Corporate Images, Inc. is a premier custom ink, embroidery, apparel, promotional products manufacturer and supplier

Screenprint Glossary

ai: Adobe Illustrator file. A popular vector type file used in the graphics industry.

Air-dry: The property of any ink that will dry without the use of heat by evaporation.

Artwork: Common term for an image or text that will be used for printing.

Automatic Press: A screen printing press in which the printing and the operation of the machine is accomplished through the use of electric servos and hydraulics. An automatic screen printing press has a much higher production rate than a manual press and will typically produce a higher quality print result.

Bitmap: Electronic image composed of individual pixels.

Blockout: An emulsion like chemical that is used to cover pin holes and to block out any area of the screen that you do not want ink to pass through.

Camera-Ready Art: Production ready art. Artwork that requires no alterations or modifications and is ready for output onto film or vellum.

Clip Art: Ready to use artwork, usually in vector format, and typically copyright free.

Cold Peel Transfer: A plastisol ink transfer where the transfer paper is not removed until the print has completely cooled; resulting in the entire ink deposit being transferred to the garment.

Colorfast: The ability of a garment or print to hold its colors over repeated washings.

Color Separation: The separating of each color in a design into a separate image. Each individual separated color will then be printed in a certain order to reproduce the original composite image.

Contrast: The difference between light and dark tones in an image.

Cool Down: Allowing a flashed print to cool down in temperature before any further printing is done.

Copyright: Laws governing the ownership and use of artwork.

Cure: The process of using heat to completely fuse plastisol ink.

Cyan: One of the process print colors, a certain shade of blue.

Darkroom: A room devoid of light used for the purpose of drying screens coated with emulsion or capillary film.

Digital Imaging: A term used to describe the creation, display and printing of images through computers and related digital equipment.

Digital Transfer: A term used to describe transfers that are processed and/or printed through a computer. Digital transfers are output via ink jet or color laser printers onto special transfer paper then applied to a garment with a heat transfer press.

Direct Emulsion: Photo sensitive liquid emulsion which is applied directly to a screen with a scoop coater.

Direct to Garment: Printing process utilizing a special ink jet based printer that uses special textile inks to print directly onto a garment.

Dot Gain: A condition that occurs in printing halftones where the dots increase in size as a result of ink buildup on the bottom of the screen.

DPI (Dots per inch): A measure of printing resolution indicating the number of individual dots a printer can produce in a linear one inch space.

Dryer: A common term used to describe a belt driven, chambered device with one or more heating elements used for the purpose of curing a print. Also know as a textile dryer.

Drying: A common term for curing a print.

Dye Migration: A problem that occurs when dye migrates from the fabric into the imprinted ink on a garment. This problem occurs with 100% polyester or 50/50 blend garments only and can be avoided by using bleed resistant inks and by taking certain precautions when printing, curing and handling the garments after curing.

Emulsion: Photosensitive chemical in either liquid, roll or sheet form that is applied to a screen and used for the purpose of making a stencil.

EPS: Encapsulated Postscript. An electronic vector file.

Exposure: Exposing an emulsion coated screen to light to create a stencil. Also known as “burning” a screen.

Exposure Unit: A device used for the purpose of making a stencil consisting of a light source and some means of holding a screen in place against a film positive.

Film: Right reading media of the image used for exposing a screen. The most common types of media used for film positives are ink jet film and vellum paper.

Flash Cure: To partially cure a print by subjecting the print to a heat source for a short amount of time.

Flash Cure Unit: An infrared heating element that is typically attached to a rotary turntable, positioned above the platen and used for the purpose of bringing a print to a partially cured state so a second print stroke can be applied to achieve desired opacity.

Fluorescent Ink: Special inks that contain extremely bright “neon” pigment colors.

Font: A specific type face.

Four-Color Process: Also known as CMYK or Full Color Process. A printing technique utilizing four ink colors (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black) to print the entire color spectrum.

Ghost Image: A faint image that remains on the screen after the screen has been reclaimed. Ghosted images can usually be removed with a dehazing agent.

Gray Scale: An continuous tone image devoid of color consisting only of white to black shadings.

Halftone: A color or grayscale image that has been converted into a series of large and small dots.

Hand: How a print feels when touched. A print is commonly described as having a soft hand or a rough hand.

Heat Transfer: The printing of an image in reverse onto special paper then transferring that image with a heat transfer press to a garment.

Image Area: The area on a screen where the image appears.

Ink: Common term used to describe the printable substance that is used to make a print. In the textile printing business, the most widely used ink is plastisol.

Ink Additives: A chemical agent added to ink to alter or improve its printing properties.

Line Art: Black and White artwork consisting of no halftones or color.

