Labeling Terminology 101

Our customers have told us that label terminology can be confusing. In an effort to make things easier for our customers, we have put together a glossary of some of the most common terms that we use on a daily basis.


ADHESIVE: Located between the face stock and liner, adhered to the back of the face, the adhesive bonds the face to the product with varying degrees of permanence.

APPLICATION TEMPERATURE: The temperature of the product the label material is applied to at the time it is applied.

BLEED: Printing that goes beyond the trim edge to ensure complete coverage of ink.

CALIPER: The thickness of a material measured in units of one thousandth of an inch or mil.

DIE: A custom engraved cylinder that makes the cuts and/or perforations in the material.

DIE CUT: The shape of a label made by the cutting edges of the die.

FACESTOCK: The primary material used to convert in the label process [generally has adhesive on the back and is attached to the liner]. These can be films, papers, foils, fabrics etc.

FLEXOGRAPHIC PRINTING: The printing process that involves using an ink roller [anilox], plate cylinder with plate attached and impression roll that supports the materials being printed. The ink is picked up from the anilox and is transferred with pressure to the material and then dried or cured. There is a plate for every color and each plate is registered through the press.

FLOOD: Fully covering the paper/film with ink or varnish.

FOUR COLOR PROCESS: The printing of an image using half tones of yellow, cyan, magenta and black to ultimately create an image with a wide range of resulting colors.

GLOSS: Glossy or ‘shiny’ look as opposed to a matte or ‘flat’ look.

LABEL REPEAT: The distance from the top of one label to the top of the next label that includes the space between the labels.


Pressure Sensitive Sandwich copy

LINER: A paper or film- coated with a silicone- that is the carrier of a face stock. The liner is designed to have the label peel off easily.

PLATE: A rubbery surface backed with Mylar that has a raised image where ink is desired to print.  (Please note that if we are printing something digitally for you, plates are not needed).

PRESSURE SENSITIVE: An adhesive on the back of the label face stock that needs pressure to be applied and adhere.

SCREEN: The process of taking an image and transforming into dots. The size and arrangement of the dots determines how light or dark the image will be printed.

SPLICE: Taping two rolls together with a clean cut between the labels and a single piece of tape on the back of the liner.

SPOT VARNISH: Varnish that is printed only on specific parts of the label.

TOOLING: The cylinders, dies and plates needed to run each job.

TOPCOAT: The coating put on the face stock (generally films) at the Mill where the material is made. This coating allows Flexo inks to print and adhere properly.

TURRET: Rewinds the labels as they come off of the press in a continuous motion so the press does not need to stop.

UV VARNISH: Varnish that is cured using an ultra-violet lamp.