We have put together this comprehensive glossary for all packaging and design related terminology that will be useful in preparing for your next project.
Plastic film that protects against scratches and scuffs
A clear, fast-drying water-based coating that is used to protect printed pieces. It provides a high-gloss, satin, or soft touch finish. Because it is water-based, aqueous coating is more environmentally friendly than varnish or UV coatings.
A sample without printing used to check dimensions, form, and construction before printing and machine sampling.
A buffer added to the edge of artwork extending beyond the sheet to allow for ink overrun.
Stamping technique that adds depth and detail (without ink) using a pressed, sunken texture.
Stamping technique that adds depth and detail (without ink) using a raised texture.
Industry term that means “coated one side”.
Industry term that means “coated two sides”.
An abbreviation for clay-coated news back, a material/board usually consisting of a high amount of recycled material.
Acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, the four inks used to build colour in traditional printing processes.
Surfaces treated with a glossy, semi-gloss, or matte finish.
Lines used to depict the points at which a sheet should be trimmed.
Stamping technique that adds depth and detail (often in conjunction with ink) using a pressed, sunken texture.
Process of using a template to mass-produce a cut-out shape using machines. Commonly used for handles or design features.
Template for the mass-production of cut-out shapes using machines.
Process of printing a digital-based image file directly onto a substrate, without the use of a traditional printing plate.
Sample printed with a digital-based image file directly onto a substrate, without the use of a traditional printing plate.
Where two flute boards are bound with glue to add rigidity.
Box with a sliding interior tray within an exterior sleeve.
Where two materials are bound with glue to add rigidity or alternately finished sides.
Complete (often self-closing) box that’s post-ready for shipping items and products.
To include an artwork from another file (eg. image) within an Illustrator document and save it within the file.
Any form of targeted finish or features that add to the intricacy and detail of the design (eg. foiling, embossing, texture, etc.).
Stamping technique that adds depth and detail (often in conjunction with ink) using a raised texture.
FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper has been harvested responsibly and may contain recycled paper.
Value-add treatment or process applied to a dried print surface to achieve a specific look or result (eg. foil stamping, embossing, matte-laminate)
Cardboard comprised of corrugated fiberboard which is layered to create a crush-resistant structure. The letters corrulate to overall thickness (E = thinner, C = heavier).
Specialty printing process using heat, pressure, and a metallic paper (foil) to add embellishment.
Abbreviation of ‘grams per square metre’, a universal measure of paper weight.
A finish that uses plastic film to produce a shiny surface that enhances the color and vibrancy of the ink.
A finish that uses a liquid coating to produce a shiny surface that enhances the color and vibrancy of the ink.
Type of ribbon with a tight weave and ribbed texture that can be used as a tie, pull or handle.
Extra panel/s incorporated into a bag/envelope design to add more space and structure.
Type of ribbon featuring ribs on both sides running diagonally into the center.
Coating applied to targeted areas to achieve a raised finish, adding depth and detail.
Box created from one folded piece, often with self-locking sides and a tucked lid.
Lustrous colour finish that changes with the light and angle.
Unbleached paper with superior strength, made from wood pulp using the Kraft Process.
Box created from two pieces, with a lid enclosing a tray for a more luxurious look.
Rigid box that incorporates magnets within the construction to create a secure closure.
Matte is a low-gloss, low-sheen finish that reflects less light to give a more flat, subdued appearance.
A finish that uses plastic film to produce a matte surface with a softer and more natural look.
A finish that uses a liquid coating to produce a matte surface with a softer and more natural look.
Measurement used to describe the thickness of film or fibre — 1 micron = 1000th of a millimetre.
Method of mass-production printing in which rubber rollers are used to transfer artwork onto the receiving media or substrate.
The process of converting design elements to paths within an Illustrator file to ensure the design is set and will retain it’s exact appearance across all systems. This feature is commonly used for typography within designs as not all computers will have the desired fonts installed.
Acronym for Pantone Matching System, a universal system of over 2000 standardised colours used to create a consistent and exact color match every time.
A broad colour spectrum developed as the industry standard for colour matching, including those that cannot be mixed in traditional CMYK.
Series of holes or punctures that allow two parts of a material to be easily separated.
Used to control the alignment of plates to ensure accurate placement of artwork and features.
Strip of fabric or fibre used to tie, bind or embellish.
Box with superior strength, constructed of heavy paperboard in a sturdy form.
Box constructed of heavy paperboard in two pieces, with a lid enclosing a tray.
Box constructed of heavy paperboard and incorporating a folding magnetic closure.
Woven fabrics manufactured to be rip-resistant due to their reinforced design.
Crease line pressed or embossed into the substrate to prepare an area for easy folding.
Printing process that uses mesh screens to transfer ink onto the receiving media or substrate.
Boxes with lids that sit flush with the base, held in place by a ‘shoulder’ extending from the base.
Alternative to traditional petroleum-based inks, these environmentally friendly plant-based inks are made using soy beans.
Clear, glossy coating applied to targeted areas or features of artwork to highlight or contrast.
Premixed color of ink that is applied directly to the substrate, rather than using a process such as CMYK to achieve it.
SKU, short for stock keeping unit, is an item’s unique identifier or code used for inventory tracking.
Any paper, board, fibre or material used as a base material for printing or in the structure of your packaging.
Matte finish that uses lamination to create a surface with a suede-like feel.
Perforated or scored strip that can be pulled to provide an easy and defined way of opening a box or package.
An allover seamless pattern used to enhance the tactile experience and visual appearance of the surface. Achieved using blind debossing, creating a subtle sunken textured.
Box that features a top panel with a flap that tucks into the top of the box to close.
Paper with no coating added during manufacturing, making its surface more porous and absorbent to ink.
Liquid coating applied to a surface as a finish to achieve a specific look (eg. glossy).