FTA – What is FIRST?

Initially released in 1997, Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) 6.0 is the sixth major revision of this publication. It is designed to provide all members of the flexo supply chain with the technical information needed to produce high-quality and consistent print results.

FIRST is a set of specifications, not standards. When followed, these specifications facilitate producing a predictable, consistent result. The process and specifications supported intend:


  • To outline key flexo procedures and guidelines to be used from the beginning of the process to the end, including the implementation, design, prepress and print processes
  • To improve quality and consistency through improved communication and measurement procedures
  • To reduce cycle time and minimize rework through improved process control methodology
  • To control production costs through streamlined raw materials and process improvement methodology
  • To enable consumer product companies (CPCs) to obtain optimal flexo print quality, which equals or exceeds offset lithography and gravure printing
  • To grow the overall flexographic printing industry through increased market share of an expanding market

FIRST seeks to understand customers’ graphic requirements for reproduction and translates those aesthetic requirements into specifications for each phase of the flexo printing process, including: customers, designers, prepress providers, raw material and equipment suppliers, and printers. Its intention is to provide all participants with a common set of guidelines, tutorials and data that can be used as communication and production tools.


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