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Glossary

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A

Adhesive

This is a substance that is used to stick materials or objects together. Sheet labels can have removable or permanent adhesives. Removable adhesives are designed for short-term applications because you can easily remove them from surfaces. Permanent adhesives, on the other hand, are hard to remove and are designed for long-term applications.

B

Bleed

In printing, this is the print that goes beyond the sheet’s trim edge. This area will be trimmed off after printing.

C

CMYK

This represents the four standard ink colors used in offset printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These colors are mixed together to create other colors.

Construction

A label’s actual makeup that includes the adhesive, face, and liner.

Crop Marks

Also called registration marks, crop marks are printed lines on a sheet label’s margin. They indicate where the sheet will be trimmed after printing the label.

Curl

This happens when the sheet label is distorted making it hard to lie flat because of humidity or temperature changes.

D

Die

This is a tool used to cut and score paper products, label stock, and others.

Die-Cut

It is the process where label stocks, paper products, and others are cut and scored.

Dots Per Inch (DPI)

The number of dots that fit in one inch. It measures the resolution of an input and output as well as display devices.

F

Face

A label’s top portion where images or texts are printed in.

Frosty Clear

Cloudy, matte but not crystal clear look.

Full Bleed

Graphic or text that extends to a printed paper’s edge. The bleed makes sure that all edges of the trimmed document are printed.

G

Gloss

A label’s coating that allows the paper to reflect light. Thus, creating a shiny look. Glossy labels help in reducing ink absorption, resulting in a better color definition and contrast.

GSM Rating (Grams/Square Meter)

This is also referred to as paper weight or paper density. It is the weight and thickness of a paper material. Printers support different maximum GSM ratings.

H

Halftone

A scanned image that has been converted into small dots with varying sizes to create tone variations. Light areas consist of smaller dots while darker areas consist of larger dots. This makes printing different shades of gray possible using black ink only.

Horizontal Spacing

It is the measured distance between a label’s columns on a die-cut label sheet.

I

Ink Absorbency

A paper’s property that determines how much ink penetrates it. It is also the absorbency rate of the paper after it comes into contact with the ink.

J

JPEG

The commonly used image format in digital cameras. It is used for lossless compression of digital images.

K

Kiss Cut

Die-cutting a label’s top layer but not its self-adhesive backing.

Kraft Paper

A durable brown paper with a high pulp content. It is usually used for envelopes, grocery bags, and wrapping paper.

L

Laser Sheet Labels

Labels that are designed to comply with the requirements of laser printing machines.

Legal Size

Papers measuring 8.5 x 14 inches.

Liner

The backing of a label construction. It carries the label’s adhesive until it is ready to be used.

Lots

A term referring to a single design. Multiple lots mean multiple unique designs in one order.

M

Marginal Copy

A copy printed on a page’s margins.

Matrix

A label stock’s waste area. It is removed during the label’s manufacturing process after die-cutting it.

Matte

Not reflective. It is flat and dull, unlike glossy materials.

N

Natural Colored

Labels that don’t have chemical coloring.

O

Offset Printing

A printing technique where a plate is used to transfer an inked image onto a rubber “blanket” before it is transferred to a printing medium.

Opaque

Not transparent (you cannot see through the printing on the other side of the sheet).

P

Pantone Matching System (PMS)

It is the standard color matching system for CMYK in the printing industry.

Perforation

Small holes in a material for easy tearing. The size of the perforation (teeth/inch) will depend on the hole sizes (cut) and the space between the holes (tie).

Permanent Adhesive

Labels with this adhesive are impossible to remove without the label being destroyed or leaving any adhesive residue.

Pixel (Picture Element)

One point in an image.

Pixelization

The display of noticeable pixels where the jagged edges in an image can be seen when enlarged.

Polyester

A polymer consisting of ester groups. It is mainly used to make plastics and fibers.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

A type of file that provides electronic images a printed document look that you can view, print, and transmit electronically.

Pressure-Sensitive

Adhering through pressure.

Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive

Pressure-sensitive labels are called such because they stick to surfaces after applying pressure on them. The adhesive allows the label to stick to the surface.

Process Color

The process of recreating color images through the combination of the CMYK colors.

PSD (Photoshop Document)

A file format in Photoshop that allows you to work on an image’s individual layers even after saving the file.

