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Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.

  • ABSORPTION: A property of paper; absorption is the ability of paper to take up liquids or vapors. This plays a key role in the quality of the bonding process of the adhesives use to manufacture an envelope, and in the storage process as the stored envelopes are subject to humidity.

  • ADHESIVES: There are two main groups of adhesives used to manufacture an envelope. The first group consists of fastening agents used to bind the seams of the envelope together permanently. The second group includes the various sealing agents used to bind the seal flap to the back side of the envelope.

  • ADJUSTABLE DIE: Device designed to cut envelope blanks utilizing a system of movable blades. This is a cost effective way to produce small, odd-size runs where the only alternative is purchasing a new high die.

  • AIRMAIL ENVELOPE: A light-weight envelope with red and blue border and "Air Mail" printed on the face, specifically designed for keeping the cost of postage down by reducing the weight of the mailing.

  • ANILOX ROLLER: A hard cylinder coated by an industrial ceramic. The surface contains millions of very fine dimples, known as cells. A thick layer of  viscous ink is deposited on the roll and a measured amount of ink remains in the cells. The roll then rotates to contact the flexographic printing plate and the ink from the cells transfers to the printed material.

  • A-STYLE ENVELOPE: Announcement style, open side envelope with double side seam construction and a square flap. Available in six standard sizes.

  • BACK GUM: Also called seam gum. It is the adhesive used to seal the seams on the back of the envelope to form the envelope pocket.

  • BANDING:  counting method in which paper band is placed around a specific number of envelopes. Most commonly used for greeting envelopes.

  • BANGTAIL ENVELOPE: An open side style with side seams and two flaps: a large perforated, detachable flap approximately the size and shape of the envelope that is not used for sealing and a typical seal flap of standard size used for mailing when the other flap is detached. Commonly used by financial institutions for bank-by-mail.

  • BANKERS FLAP ENVELOPE: Also known as a wallet flap, this envelope is readily available in the larger commercial sizes and is used for heavy mailing application, such as bank statements that must get through the mail system intact and secure.

  • BANK ENVELOPE: Open end style with a single side seam left purposely unsealed. The seal flap is available in un-gummed or latex seal. Used by financial institutions for currency transfer.

  • BAR CODE: A series of vertical bars representing a mail piece's zip code.

  • BARONIAL ENVELOPE: Often used for announcements and greeting cards, this close to square style envelope has a large pointed flap and diagonal seams.
  • BLEED: When the printed image extends behind the fold of an envelope or off the edge of an envelope blank.

  • BOOKLET / OPEN SIDE ENVELOPE: A large open side style with side seams and the seal flap on the long side. Usually used for mailing booklets and multiple unfolded documents.
  • BUSINESS REPLY & RETURN: Refers to the printing on the outside, the difference being who pays for return postage. Both have the address pre-printed on the face. A business reply includes a preprinted First Class Permit indicia, while the return envelope requires the sender to affix postage. Both envelopes may be any style or size. Most common sizes are #6 ¼, #6 ¾, and #9.

  • CAMERA-READY ARTWORK: Professionally produced layout of exact copy to be printed. This includes all typesetting and/or logo art. Preference for most printers is a high-res electronic pdf with embedded graphics and fonts.

  • CATALOG / OPEN END ENVELOPE: A large open end style with a center seam and seal flap on the short side. Normally used for mailing catalogs and multiple unfolded documents.

  • CELLO: Super clear cellophane window patch material. More costly than poly.

  • CENTER SEAM: The seam used to construct the envelope, running from the bottom fold to the throat.

  • CLOSURE OPTIONS: Various methods of securing the seal flap to the back of the envelope.
    •  LATEX:  A self-sealing adhesive that requires no moisture. Latex gum is applied to the seal flap and to the back flap where the seal flap touches when closed. When the two latex gummed surfaces are pressed together, a bond is formed, holding the seal flap to the body of the envelope.
    • METAL CLASP: a winged metal device that is affixed to the back of the envelope just below the throat and behind the seal flap. It is bent open by the user, inserted through a reinforced hole in the seal flap, and bent back down to temporarily close the envelope.

    • PEEL & SEAL: This closure consists of a "super sticky" gum line applied to the seal flap that is covered by a strip of release paper. The extremely aggressive nature of this adhesive creates a very secure close.

    • REGULAR GUM (remoistenable): The most commonly used adhesive to seal an envelope - requires moisture. All envelopes have this type of adhesive unless otherwise noted.

    • REVEAL-N-SEAL ENVELOPE: An open side style with side seams and 2 small latex seal flaps, one in the standard position and the other folded down from the throat. As the name implies, the lower flap is flipped up to seal. Available as a 10 tint regular or 10 tint window. Commonly used in the medical professions.

    • STRING & BUTTON:  A string is affixed to the outside of the seal flap that the user winds around a disc that is affixed to the back of the envelope directly below the flap. Most commonly used on inter-office envelopes.

