloped chemicals.
  • Fl
    Acceptable abbreviation for fluid.
  • Flag
    A marker usually strips of colored paper or lightweight board, inserted in rolls of material or flat sheet stock extending from the edge to indicate a deviation from standard such as a splice or defect, or to mark a specific length or count.
  • Flagging
    (1) Marking printed matter to indicate a change or correction; (2) Up and down motion of goods in an embroidery hoop under the action of the needle resulting in poor registration, unsatisfactory stitch formation, and birdnesting.
  • Flair
    A phenomenon where the color of an object changes in appearance under different illuminants; also refer to metamerism.
  • Flaking
    The detachment of small pieces of an ink or coating film either from the substrate or from a coating previously applied; generally due to a loss of adhesion.
  • Flame blow-off
    Separation of flame from a burner when the velocity of the air/gas mixture exceeds the rate of flame propagation.
  • Flame resistant
    A material that burns very slowly when in contact with flame or ceases to burn when a flame is removed.
  • Flame retardant (FR)
    (1) A chemical treatment used to abate or prevent combustion in a material; (2) Chemicals used to reduce or eliminate the tendency of a resin to burn.
  • Flame treated product
    Treatment of the surface of polyolefin plastic by passing the material through a gas/air flame to oxidize the surface, so printing inks and adhesives will adhere.
  • Flameproof
    Resistant to flames; does not ignite.
  • Flammability
    The capability of a material to support combustion, ranging from extremely easy to ignite to self-extinguishing.
  • Flammable (inflammable)
    Capable of catching fire easily and burning rapidly; having flash point below 37.8°C (100°F).
  • Flammable liquid
    A liquid having a flash point below 37.8 degrees C (100 degrees F), except that this term does not include any liquid mixture having one or more components with a flash point at or above 37.8 degrees C which make up 99% or more of the total volume of the mixture.
  • Flammable solid
    A solid, other than an explosive, that can cause fire through friction, absorption of mixture, spontaneous chemical change, or retained heat from manufacturing or processing, or that can be readily ignited, and when ignited, will continue to burn or be consumed after removal of the source of ignition.
  • Flange
    The edge of displays folded back on scores approximately two inches in from each edge of the background piece to add strength to the display.
  • Flannel
    A soft woolen or worsted fabric, slightly napped on one side.
  • Flash
    Extra plastic attached to a molding along the parting seam.
  • Flash ager
    A mechanical textile curing system capable of high volume curing. The decorated cloth passes through a heat zone into water and other finishing processes before final drying.
  • Flash cure (spot cure)
    Semi-curing a plastisol print quickly using a special heat unit over the print area.
  • Flash exposure (bump exposure) (no-screen bump) (flash bump)
    A very short white light exposure made without a screen that supplements the main exposure (with a screen), used to accentuate detail and contrast in the highlight area of a halftone negative or positive.