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Label Terminology & Glossary

Whether you're looking to purchase new labels or seeking support on an existing purchase, it can help to familiarize yourself with the industry jargon. Below, we break down the most common label terms so you can speak the lingo!

Watch it all at once in the video below or jump down to find each one separately.

Bleed

The term bleed refers to the process of extending your design past the border of your label. We typically recommend that your design continues at least 1/8" past the pre-defined outline to give you a buffer if some shifting occurs during printing. That ensures your design prints in its entirety and you aren't left with unprinted edges.

Make sure you don't need any of the content in this portion of your design. It's only printed if shifting occurs, thus it may or may not be included on your label once it's peeled from your sheet.

Die Cut

We define die cuts as the shape cut-outs on your label sheet or roll. The process of die cutting includes running a die cutter over uncut label paper. The resulting labels have the requested shapes cut into them.

Gloss

Gloss labels feature a shiny, photo-quality finish. They're great for producing a professional or upscale look for product labels and other consumer-facing applications. You can purchase glossy labels in white and clear materials for inkjet and laser printers, as well as roll label printers.

Liner

A liner is the bottom layer of your label. It's the piece of material that the label and the matrix stick to.

While this is commonly viewed as just a throw-away item, the liner plays an important role in feeding the label sheet/roll through your printer. Without a quality liner, you may see printing issues such as jamming or curling.

Matrix

The label matrix is what surrounds your die cut labels. It's the label material that isn't used to create your label shape.

Matte

Matte labels feature a flat, no-shine facesheet that reflects minimally in the light. Matte labels are available in a wide selection of materials including white, clear, brown kraft, and colors. There are options for inkjet, laser, and roll printers.

Non-Printable Margin

If you're using a sheet configuration with labels against (or near) the edge of the page, you may find your design gets cut off when printing. This is because most printers are incapable of printing all the way to the edge of the sheet. That unprintable area is called the non-printable margin.

We recommend using our free non-printable margin tool to find your printer's exact printable area, then making adjustments to your layout using these non-printable margin label design tips.

Roll Labels

Roll labels are labels spun around a cardboard core to be used only by dedicated roll printers. Roll printers produce labels one at a time, so they're great for projects where each label includes unique information. Popular uses include creating shipping labels or barcoding inventory.

Safe Margin

The safe margin is a guideline that sits 0.125" from the border of your label. It creates a "safe zone" that is protected from printer shifting. Anything outside the safe margin may get cut off during printing and thus we recommend keeping all critical text and imagery within the safe zone.




We hope these definitions and introductory videos help you gain a better understanding of our products. For more information or personalized assistance, please call our customer service team at 1-888-575-2235.