FTA Offers Free Design Guide Built from Downloadable 'FIRST 4.0' Document

Posted: November 5, 2009

Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) the world's leading technical society dedicated to advancing the flexographic industry, today announced the release of a free Design Guide based on its newest publication, FIRST 4.0 (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances.) The educational text can be downloaded as a PDF from FTA's website. It also appears, in its entirety, in the July issue of FLEXO Magazine.

The Design Guide boasts 35 pages that speak directly to the average graphics professional who may or may not have experience designing for flexography. It is based on the guidelines outlined in FIRST 4.0, but uses terms, definitions and language universal to artists and graphics firms, as well as all their industry partners—printers, prepress houses, brand owners, etc.

"The impetus for this project came about because, while the Design Section in FIRST 4.0 is robust, it is written with the printer and prepress provider in mind," says Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging, FFTA chairman, who helped spearhead the project. "Our aim was to increase awareness of how-to design for flexographic printing and the packaging industry as a whole. There are an increasing number of companies bringing design functions in-house and hiring people just out of college with degrees in design. They have no concept of what the packaging field is all about, and package design may not have been their core competency. This new guide will serve as a good foundation for designing for flexo." Work on the project began in mid 2008, under the auspices of FTA's Strategic Planning Initiative, as a collaborative effort between the association's Wide Web Leadership Council and Prepress Leadership Council. The group charged with overseeing the project was small and focused: Mark Coffman, Dixie Graphics; Greg Price, Mark-Maker Co.; and Hilliard. While the trio authored all of the revisions themselves, the content was reviewed by experts who had contributed portions of the Design Section of FIRST 4.0, as well as graphic designers who were familiar with the flexo packaging industry, and even some consumer products companies. FIRST 4.0 can be purchased at