Logo: A special symbol or graphic used to identify a particular business or organization.

Magenta: One of the process print colors, a certain shade of purplish red.

Mesh: Woven material make of polyester, silk ,or stainless steel with uniform openings that will be attached to a screen frame.

Mesh Count: The number of threads in one square inch of screen fabric, measured in both directions. The lower the number, the coarser the mesh and the larger the screen opening.

Metallic Ink: A plastisol ink base containing metallic particles.

Misprint: A print containing a defect of some kind.

Moire (pronounced “moray”): An unwanted herringbone-like pattern that appears in a print as the result of misalignment of overlapping lines, halftones, and screens.

Opacity: An ink’s ability to cover the underlying color of the garment.

Open Area: The area of a stencil that the ink passes through.

Overcured: Subjecting the garment to excessive heat. Overcuring will result in a print that will crack and fade prematurely. Overcuring plastisol transfers will result in transfers that will not adhere properly.

pdf: Portable document format. An Adobe Acrobat file.

Phosphorescent Ink: Glow in the dark ink.

Pigment: The component of ink that provides the color.

Pinholes: Unwanted tiny specs that appear in the stencil after exposure.

Pixilated: In computer graphics, pixilation is an effect caused by displaying or printing a bitmap at such a large size that the individual pixels are visible to the eye.

Plasticizer: A chemical component in plastisol ink used to give it the property of flexibility.

Plastisol: A screen printing ink primarily for textile printing composed of the following components: PVC (polyvinyl chloride), color pigments, and plasticizers.

Print Head: The component of a screen printing press that the screen is attached.

Print-Flash-Print (PFP): Screen printing technique used to achieve an opaque print result by printing, flash curing the print and then applying another print stroke.

Process Colors: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black (CMYK).

Proof: A sample print. Also know as a test print.

psd: An Adobe Photoshop file.

Puff Ink: A special effect type of plastisol ink that “raises up” or expands dimensionally during the curing process.

Reclaim: To remove old emulsion from a screen so the screen can be reused.

Reflective Ink: A special effect plastisol ink containing tiny reflective elements.

Registration: The process of lining up the screen image to the original art and/or separations on a printing press and/or exposure unit.

Resolution: In computer graphics, resolution refers to the quality of an image as measured in DPI (Dots per inch). In the screen making process, resolution refers to the ability to “wash out” or resolve fine detail of an image on a screen.

Screen: A wooden or metal frame with mesh tightly attached to it.

Screen Opener: A chemical that is used to remove clogged ink from a stencil.

Screen Printing: Printing method where ink is driven through a stencil with a squeegee.

Screen Stretcher: A device used to stretch mesh over a screen frame.

Simulated Process: A screen printing technique typically used for the reproduction of photographic or full color images involving the use of color separation software and printing certain colors of opaque inks in a certain order on high mesh count screens.

Sizing: Chemical agent used to increase the weight, crispness and luster of a garment.

Solvent: A liquid that dissolves a solid.

Solvent Based Inks: Non-plastisol inks, such as acrylic, UV and epoxy based inks, typically used for the printing of hard goods and other non textile products.

Special-effects Inks: Special effect inks include metallic, shimmer, glitter, high density, glow in the dark, puff, reflective, photochromic (color change), suede, gel, black light and others.

Spot Color: An image that contains discrete color elements, non-photographic in nature.

Squeegee: Wooden or metal handled tool with a rubber blade used to drive ink through a stencil by pulling the squeegee across the screen.

Stencil: The portion of an exposed screen containing the image to be printed.

Stroke: The pulling of the squeegee across a screen to produce a print.

Transfer: General term used to describe any type of indirect printing.

Transfer Adhesive: A powdered adhesive that will improve the adhesion of a transfer to the garment.

Transfer Inks: Special plastisol inks that are used for printing cold peel and hot split transfers.

Translucent: The property of allowing light to pass through diffusely.

Transparent: The property of allowing light to pass through completely.

Ultraviolet Light: Light with a wave length shorter than that of visible light, commonly called black light. UV light is the ideal type of light for exposing screen and curing certain types of ink.

Underbase: A thin coating of ink printed first and cured to act as a base for which all other colors are to be printed on.

Undercure: Term used to describe any print in which the ink did not cure completely. An undercured print will most likely not pass a wash test and wash off when the garment is laundered.

Vellum Paper: A special type of translucent paper usually printed with a laser printer used to create a film positive.

Viscosity: Commonly perceived as the “thickness” or “thinness” of an ink.

Water Based Ink: Non plastisol inks that can be air dried.

Work Order: Document used to show all of the necessary information required for the efficient production of an order.