General Formulations® (GF) is a family-owned, global manufacturer of pressure-sensitive print media headquartered in the USA, since 1953. GF offers a cross-platform portfolio of film and laminate solutions that stick, which include rolls for wide format and sheets for narrow format digital printers, as well as offset print technologies.

General Formulations’ goal is to provide products and services that exceed the customers’ expectations. GF prides itself on experienced technical research & development and a highly knowledgeable sales team. Our customers have unique and diverse needs, which GF meets by offering a wide range of both solvent and emulsion based adhesive coating capabilities. To complement our coating capacity, we also offer one of the largest converting operations in the industry. Having a well-balanced approach to fulfilment makes it possible for us to react to requests and service our customers from start to finish.

Our corporate headquarters is in Sparta, Michigan and has 400,000 square feet of manufacturing and converting space to service the ever-growing needs of our customers. We have several solvent and water-based coating lines as well as one of the largest converting operations in the industry, specializing in slitting, sheeting, punching and packaging. Our extensive converting capacity gives our customers access to press ready sheets and custom slit rolls in as little as 1 to 3 days.

Our manufacturing, warehouse and converting areas have controlled climates, allowing us to provide products manufactured and stored in a regulated environment. GF strives to reduce our carbon footprint by minimizing waste, reusing packaging materials and recycling scrap. We are committed to operational excellence, continuous improvement and expanding our capacities to ensure sustainable long-term growth. This consistency provides our customers with dependable solutions and quality products.

Partnering with you and your business is our focus.

Thank you for your interest and support of General Formulations.


General Formulations was founded in 1953 by James Black. A pioneer in the screen printing industry, Black held more than 40 patents during his lifetime. He is best remembered for his inventions which revolutionized the printing business. The local Press described him as an “acknowledged wizard” and said nearly every week technicians would arrive at the company’s headquarters in Sparta, Michigan from Japan, Holland, South America, France and even Germany to learn what new machines and process Black and his crew would develop. Black would credit his success to his imagination.

 “A person becomes a genius at it when he becomes so familiar with the materials and methods he works with that he has greater success in manipulating them in a creative way,” according to Black. “It doesn’t matter what the field is—painting, sculpture, writing poems, or devising machines—it has to do with the imagination.”

Black started his empire out of his garage like many entrepreneurs. An artist by trade, but a tinkerer at heart, it was the screen printing industry that brought the pioneering spirit out of Black. In 1948, he invented the General Press, a high-speed cylinder screen printing press, which automated the screen printing business. And in 1976, he invented the first web screen printing press which incorporated the cylinder concept and the feeder and ink application mechanism patented by Black.

In 1972, Black received the Howard Parmele Award, the highest honor given by the Screen Printing Association, as one of the principle inventors and developers in the industry. Black retired in 1984 and General Formulations traded ownership from one family to another. At the time, Jim Clay worked at General Formulations as General Manager and purchased the company from the Black family. Clay worked in the printing industry most of his career, starting in the paper tag printing segment and moved to General Formulations in 1981. Today, General Formulations is still in the family and managed by son Mike Clay.

“It’s incredible to see how far his family’s business has come,” says President Mike Clay.

Today, Clay is proud to say General Formulations is still a family-owned business located in Sparta, Michigan.