Common Label Terms – Label Glossary
Helpful label terminology from Renell Label-Print, Inc.
Adhesive: The glue substance applied to the back as a pressure-sensitive material for adhesion to surfaces.
All-temperature: The type of pressure-sensitive adhesive designed for use at both room and colder temperatures.
Bar code: One of several machine-readable codes used at retail, manufacturing, and shipping levels.
Bleed: When the ink coverage of the copy runs beyond the cut edge of a label.
Butt cut: A label made with square corners and no spacing between labels.
Carrier width: Measurement of the liner or backer from edge to edge of the label or roll.
Cold temperature: Refers to adhesives designed for application and performance at colder temperatures above freezing.
Color changes: Refers to the wash-up and changeover of ink colors within a production run.
Color matches: Refers to the mixing of ink colors to match a specific color requirement or PMS (Pantone Matching System) standard.
Color proof: A pre-press color prototype typically supplied from laser, color print, color key, chromalin or press proof to approve prior to production.
Copy: The printed image and/or wording on a label.
Coupon label: A coupon made as a pressure sensitive label which can be applied to a surface and subsequently peeled off and redeemed as a dry coupon with no adhesive to the touch. Also called an IRC (instant redeem coupon).
Cut marks: The lines on the outer edges of artwork and plates that show where the actual cut of the label will be.
Die: The tool that cuts the shape of the label (often available in a label maker’s tooling inventory).
Die cut: Refers to the cut that produces a label shape. In rectangles, it distinguishes rounded corners from the square corners common to butt cut labels and is a requirement for automatically applied labels.
Die line: The outline of the die cut; often required to match artwork properly to the finished shape.
Direct thermal: Imprinting process using heated pins to strike specially coated paper to produce an image.
Exact repeat: Usually means a label reorder to the exact specifications as previously followed without change.
Face material: Top layer of a label construction sometimes also called the substrate (i.e. paper, foil, mylar, vinyl, etc.)
Fanfold: Finishing labels with a perforation and zigzag fold so that it can be imprinted or used as continuous.
Fanfold length: The distance from perforation to perforation on a fanfolded label.
Flexo: The flexographic process of printing that uses round printing cylinders and cutting dies and requires roll materials into the press. It runs thin, fast-drying inks and raised-surface plates at high speeds.
Four-color process: The print combination of magenta, cyan(blue), yellow, and black in dot patterns called screens, to produce a variety of graphics, images, or photos in all the color shadings desired.
Freezer temp: Refers to pressure-sensitive adhesives designed for application and performance below 32°F.
Gradient: The variation of printed dots from lighter to darker as a single or in multiple colors.
Halftone(s): The use of dots to create a lighter-shaded version of a base color.
Label length: The label’s dimension from one side to the other in the direction of the pull of the roll.
Label width: The label’s dimension from one side to the other in the direction from one edge of the roll to the other.
Lamination: The process of combining one or more surfaces together to accomplish a particular purpose.
Laser stock: Face material, often paper, required when using heat and toner to produce an image.
Latex-impregnated: Face material with rubber additive to improve moisture and weather resistance, and flexibility.
Liner: The silicone-coated base material used to facilitate release of the adhesive coated face while holding it together during printing, die cutting and automatic application.
M: Represents 1000 in the printing industry.
Matrix: The waste face material around the die cut edges of a label that is stripped away and discarded.
Opaque adhesive: Also called “greyback” or “block-out” used to eliminate any show- through of previous printing.
Overlaminate: The application of a clear material (usually a lacquer coating, film, or UV) for appearance or protection.
Pattern adhesive: The application of adhesive in a striped pattern for the purpose of a specific construction.
Perforation: A series of cut and uncut areas used to aid in tearing, folding, or some other facilitation.
Permanent: Common term for pressure sensitive adhesives designed to give a permanent or lasting bond.
Piggyback: A multi-layered material made to allow for the secondary use or positioning of the label.
Pin feed: Relates to the tractor-feed marginal holes required by certain impact imprint systems.
Plate: The raised surface, usually of photopolymer or rubber, which transfers the ink to print an image.
PMS: Pantone Matching System of color standards and matching, indicated by a universal number given to each specific color and shade.
Positive print: Refers to any image that is created by the raised surface of a plate, like a rubber stamp. (See Reverse print)
Registration: The correct placement of all colors and copy within a label or one color to another.
Release: The chemical bond of the face to the liner allowing for proper converting, application and adhesion.
Removable: A type of adhesive that is designed for clean removal from a surface(s).
Repositionable: Refers to the ultra removable type of adhesive allowing for easy release and reapplication to most surfaces.
Reverse print: The reverse of Positive print (above), where the raised plate prints ink all around the desired image.
Screens: Any dot pattern used to produce various concentrations of color such as process, halftones, or gradients.
Tamper resist: Labels created in any combination of fashions to defeat removal after application or indicate evidence of tampering with package integrity.
Thermal transfer: Imprinting process that uses heated pins against a transfer ribbon to image a paper or film substrate.
Tints: Solid ink coverage on a label.
Tool/Tooling: Refers not only to cutting dies but also other mechanicals such as cylinders, sheeters, blades, punches, etc.
UV: Stands for “Ultraviolet” which is a method of curing inks, coatings and laminations by ultraviolet light.