    • TAC-N-TAC: A resealable closure consisting of a clear vinyl tape affixed over a hole punched into the seal flap. Another piece of release tape is affixed to the back of the envelope below the throat and behind the flap. When the seal flap is closed, the tape exposed through the hole and the seal flap adheres itself to the release tape on the back of the envelope. This closure can be sealed and resealed many times. It is used as an alternative to the string and button closure on interoffice style envelopes.
  • COIN ENVELOPE: Small open end style, used for currency transfer and by some businesses to hold small parts. Very similar to the Bank Teller style, but with the side seam sealed and seal flap gummed.

  • COLLECTION / REMITTANCE ENV: An open side style with side seams and a large flap nearly the size of the envelope.

  • COMMERCIAL ENVELOPE: The most common and widely used style. Has an open side, available in diagonal seam or side seam in most sizes, plus as regular or window in #6¼, #6¾, #7, #7¾ , #8 5/8, #9, #10, #11, #12, and #14.

  • CONVERT: This is when the envelope is printed flat first, then converted into the size and shape needed. Sometimes used when bleeds are necessary, or when printing texture/dimensional ink.

  • CORNER CARD: The printed name, address, etc. that appears in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope.

  • DIAGONAL SEAM: The permanent seam used to construct the envelope running diagonally from the bottom fold and corner to the throat. Also has a diagonal seal flap that follows the shape of the throat. The only exception is a Wallet Flap.

  • DIE CUTTING: The process of cutting envelope blanks utilizing a high die.

  • DIMENSIONAL PRINTING: Printed on a digital printing press in four-color process and adds a clear ink over the image that raises the image. May also create a desired texture.

  • DOCUMENT ENVELOPE: Sometimes referred to as legal envelopes, these are large, open side, double side seam outside, hex flap envelopes produced from heavy manila or brown kraft stock with heavy seal gum, used for mailing and storage of documents requiring security and confidentiality.

  • DUAL PURPOSE: An open side style with side seams and a large flaps with spot seal and perforation.

  • FOIL LINED: The inside of the flap and throat are lined with a decorative foil. Used most often in greeting cards or wedding announcements.

  • FLUSH CUT: The seal flap is removed, leaving a straight opening at the top of the envelope.

  • INDICIA: The box or printing in the upper right-hand corner. Commonly found on business reply and return envelopes stating that the postage is prepaid by First Class, Standard or Non-profit permit number, or the sender must affix postage.

  • INSIDE TINT: A continuous printed image on the inside of an envelope to make it appear opaque or less transparent.

  • MONARCH ENVELOPE: Same size as #7 3/4 envelope but with a larger, sometimes pointed flap; used for formal personal correspondence.
  • OFFSET / LITHOGRAPHY PRINTING: Printed using 1, 2, 3 or 4 colors on one or two sides. Available in PMS colors or four-color process inks. Provides the highest quality reproduction image available with the tightest registration.

  • OPEN END: An envelope term describing an envelope with the seal flap on the shorter of the two dimenstions.

  • OPEN WINDOW: A term used when any envelope with a window does not have any type of clear window patch material affixed over the window opening from inside the envelope.

  • OPEN SIDE: An envelope term describing an envelope with the seal flap on the larger of the two dimensions.

  • POLY: Polyclear window patch material, the most common window patch material used.
  • PRESORT: Mail pieces grouped by zip code or other USPS recommended separation to bypass certain postal operations and save on postage costs.

  • QR CODE: Type of 2D bar code that is used to provide access to information located on the internet and is accessed using a bar code reader via smartphone camera.

  • REGULAR ENVELOPE: Any commercial envelope without a window.
  • SEAL FLAP: The extended portion of the envelope which is scored so it can be folded over the throat to seal the envelope.

  • SIDE SEAM: The permanent seam used to construct the envelope, running parallel to the side fold from the bottom fold and corner to the throat.

  • SQUARE FLAP: A rectangular style flap with square corners.

  • STANDARD SUBSTANCE WEIGHTS: Paper weights (in pounds) used in various types of envelopes.

  • THROAT: The opening into an envelope that is covered by the seal flap when the envelope is closed.
  • THUMB CUT: A cut on envelopes manufactured without flaps.

  • TYVEK: Spunbonded olefinproduct by Dupont that's lightweight yet offers protection and durability.

  • WALLET FLAP: A rectangular style seal flap with rounded corners.

  • WEB CUT: Any envelope manufactured by means of feeding a continuous roll of paper into an envelope machine which cuts the envelope blanks individually with inline rotary knives. The most common web-cut envelope style is of side seam construction.

  • WINDOW: A cut out opening of any size that allows viewing a portion of the inner contents. Certain styles of envelopes are stocked with a standard window (1 1/8" high x 4 1/2" wide and placed 7/8" from the left and 1/2" from the bottom). Covered by poly window film.