The Only Glossary of Packaging Terms You’ll Ever Need

There are a lot of great quotes out there about knowledge and learning.  Knowledge is power, The More you Know, and on and on.  In the spirit of making sure that you are the most informed consumer possible, we thought we would spend a few moments explaining some of the most important terms in our industry.  This glossary will arm you with confidence as you interact with suppliers and colleagues and convey that you are savvy and confident.


Aqueous coating A water-based coating that is applied to seal the entire litho label sheet, creating a smooth finish that is available from matte and satin to gloss.

Mylar Coating Is a highly specialized type of stretched polyester film that is reflective and fairly impermeable. Mylar’s unique characteristics include electrical insulation, heat resistance, and chemical stability. Additionally, its high tensile strength makes it resistant to both punctures and tears. When applied to a litho label it reduces cracking.

Blank Size A flat sheet of corrugated board that has been cut, scored, and slotted, but not yet glued together. When measuring, always measure the direction of the flutes first. This will give you a carton’s overall blank size.

Caliper The thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils) and written in decimals.

Cutting Die A steel rule tool that comes in two styles depending on the use, flat and rotary. Theses dies are used to cut and score the corrugated carton.

Print Plate/ Flexography (often abbreviated to flexo) is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible relief plate. It is essentially a modern version of letterpress. This plate transfers the image from the plate to the corrugated surface.

Flute The wavy layer of corrugated medium that is glued between the flat inner and outer sheets of linerboard to create corrugated board. Fluting generally runs parallel to the height of a shipping box. Typical flutes come in single-wall (B or C) or double-wall (BC).

Linerboard The thin paper on the inside and outside of the corrugated sheet.

Palletizing This refers to the way the flat cartons are placed on a pallet for shipping. Things to think about would be number of cartons in a bundle, number of cartons in a stack, and the number of stacks to a pallet. A pallet is created to produce the most efficient pattern inside a truck for freight costs.

Score or Score line the process of making a crease in paper so it will fold easier. Basically, a paper score is a ridge that is indented into the paper where the fold line will occur.

SKU A stock keeping unit (SKU) is a product and service identification code for a store or product, often displayed as a machine-readable bar code that helps track the item for inventory. A stock keeping unit (SKU) does not need to be assigned to physical products in inventory.


Let us know when you are ready for your quiz!  Study this glossary and let us know what you think!