R

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

The process of using electromagnetic fields wirelessly to automatically track and identify smart tags and labels on products.

Removable Adhesive

You can remove labels with this type of adhesive easily without any piece being left on the object’s surface. On the other hand, labels with tacky adhesives can damage material surfaces when removed. Although they are removable, they can become permanent after some time.

Resolution

A way to measure output quality. It is expressed in PPI on computer monitors and DPI on printed media.

Roll Labels

Continuous rolls of labels that can be applied by hand or an automated machine.

S

Safe Zone

It’s the black-dotted line on a digital proof.

Self-Adhesive Label

These are pressure-sensitive labels.

Sheeting

The process where label stock rolls are turned into sheets by using a rotary press to cut them to their desired length.

Shelf Life

The length of time a label can still be usable after storing it under specific conditions.

Smart Labels

These are labels that can access and store information through the electronic devices they contain.

Static

This is the electric charge that makes the sheets cling to each other (for polyester materials only).

Sunlight Resistance

A sheet label’s ability to resist the effects of sunlight exposure.

T

Tack

The degree to which pressure-sensitive labels adhere to surfaces after applying pressure.

Template

The label’s layout with margins the same as sheet labels.

Transparent Label

Labels that are completely see-through. Thus, creating a no-label look.

Turnaround

This is how long it takes to complete your sheet label order.

V

Variable Data Printing

A type of printing where you can change or customize the elements (images and texts) on a label.

Vector Graphic

An image stored as lines instead of dots in a memory. This allows you to scale or rotate them.

Vertical Spacing

This is the measured distance between a die-cut sheet label’s rows.

Vinyl

A synthetic plastic or resin made of polymers like polyvinyl chloride. It is commonly used in phonograph records as well as for covering materials like wallpapers.

W

Weatherproof Labels

These are durable labels that can resist the effects of external environmental conditions like moisture (e.g. condensation, rain, and snow) and fluctuating temperature. They are built for demanding applications and are smudge, scuff, and tear-resistant.

A

Address Book

This is where you can save addresses and other information that is commonly used for easier access.

Address Format

A format for addresses you can modify to include/ exclude data fields that will be printed on labels. This also includes all formatting options for the data fields.

Adhesive

A substance used to hold materials together to the materials’ surfaces. In labels, there are two types of adhesives: permanent and peelable.

Adhesive Ooze

The leakage of excessive adhesive material under labels, which can cause the roll edges to become tacky.

Aging

The changes a material undergoes over time.

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of a bar code symbol height relative to the width.

B

Background

The area that surrounds any printed symbol.

Bar Code

A machine-printed code containing parallel lines used to enter data into systems. Bar codes contain lines with varying thickness, length, size, and position, and symbols.

Bar Code Reader

An optical device used to read bar code symbols and send data to a computer.

Bar Code Validation

This is the process of checking the correctness of the number printed on a bar code. This does not check the print quality or readability of the bar code.

Bar Code Verification

This process ensures that the bar code will be readable across all bar code scanners. This is done with bar code verifiers. Bar codes are graded according to ANSI/ ISO quality parameters.

Bar Length

The measurement of the lines in bar codes along its vertical.

Bar

The dark lines included a bar code symbol.

Bi-directional Read

A bar code’s ability to be read by scanning from either left to right or vice versa.

Bi-directional Symbol

A bar code symbol that can be scanned/ read in either direction.

Black-and-white

Any prints made in single color or monochrome.

Bleed

Refers to a print status when the printed image is extended beyond the label’s trim edge. This is usually done to remove the appearance of margins in the label.

Bold-face Type

A font type that is heavier than the text type with which it is normally used.

Butt-cut Labels

Butt-cut labels are rectangular labels that are cut without a gap to separate between them. Butt cut labels can only be applied by hand.

Butt Roll

Very short roll of a label left nearing the end or a roll.

Butt Splice

The joining of two ends of materials.

Blockout Permanent Adhesive

This adhesive type is used in cases where information has to be blocked out and covered. Examples of these are wrong info or barcodes, so covering them will keep them from being viewed. This adhesive is also permanent, which is difficult to remove.

C

Caliper

Caliper is a measure of paper thickness equal to one thousand of an inch. Caliper is also measured in micrometers or millimeters in metric.

