Label & Print Lingo

In case the whole idea of printing labels is a bit of an enigma to you, we wanted you to have this handy reference guide to the lingo we use.


BACKLIT: Semi-translucent polyester film, coated for inkjet printing, for use in light boxes.

BANDING: In digital printing, this term refers to patterns on a print caused by insufficient colour or gray-scale ranges within the output device’s image processor, or insufficient information contained within the original scan. Banding is most noticeable in printed areas that fade from light to dark.

BARCODE: An optical machine-readable representation of data read by optical scanners and interpreted by computer application programs. The use of barcodes can provide detailed up-to-date information on multiple aspects of a business and its products.

BITMAP (BMP): An image made up of dots, or pixels. Refers to a raster image, in which the image consists of rows or pixels rather than vector coordinates.

BLEEDING: Spreading of ink into the paper or on the surface causing diffusion of the surroundings of shapes and indistinct edges.

BLOCK-OUT: Banner substrate or self-adhesive film that is totally opaque and does not let any light pass.

COLOUR CALIBRATION: The process of determining and adjusting the properties of a display device or the colours in an image to ensure that the rendered image is accurate to the human eye.

COLOUR GAMUT: The tonal range of colours that can be reproduced by a digital device. 

DIGITAL PRINTING PROCESS: Computerized printing process that produces printed labels without the use of films or plates, enables labels to be customized or versioned, and allows for minimal quantities to be printed economically.

DITHERING: A graphics display or printing process that uses a combination of dots or textures to simulate an original image or an output device. The purpose is to create the impression of a continuous-tone gray-scale or colour image.

DPI (DOTS PER INCH): A measurement of linear resolution for a printer or scanner. For example, a resolution of 300 dpi means that there are 300 dots across and 300 dots down per square inch. A higher number of dots create a finer resolution.

DRIVER: A small software program that links the computer with its components and peripherals: printers, scanners and the monitor. The driver functions as a medium.

DYE SUBLIMATION: A printing method in which the colour (toner or ink) is thermally converted to a gas that hardens on the special substrate used by the printer. When printers use this process, the output appears in the form of soft-edged dye spots that produce smooth, continuous tones.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript): A graphic file format that allows the exchange of PostScript graphic files (image information) between application programmes.

FLEXOGRAPHY: Traditional printing process used to create printed labels and packaging materials. It is economical for printing runs of more than 50,000.

FULL COLOUR PROCESS: The use of four inks, cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow, and black, referred to as CMYK, to create full-colour printed labels. The primary additive colours, red, blue and green, when added together, produce white light. When overlapped, red and blue form magenta, green and red form yellow and green and blue form cyan. These resulting colours are subtractive and when added together, they produce a dark brown. In order to create an accurate photographic reproduction, the colour black must be added.

HUE: A specific shade or tint of a given colour. Hue is the measurement of the wavelength of light.

ICC (International Colour Consortium): Established in 1993 by eight industry vendors for the purpose of creating, promoting and encouraging the standardisation and evolution of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform colour management system architecture and components.

INTERPOLATION: Interpolation is the process of injecting additional dots to digitally enlarge the original.

MEDIA: Another term for substrate. Common inkjet printers generally require media that have special topcoats to achieve proper adhesion and proper drying characteristics.

OVERLAMINATE: A protective clear film that extends an image’s outdoor life and enhances its visual quality.

PIEZO-ELECTRIC: An inkjet printing technology that uses a mechanical-electric charge instead of heat to drive micro droplets through the nozzle.

POSTSCRIPT®: An Adobe programming language that enables text and graphic images to be output from different devices with consistent and predictable results.

PRESSURE-SENSITIVE LABEL: Also known as self-stick printed labels, they adhere with light pressure. Usually there is a backing to remove before applying, which protects the adhesive and makes the printed labels easier to manager.

RGB (Red, Green, and Blue): RGB is an additive colour model used in colour monitors, conventional photo film and paper to create full colour.

RASTER: Raster images are made up of individual dots; each has a defined value that precisely identifies its specific colour, size and place within the image. (Also known as bitmapped images.)

RIP (Raster Image Processing): A process using mathematical algorithms to enlarge and print an image. This software often includes “add-on” features, such as various pattern selections, tools or a print-instruction screen.

RUN: The number of labels printed at one time.

SPOT COLOUR: A specifically coloured ink, which may not be able to be produced by combining the four primary ink colours, designed to print alone rather than to blend with the other ink colours. Examples of spot colour are light pastels and bright fluorescents.

STOCHASTIC: An alternative to traditional halftone dots, this random-placement dot strategy is used to render enlarged images on large-format printing devices. Stochastic dots are uniformly sized “microdots,” and their placement and frequency vary with the tone of the image.

TILLING: The process of dividing a very large-format image into smaller sections that can be output on the digital device.

TRANSPARENCY: The degree of visibility of a pixel against a fixed background. A totally transparent pixel is invisible.

VARIABLE DATA, OR VARIABLE INFORMATION PRINTING: Changing text, pictures, or graphics within a print run to customize printed labels for different demographics.

VECTOR: An image plotted by lines on an X-Y axis. This image is different from a bitmap, which is composed of dots.


Proudly Affiliated With: