Label Lingo: A Guide to the Language of Printed Labels

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

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.

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.

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

Four-color process: The use of four inks, cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow, and black, referred to as CMYK, to create full-color printed labels.

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.

Run: The number of labels printed at one time.

Spot color: A specifically colored ink, which may not be able to be produced by combining the four primary ink colors, designed to print alone rather than to blend with the other ink colors. Examples of spot color are light pastels and bright fluorescents.

Variable data, or variable information, printing: Changing text, pictures, or graphics within a print run to customize printed labels for different demographics.