Carrier

The waxy paper where labels lie throughout the label roll, underneath the actual labels. The carrier sizes are based on the label size since the carrier needs to be wide enough so that the labels can peel off easily.

Carrier Width

This is the total width of the carrier, from one of its edges to the other. The width will depend on the actual label size.

Character

A group of bars in bar codes that represent any character, from a letter, number, or a punctuation mark.

Check Digit

In barcoding, this is a digit which value is mathematically related to other characters to prevent mistakes. This is used as an extra check to determine the accuracy of the barcode reading.

Code 39

A bar code that consists of the full alphanumeric characters, 43 to be exact. This includes letters, numbers, and some symbols. The barcode is made of nine black bars and nine white bars for each character.

Cold Temperature Adhesive

Cold temperature adhesives are made to adhere to cold surfaces in cold environments. These are also named “All Temp Adhesive.”

Continuous Label

Labels manufactured without cuts throughout the roll. These are useful for users that need to print labels of any length.

Copy

Any material (pictures, script, artwork, etc.) reproduced for printing.

Core/ Core Size

The inner tube of the roll, usually made of cardboard. The most common sizes are in 1 in. or 3 in. diameter.

Core Holder

The attachment used to mount the core to the shaft.

D

Die

A cutting tool used to create the shape and size of labels. Dies can be used to cut only the labels and not the liner. Other dies also cut through both the liner and the label.

Die Cut

The use of a die to cut out labels. Also used as a general term to describe labels formed by die-cutting.

Die-Cut Labels

Die-Cut Labels are pre-cut and pre-sized labels used for convenient and easy label printing. These are commonly made for mailing, business, and administrative applications.

Digital printing

Printing of digital images directly to paper or other media without the use of plates. Digital printing also offers efficient printing and high-resolution images.

Direct Thermal Printing

A type of printing that does not use any ink source, toner, or ribbon to print. This technology uses a thermal label material that is activated as the print head heats the media. As the heat is applied, the label will react by blackening.

Dots Per Inch (DPI)

Dots per inch. The measurement of resolution in display devices and print. DPI is a measure of how many dots are in a linear inch. The more dots that can fit a linear inch, the greater the quality.

E

Exposure Temperature

The temperature in which labels and the products are exposed to.

F

Facestock

The part of the label being printed on. The most common materials used as facestock are paper, fil, and foil.

Finish

The surface property of labels on the basis of gloss and texture. This signifies a label’s smoothness, print quality, and absorbability.

G

Gap

It is the small space that separates every individual label from the next label on the roll.

Gloss

A clear and shiny label finish. This gives a glossy sheen to the printed material.

GSM Rating

Grams per Square meter. Also known as paper density or paper weight. This denotes a paper’s thickness. This is important with some printers as they are rated with a maximum GSM they can print with.

H

High-Temperature Adhesive

An adhesive used for warm or hot applications. Some common high-temperature adhesives are used in food containers

I

Inner Diameter/ ID

The inside dimension of the roll core.

ISO

The International Organization for Standardization. The ISO is a standard-setting body that develops international standards for quality management.

J

JPEG

A common digital image file type (with a .jpeg or .jpg filename extension). JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

K

Kiss-Cut

Refers to die-cutting of labels where the die cuts the laminated material and adhesive only, and stopping before the liner will be cut.

L

Label

A piece of paper, plastic film, or other material that is attached to a packaging or product, with printed information about the item.

Label Height

This is also understood as the label length. The label height is measured from the front to the back of the strip.

Label Layout

Includes all the text and graphics that are making up the label design.

Label Printer

A computer printer that prints with special mechanisms to print self-adhesive labels or card tags. They commonly have mechanisms for rolled stock or fanfold stock.

Label Type

Label Types are named according to the shape and size of a label.

Label Width

This is the label’s measure between each side of the label.

Laminate

A thin film layer made of plastic used to protect and add durability to the actual label against environmental factors. Laminates can be available in printable, gloss, and matte variations.

Laser Paper

Paper material for use in laser or inkjet printers.

Liner

Also called Carrier, this is the backing paper that contains the labels. They are typically made with a special coating that allows for labels to be easily removed after printing.

M

Matte

Dull and flat finish and without shine or sheen.

