Digital Printing, Labeling, and Packaging Glossary

Across (the web) The dimension of a label that stretches from one end of the web to the other.
Adhesive The “stickiness” on the back of the label.
Applicator A device to automatically apply labels onto the finished package. Applicators are usually restricted to a maximum size of the roll (Outside Diameter) and sometimes to a specific direction off the roll (Unwind).
Around (the web) The dimension of a label that wraps the core.
Barcodes A machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths to identify a product.
* Ensure that barcodes are placed vertically to avoid scanning issues.
Bleed The art that extends past the die cut into the matrix.
* Extend the background of your artwork into the bleed area at least 1/8” around all sides.
Blind shipping When we change the “from” address on the shipping label to reference our customer instead of our own information.
CMYK The four colors of the digital printing process, used to make all other colors; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (Key). CMYK is used for physical printing, unlike RGB which is used on digital monitors.
Additional Resource: Things to Know About Color Guide
Cold Foil In cold foiling, an adhesive is laid down in the pattern which is to be foiled, and then the foil substrate sticks only to the adhesive and leaves the desired pattern.
Collect Shipping When the receiver’s UPS account gets billed instead of Blue Label’s.
Color Separation Originally, the separation of an art file’s colors into the different color plates it would take to reproduce the file (Red, Green, Blue). Now used mainly in traditional printing where each color is laid down separately, one per plate. In digital terms, it refers to the separation of CMYK, foil, emboss, or spot varnish elements and is generally referred to only when “spot” colors are being used.
Additional Resource: Things to Know About Color Guide
Combo (plate) When a project calls for the same image to be foiled and embossed, a combo plate that combines foiling and embossing properties is ordered.
Copy The text or art on a label.
Copy Limits The template has two fold lines. You’ll want to keep text and important design elements within those areas to ensure best results.
Core The 3” diameter cardboard core the labels are wound around.
Core Tag A small label placed on the interior of the roll’s core to indicate product information.
Corner Radius The curve of the corner of the label, particularly on rectangles and squares. Our standard CR is 0.125” (1/8”).
Cut and Stack Cut and stack labels do not have liner or adhesive. The adhesive is applied to the label or the item to be labeled prior to application.
Decoration Foil stamping, embossing, or spot varnish on top of a printed label.
Deboss Creating an indent (or recess) in the facestock by stamping the image on top of the material with a metal plate.
Diameter The measure across a roll of labels.
Die The metal tool that cuts out the shape of the label.
Die Cut A type of finishing technique that refers to cutting the material into the custom shape outlined by the dieline in the art file.
Dieline A line indicating where the actual cut is made on the final design of a label.
Direction (off) See Unwind.
Emboss Creating a three-dimensional, raised image in the facestock by stamping the liner (backside of the material) with a metal plate.
* This type of decoration adds texture and dimension to the label; it’s something you can feel when you touch the surface of the label.
Facestock The part of the substrate on top of the liner.
Finish Refers to the protective or decorative additions to a printed label. After the substrate is printed on, it is most commonly “finished” with a laminate or varnish.
* Finishes are not required but are recommended for protection or to achieve a desired “look” on a label.
* Finish can also more generally refer to everything that happens after the art is printed, including decoration.
Foil A secondary substrate used to add decoration to a label.
Foil Stamp Using a copper plate to lay down a design of foil. The foil is hot stamped, meaning the process uses heat as well as pressure to fuse the foil onto the substrate.
Gloss A type of laminate effect or varnish that has a high shine.
Hand Applied When the customer puts the labels on their product by hand, without the use of a label applicator.
* When hand applied, the direction off the web typically doesn’t matter.
Hot Foil Stamping Applying a design in metalliccolored, or holographic foil to the label material by using a heated metal plate and pressure.
Hot Stamp See Foil Stamp.
Image Resolution The number of pixels in an image.
* All images must have a minimum resolution of 300 DPI.
Additional Resource: Artwork File Standards Guide
Impression In general terms, the impression is the dimension of material that can be printed during one rotation of the plate cylinder.
Irregular Neither a rectangle nor a circle, any custom shaped label is deemed irregular.
Laminates A type of finishing technique that is a film overlay that adheres to the material, adding a layer of protection and water resistance to the label.
Lay Flat The area between the two vertical red lines that represents the front panel of the folded sleeve. These vertical lines can be moved horizontally across the sleeve but must remain at least 20mm from the seam of the sleeve.
* Lay flat specifications: Standard: Minimum 40 mm – Maximum 145 mm
Leading Edge See Unwind.
Liner The backing of the label.
Matte A type of laminate effect that is dulled and non-reflective.
Matrix The wasted part of facestock between each label, which is stripped at the end of the finishing process so that the customer has a border of liner around each label.
Max O.D. The maximum Outside Diameter (measured in inches) that a roll can be.
Pressure-Sensitive The type of label we produce, pressure-sensitive labels come with adhesive on them.
RGB The older generation of color separations (pre-CMYK); Red, Green, Blue. RGB is meant for use on digital screens, such as computer monitors or TVs.
Additional Resource: Things to Know About Color Guide
Roll The typical way labels are delivered is one after another on a roll.
Safe Zone A 1/16” buffer between the dieline and the elements found in a label design. Ensures that those design elements aren’t accidentally cut during label production.
Satin A type of UV varnish that has a dull, matte-like finish.
Set A set of labels is comprised of one front label and one back label. A customer may choose for their set label to have front and back labels alternating on one roll, or to receive a roll of just front labels and a roll of just back labels.
Sheet A sheeted label is one that is delivered not on a roll; labels can be sheeted individually or in sets.
Sheet-fed Any press that uses substrates already cut into sheets.
Soft Touch A type of laminate effect that has a matte effect with a velvet-like texture.
Spot Color Any PMS or customer-provided color that cannot be replicated with a simple mix of the CMYK elements. HP has pre-formulated CMYK values to produce most PMS colors.
Additional Resource: Things to Know About Color Guide
Spot Varnish Designating a specific area to apply a gloss or matte effect.
Substrate The material on which the label is printed. Our substrates have layers: liner, adhesive, and facestock.
Thermal Transfer Thermal transfer printing is a digital printing process in which material is applied to paper (or some other material) by melting a coating of ribbon so that it stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. Variable data (sell by dates/production dates) are often printed onto the label by the customer directly prior to application.
Third Party Shipping Usually used in conjunction with blind shipments; when Blue Label’s account doesn’t get billed, the receiver’s account doesn’t get billed, but a third party’s UPS account automatically gets billed.
Unwind The dimension or edge of the label that is first off the roll.
UV Varnish A liquid resin used to create a protective coating on top of the label.
Web Substrate fed through a press or finishing line is “webbed” through in a specific order to maintain movement and appropriate tension, which allows for inks to dry and finishing to be completed. Web refers to the substrate while it is in motion in the press.
Web-fed Any press that uses substrate off of a continuous roll (compare to sheet-fed).
Wet Apply Applying labels in wet conditions. Or, a type of adhesive designed to withstand application in wet conditions.
White File A layer of the art file that instructs the press to lay down white ink to create opacity on a non-white substrate.
* White files are defaulted to metallic and clear substrates (any part of the design that should not be translucent or metallic must have white underneath it) but occasionally are necessary on Kraft or other special substrates.
Additional Resource: White File Creation Guide