About Glossary Icon



A-frame carton- A tapered self-standing carton with a tuck-in flap at the back of the box. Can be designed with or without a window/aperture (See styles page)

Angel Hair- Easily removable hair like cut slithers of packaging material which can remain on the final product.

Aperture- a section cut out of a box with the purpose of viewing the contents. Can be finished with or without a PVC window.

Artios- Artios CAD is the world’s most popular CAD software for packaging design with dedicated tools for structural design.


Belly Band- A strip of paper or board that wraps around a product or inner box. Similar to a sleeve.

Barrier film- Specially formulated film (see lamination) typically used to extend the shelf life or prevent contamination from moisture.

Biodegradable- The degradation of material from naturally occurring microorganisms over a defined period of time.

Board blank- A flat piece of board that has been cut and scored ready to make a box.

Bleed- Bleed is printing that goes beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. When you allow 3mm of bleed on your artwork it allows the image to run right to the edge of the page meaning no unsightly white edges.

Board Grain Direction- The orientation of the fibres in the structure of the board. The direction of the grain can be determined by checking the resistance of the board by bending it. The direction that gives the least resistance is the direction the grain is running.

Boxboard- A paperboard used in the manufacture of light non-corrugated containers.

BRC- The British Retail Consortium (BRC) who have developed a technical standard to assist retailers and food manufacturers in meeting their legal obligations for consumer safety.

Buffer Base- A base which has a reinforced glued wall around it to add strength. The structure gives a more premium look and finish.


CAD (Computer Aided Design)- The use of a computer system to assist in the design process

Caliper- the thickness of a sheet of board, this is measured in microns.

Cardboard- Generic term for any heavy pulp-based paperboard

Carton- A container or box made from paperboard that typically measures between 0.25 and 1 millimeter in thickness.

CMYK- Letters which stand for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (K). Most full colour printed images can be replicated from these component colours.

Coater- Part of a litho printing press which applies coatings to seal a printed board.

Corrugated Board- A material that contains one or more sheets of fluted paper between outer and inner liners. Usually used for packing boxes or constructions where strength is required.

Composite Sheet- Where multiple components or artworks are planned to print together on the same sheet. This saves money in regards to setups and printing plates.

Crashlock (glued)- A glued structure that enables the base of the carton to be locked together for ease of opening (see styles)

Creasing- A metal tool creates creases in the packaging material so that it can be folded without cracking.

Cushion Pad- A multilayer construction made from 5 layers of glassine. These food grade pads can be cut to any shape and provide protection in a box for chocolates or confectionary.

Cut and Crease- Using a die form cuts the packaging into the shape required and also creases at the same time to provide neat fold lines.

Cutter guide- A detailed line drawing showing the top view of the design and style of the carton or container flat before assembly. This guide is then used for setting artwork to.


Deboss- An image pressed into the board using a metal stamp so it is pushed in below the board (the opposite of embossing)

Digitally printed- A system of printing, which involves linking a printer and computer, it negates the requirement for printing plates.

Die-cut- A process that uses a metal die to cut through materials such as cardboard and plastic

Direct food contact- (DFC) The physical contact of food with the packaging it is housed within. The FSA and EU law regulates standards in regards to this area for consumer safety.

Dividers- A device which separates sections within a box for individual products. They provide cushioning as well as separation.

DPI- Dots per inch, a measurement of resolution of an image. We ask artwork is supplied as a min of 300dpi to achieve the best image resolution for printing

Draw-downs- When a specific colour match is required, a swatch of material is sent to an ink manufacturer for colour matching, and a special ink is produced. The result is a ‘draw down’, a printed ink swatch of the colour for approval.


Embossing- The process of raising letters or designs with a metal stamp up out of the surface of the board (opposite of debossing)

Estimate- A calculated statement of the costs associated with a project before it begins (see quote)


Foil blocking- See "hot stamping”

Foil die- A design is etched into a piece of metal called a foiling die. This is put onto a hot stamping press, that heats up. A roll of thin foil in your chosen colour goes between the die and your material to imprint the design.

Folder Gluer- A machine for pre-folding and then making the side joint by gluing to produce a flattened box.

Folding Boxboard- Single or multilayer paperboard made from primary and/or secondary fibres. Used primarily for packaging dry goods in cartons.

Four colour process- See CMYK

FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council)- The Forest Stewardship Council is a global organisation that is dedicated to promoting responsible forestry.


Graphic Design- A process of using visual elements (pictures and type) to create a design

Glassine- The most commonly used liner material for providing a protective barrier from the contents transferring to the box i.e. grease or moisture from biscuits or chocolate.

Gloss Lamination- See laminating

Grain- Machine manufactured board is made up of many fibres, which in general, tend to line up in one direction due to the nature of the process

Grease Resistant- Paperboard which has been treated or laminated to provide resistance to the penetration of greasy or oily substances.

Gsm- “Grammes per square metre”. This is a standard measure of board weight


Hickey- Spots or imperfections in printed items due to particles of ink or board fibre becoming “trapped” onto the printing plate or blanket.


Insert- An element which is not an integral part of a carton but is used in connection with the carton to perform a special function in separating, holding, or protecting the contents in position

Internal Dimensions- The dimensions of the inside of a box, measured by width, depth and height. We use internal dimensions to give you the largest usable space of your packaging.