Mils

A unit of dimension used to describe adhesive coat weights and thickness. One Mil is equal to one-thousandth of an inch, or 0.001 in. In the metric system, 1 Mil is equal to 0.0254 millimeters.

N

Non-Adhesive

Non-Adhesive has no adhesive qualities. Labels with non-adhesive will function like ordinary paper stock.

O

Outer Diameter or OD

This is the full diameter of a label roll in its entirety. This measurement should be kept in mind when purchasing roll labels as some are too large for certain label printers.

Opacity

The property opposite to transparency. This property defines how much a paper or film prevents showing through the backside of the paper.

Oxidation

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that involves the combination of oxygen with another substance to form an oxide. In labels, oxidation takes place during the deterioration of an adhesive film when exposed to the atmosphere. The degradation of an adhesive by prolonged exposure to heat and oxide formation can also cause oxidation.

P

P-touch Editor

A label editor program used by Brother QL series Printers. This allows users to edit and create custom label templates before printing.

PDF

Portable Document Format. A file type that looks like a printed document, but can be viewed and transmitted electronically.

Perforation

Series of small/ dotted cuts made in labels or in liners to guide along a tearing/cutting line.

Permanent Adhesive

Permanent adhesive is a strong type of adhesive that is resistant to weathering, oils, and water. This adhesive is difficult to remove and is the ideal adhesive type for long-term adhesion.

Pixel

Short for picture element. A pixel is the smallest unit in graphic images. One pixel represents one point in an image.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is a clear plastic material used in labels to create more durable labels. The addition of polypropylene in labels enhances its water, oil, shrink, and tear resistance.

Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive

An adhesive type that adheres to a surface once pressure is applied to the label.

Q

QR Code

Quick Response code. A type of two-dimensional code (or matrix barcode) used for its fast readability. QR codes rose to popularity as it also can store larger amounts of data, as compared to standard UPC barcodes.

Quiet area/ quiet zone

In barcoding, this is the area surrounding the barcode free of text, graphics, blemishes, and marks.

R

Recycled Label

Label rolls that contain materials recycled from the manufacturing process, or also from post-consumer waste.

Recyclable Label

Labels marked as recyclable mean they can safely be recycled. Most labels, however, cannot be recycled due to the adhesives, unless the adhesives used are also recyclable.

Removable Adhesive

This is a less aggressive type of adhesive as compared to permanent adhesive. Removable adhesives can be removed easier and can also be replaced, however, they will quickly lose their adhesive properties if replaced multiple times. Removable adhesives do not require adhesive remover to remove from surfaces.

Repositionable Adhesive

These are all temperature adhesives that are removable for a short period of time, so they can be repositioned and replaced to another surface before adhering permanently.

Residue

The adhesive left on a surface when a label is removed.

Resolution

The measure of output quality for print media or computer display. In print media and label printing, the resolution is measured in DPI (Dots per inch), while in computer monitors, the measure is based on PPI (pixels per inch).

S

Semi-Gloss

Coating material with a slight shine. Semi-gloss is much clearer than matte, thus, is more recommended for small labels and barcodes. The coating functions as a barrier against elements like moisture.

Semi-Gloss Piggyback

A semi-gloss material but with extra adhesive material to allow for reapplication to other surfaces without losing adhesive properties.

T

Template

Refers to the layout of a label. This can be modified and applied to a number of labels to follow standard layouts of labels.

Thermal

Refers to the use of heat and change in temperature, e.g., thermal printing.

U

UV

Ultra Violet light. UV is a form of invisible radiation and occurs naturally in the sunlight. UV affects labels as it can degrade adhesives when exposed over a long time.

UV resistance

The ability of labels to withstand UV exposure from sunlight. UV can be degrading as it causes discoloration and hardening.

V

Varnish

Liquid coating for labels used to protect from scuffing. As compared to a gloss laminate finish, a varnish-coated label appears to be more glossy and enriched.

W

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

A property of labels that define their resistance against the effects of moisture over an extended period of time.

Weatherability

The capability of a label to withstand various outdoor conditions over time, namely sunlight, moisture, heat, cold, snow, and rain.

Y

Yellowing

A defect on labels that is evident with a gradual color change over time, usually in yellow or brown hues, in the original appearance.