Look up terms used in the product identification industry.



Engravable Plastics Trade name.
See Ultra Mattes, Reverse Engravable, Slickers Lacquers, Textures, and Ultra Mattes, Front Engravable on our Materials Reference Chart.

Abrasion Resistance

An item’s ability to resist scratches, scuffs, and other marks that might detract from the item’s physical appearance or decrease its legibility.


Although sometimes used as a generic term to describe plastics, acrylic is a particular type of plastic characterized by its clarity and colorability.
Also see Acrylic Sheet, General Plastics on our Materials Reference Chart.


An abbreviation for the Americans with Disabilities Act; federal civil-rights legislation addressing the needs of physically impaired citizens. Sections dealing with signage include Title II, affecting government and public-sector activities, and Title III, involving the private sector. ADA compliant signage typically includes tactile messages in the form of raised copy and/or pictograms and Grade II Braille.


A substance capable of bonding two surfaces together. Adhesives are often activated by pressure and/or heat.

Adhesion, Initial

Peel adhesion that is measured 20 minutes after the self-adhesive material has been applied.

Adhesion, Peel

Also known as adhesion-in-peel or adhesion strength. Peel adhesion is the force required to remove a self-adhesive tape or film from a standard test panel at a specific angle and speed after the tape has been applied to the test panel under specified conditions.

Adhesion, Ultimate

Peel adhesion measured 24 hours after the self-adhesive material has been applied.


See Aluminum Sheet, Metals on our Materials Reference Chart.

Annunciator Window

An annunciator is a device used for signaling the condition or status of a process or machine by means of illuminating the section of a display containing the text and/or graphics associated with the current alarm, fault or other condition. An annunciator window is the piece that can be illuminated in an annunciator, and usually consists of a translucent piece of plastic or glass containing engraved, printed or applied text and/or graphics in a contrasting color.


Process by which a protective aluminum oxide layer is applied to an underlying metal using electrolysis. Anodizing can create a variety of colors and special effects while providing a durable surface.


(1.) Placement of a label, decal, or overlay on a substrate.
(2.) The conditions under which a label is to be used: the life-cycle of the label.
See also Vinyl Application.

Application Tape

See Transfer Tape

Application Temperature

The recommended (minimum) temperature, or range of temperatures, at which a self-adhesive product should be applied. The label, decal, or nameplate as well as the substrate it is being applied to should be at this temperature. Testing is recommended in situations approaching minimum application temperatures.


A cutout design that is applied to a piece of material.


All copy, graphics and logos used in preparing a job.


See Liner

Back Panel

Sometimes overlays are applied to a rigid panel which is usually made of metal. This panel (or backing panel) provides support for the overlay and other devices or instruments such as meters, switches, and lights. Threaded studs are frequently added to the back of the back panel to allow it to be easily installed as a unit or sub-assembly.

Backsheet Printing

Printing on the back of the label's liner.

Back Slit

Also known as back split, split liner, and slit back. Linear cuts into an adhesive liner to aid in the removal of the liner.


Also called a name badge or I.D. badge. A small nameplate typically worn on a shirt or jacket for the purpose of advertising or identifying a person, company, and/or membership.


In design, the relationship between the design elements so that opposing forces have equal distribution of visual weight in the layout. The overall quality of a design that makes it feel right.


A sign made of a film or fabric, which has no enclosing framework. Banners are typically decorated with applied vinyl or are screen printed, and usually include grommets at its corners and some sides. Banners may be rolled-up for storage and are usually used for short-term, periodic, and/or indoor use.

Bar Code/Bar Code Symbol

A specific pattern made of lines (or bars) and spaces of varying width, which represent alpha and/or numeric data in machine-readable form. The most general format for a bar code consists of a lead margin, a start character, and a trailing margin.

Beveled Edge

An edge of a nameplate that has been machined to form an angle of 15o – 22.5o to its bottom surface. Beveled edges provide a more finished appearance and reduce the chances of being cut or "snagged" by an edge or corner of a thicker substrate. Beveled edges are most commonly produced on products engraved from 2-ply materials to create a contrasting colored edge or border.


A nameplate or decal used as a "trim ring" or for the purpose of covering gaps and/or unfinished edges between a device and the surface it is mounted in. A bezel provides a more finished and professional looking appearance, and also creates a margin around the device, which can be used to display graphics, logos and/or additional information, such as: safety messages, instructions, function labels, etc. Bezels typically surround one device. A bezel that surrounds multiple devices is typically called an overlay. See Overlay and Membrane Switch.

Bitmap Image

A type of computer graphics file. Bitmap images, also called raster or paint images, are made of individual dots, called pixels (picture elements), that are arranged and colored differently to form a pattern. Images are therefore resolution dependent and can only be scaled minimally without degrading the image. Because a bitmap image is created as a collection of arranged pixels, it can be difficult and time consuming to edit or modify. See Vector Image and Art & Design/File Conversion.


In printing, bleed refers to the portion of the printed image which extends beyond the area of the finished print. When the printed item is cut or die-cut, the bleed is cut away. This ensures that the printing will run all the way to the edge of every piece. Without bleeding, the regstration tolerances of cutting equipment could leave unprinted areas along the edge(s) of a piece.


Blockout or blockout opaque describes labels or decals that are made of an opaque material or have a dark opaque adhesive which is used to cover up outdated or changed information.

Braille (Grades I & II)

A tactile-symbol system of raised dots enabling visually-impaired and unsighted people to read and write. Grade I involves a character-by-character translation of printed material; Grade II uses special contractions (much like the phonetic parts of speech) for messages. Grade II Braille is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act on some signs.


See Brass, Metals on our Materials Reference Chart.

Brushed Finish

A satin finish, or a finish in between glossy and matte. Similar in appearance to fine scratches made by dragging a bristle brush across a surface. Commonly seen on stainless steel sinks.


See Burnishing on our Processes Page.

Butt-Cut Labels

Labels produced in roll form that have 1 cut (or slit) between labels, with no space between labels. The labels appear to be butted up against one another, thus the name butt-cut. Butt-cut labels are square or rectangular and have square corners. Dies are not required to produce butt-cut labels. Printed borders or bleeds are not possible with butt-cut labels.


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