J-peg- "Joint Photographic Experts Group." JPEG is a popular image file format but unless supplied as high res these are not the ideal format for supplying print artwork.


Kraft Board- Paper or board made from virgin pulp produced by the sulfate process. Natural kraft is unbleached and has a characteristic light brown color; bleached kraft has a higher brightness than natural kraft.


Lead Time- The time from the initial order or sign off of a project to the time it takes the customer to receive their packaging. We work on a 2-3 week lead time for most projects.

Laminating- A thin plastic film used on board to give protection from both the inks used and also prevent moisture and provide protection from grease or moisture. This can have a gloss, soft touch or matt finish depending on your project.


Make-ready- The work associated with the set-up of equipment before running a job.

Matt Lamination- see laminating

Micrometer- Instrument for measuring the thickness of a material. Board is measured in microns where 1,000 microns equal 1mm.

MM- Millimeter is a metric unit of measurement used at Meridian for measuring and discussing all our packaging or products.

MOQ- ‘minimum order quantity’. The minimum quantity of individual boxes a customer can place an order for. We work to a minimum of 100 units for most projects.


Offset Lithographic Printing- Offset Printing is the application of ink(s) to the substrate via a printing plate to a rubber blanket and then the substrate.

Origination- Origination is the cost for setting up your artwork for print- in litho printing, these are the plates used for an project.

Overs- The extra printed products delivered to a customer over and above the net amount ordered. We work to 10% +/- overs for bespoke products.


Pantone- International guide system of designating specific colours for printing. Specific colour ink is used in pantone printing rather than the colours being replicated out of CMYK. Pantone's are available for both coated, uncoated, metallic and fluorescent colours.

Perforation- A series of cuts made into board to allow a section to separated with relative ease but not without pulling.

Pillow pack- These pop into shape to resemble a miniature pillow, with interlocking tabs for protection of contents. Commonly used for Jewellery (see styles)

PMS- ‘Pantone Matching System’. (See Pantone)

Printing plate- An anodised aluminium plate which receives the ink in litho printing. Each colour in a printing job requires a separate plate.

Process colours- The colours which make up full colour printing. Cyan, magenta, yellow and black (see CMYK)

Proofing- A digital file of your artwork to be checked for errors in text, positioning or quality of colour reproduction before production occurs. A proof is sent for approval on all projects.

PVC- Polyvinyl chloride is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer. We use it for creating rigid clear packaging and viewing windows for cardboxes.


Quotation- see estimate


Recyclable- Packaging materials that can be processed for re-use rather than waste.

Resolution- Refers to the degree of detail of an image. It is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi) A high resolution gives a high-quality printed image- we require a min of 300dpi for artwork submission.

Reversed out- Type appearing white on a black or colour background which is either a solid or a tint.

RTE (Reverse tuck end)- Style of carton with the tuck in flaps on the opposite sides (see styles)

Rollercoat- A water-based coating which is applied to printed matter to seal and protect from ink smudging or finger marking. The main types we use will provide a gloss, silk or matt finish.

Rpet- Or recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET. PET is a strong, durable and recyclable material that is used to create packaging.


Skillet- A generic term for a carton board box with glued or tab locked ends (see style)

Sleeves- A cardboard wrap that slides over a product and provides brand and product information (see style)

Soft Touch Lamination- A film coating that achieves a very flat matte finish that is literally soft to touch. On dark colours soft touch can easily show scuffs and marks.

Solid Bleached Board- (SBB) A medium density virgin fibre grade of paperboard made purely from bleached chemical pulp.

Special colour- A colour which cannot be made up out of CMYK. They are normally a Pantone or can be a special ink mix to match an “original” colour sample (see drawdown)

Spot colour- Same as special colour.

Spot UV- Spot gloss UV is used to select elements of your design and highlight these using a glossy layer against a matt finish. Spot UV only sits on the parts you select for added effect.

Substrate- Substrate is a term used to describe the base material chosen for your packaging.


Tint- Percentage shade of a pantone or CMYK colour

Tooling- the specific consumables needed to create the job- i.e cutters, plates or foil dies. These are bespoke to your project and held in stock for repeat orders.


Unit Cost- The total expense incurred to manufacture and sell one unit of a product. Unit costs include all associated costs from materials, labour or fixed machine costs.

UV varnish- A service treatment that is cured using ultraviolet radiation. This finish is a high level gloss that dries instantly under UV lamps and is suitable for use on all board types


Vacuum Forming- The process of heating a plastic until it is soft, placing it over a mold, and then molding it to form by means of a vacuum.

Varnish- A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance. Can be either for looks or has a purpose as a protective barrier.

Vector file- A graphic which is comprised of paths and defined by start and end points. As a vector image is not made up of a number of dots they can be scaled and not lose any quality.

Virgin Fibers- Using virgin fibers (wood fibers) to produce graphic paperboard means using a natural raw material (not recycled) Virgin fibers are pure and their origins are known.


Window- A die cut opening in a carton blank which provides visibility of contents, usually covered with a transparent film. Sometimes referred to as an aperture.


Yield- The yield is a measure of how many cartons or components can be cut from one sheet of material. For example you might produce 4 x lids on one sheet, so the yield would be 4 per sheet.

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