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.


  • Plastometer
    An instrument for determining the flow characteristics of a thermoplastic, under specified conditions.
  • Plate
    (1) In screen printing, indicates the printing screen; (2) In other printing methods, the material on which the desired copy or design has been etched, molded, or transferred.
  • Plate maker (plate printer)
    An illuminated vacuum table for exposing photosensitive material.
  • Plated-through holes
    A plating technique in electronic circuitry where the holes drilled in the substrate for attaching wire lead components are plated with metal for the entire depth of the holes as they extend through the thickness of the substrate.
  • Platen
    (1) The flat plate of a printing unit of a printing press that serves to hold the substrate in position during printing or finishing; (2) A fixture on a T-shirt printing machine or device that supports the item to be printed; (3) Base or heating element of a heat transfer press.
  • Platen dryer
    A single panel flash cure unit generally used for wet-on wet garment printing.
  • Platesetter
    A device that uses laser light or thermal imaging to expose a printing plate at high dpi resolution (1200 dpi or higher).
  • Platform
    Refers to the particular proprietary computer hardware design. This can be Intel, Windows, Macintosh, etc.
  • Platform easel
    An easel that provides a platform on which merchandise can be displayed.
  • Platform lock
    A lock that attaches a display platform to its base.
  • Plating resist
    A screen printing compound, when applied to conducting elements in a printed circuit, prevents subsequent plating of those portions with metal.
  • Plexiglas
    A light, transparent, weather resistant thermoplastic; a trade name for acrylic plastic sheet, which through long usage, is incorrectly regarded by many as a generic term.
  • Plotter
    (1) A mechanical drawing device that produces images by pen or electrostatic process; (2) An output device for recording an image in raster fashion on a photographic emulsion or print image carrier; (3) A device that interprets information sent from a computer and moves a tool head to a series of coordinates based on the devices x and y axis coordinates.
  • Plugging shadows
    Destruction of, or loss of, detail in the shadow areas of a halftone film or print.
  • Ply
    A designation of thickness for cardboard and other blanks indicated by the number of plies or layers used in the laminate. (Plies are converted into points with a point equal to 1/1,000 inch).
  • Pneumatic screen printing machine
    A screen printing machine, semi-automatic or automatic that is powered by compressed air rather than by an electric motor or other mechanical power source.
  • Pneumatic tensioning system
    A compressed air-actuated stretching device used for tensioning mesh before it is attached to the frame.
  • POC
    Acceptable acronym for point of contact.
  • Pocket connector
    A pocket for connecting two display parts to each other.
  • Pocket hinged-back
    A pocket made out of a display back.
  • Pocking
    Dimpling on the surface of a print.
  • Point
    (1) A standard unit of measure in printing where 72 points equal one inch; one point equals 1/1000 inch; (2) A measure of cardboard thickness (50 point board is specified .050 and is 5/100 inch or 50/1,000 inch thick).
  • Point light source (pinpoint light source)
    A light source that has a single point or filament.
  • Point of purchase/point of sale (POP/POS)
    The location at which a product is sold such as the store or retail counter.
  • Point source
    Any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, including, but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock or vessel, from which pollutants are or may be discharged.