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Glossary of Envelope Terms

Envelopes are magic. An envelope appears basic, simple. We use the back of them
to jot down our grocery list; complex and sophisticated manufacturing and printing processes
have been developed to ensure the integrity of each envelope satisfies its intended function.
And the function of most envelopes is to generate a response.

We invite you to utilize the useful industry terms below as a resource
or Contact Us to assist you with your upcoming projects.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
A
Adjustable Die
Adjustable precision tool used to cut out envelope blanks with a true square flap and side seams (all corners are pointed).
B
Bar Code
Used by the Postal Service to speed mail processing. Generated by the post offices as mail passes through OCR scanners or pre-printed by the manufacturer. If not pre-printed, space must be available at the bottom right of the envelope for the bar code.
Baronial
Type of envelope recognized by large pointed or wallet seal flap. Often almost square in dimension. Used most often for social correspondence, including announcements, greeting cards, and invitations.
Blank
A die-cut sheet of paper before it is turned into an envelope.
Bleed
In printing, an image that extends off the edge of the page or envelope.
Booklet
1) a large, open side envelope for catalogs, annual reports, and brochures. 2) Also refers to commercial open side envelopes with two side seams.
BRE
Business Reply Envelope.
BRM
Business Reply Mail.
C
Caliper
Thickness of a sheet of paper, measured in 1/100th inch (points or mils).
Camera-Ready
Copy or art which is ready for photography in the platemaking process.
Catalog
General term for any large open end center seam envelope.
Center Seam
Envelope style where the sides are folded and glued over each other, forming a seam which runs down the center of the envelope.
Clasp
Metal fastener sometimes used with remoistenable gum on booklet and catalog envleopes, allowing for repeated opening and closing of the envelope.
Commercial
General term for the most common style of business envelope. Open side with or without windows.
Convert
The process of cutting, folding, and gluing paper into envelopes.
Corner Card
Return address and other identification of the sender in the upper left hand corner of an envelope.
D
Die
Precision tool used to cut out envelope blanks, windows, and other shapes.
Die Cut Layout
Outline of how a specific die will cut.
Double Inside Side Seam (DISS)
Type of seam configuration on open side envelopes where seams tuck beneath the back panel.
Double Outside Side Seam (DOSS)
Type of seam configuration on open side envelopes where seams are glued on top of the back panel.
Dummy
Hand folded mock-up to exact specifications prior to production; proof.
E
Envelope Layout
Accurate combination of printing and die-cut layouts.
Expansion Envelope
Envelope with a gusset of box bottom and sides, allowing it to expand.
F
Face
The side or panel of the envelope without seams.
FIM
Facing Identification Markings, pre-printed bars on the face of the envelope, as specified by the Postal Service to expedite the automated processing of Business Reply Mail.
Flaps Extended
Term used to describe the packaging of envelopes with self seal flaps in a vertical unfolded position.
G
Glassine
A smooth, dense semi-transparent paper. Sometimes used as a window patch material, but losing popularity compared to the new polystyrene materials which are more transparent and less sensitive to moisture.
Grain
Direction in which most of the fibers lie in a finished sheet of paper. Paper folds more easily with the grain. It offers greater resistance to being torn across the grain, and demonstrates greater tensile strength in the direction of the grain.
I
Inside Tint
Printed design on the inside of the envelope, used for added opacity and/or for graphic interest. Also called security tint.
J-K
Jet
See Offest Printing.
Kraft
Paper grade made from unbleached, bleached, or colored wood pulp by the sulfate process. Kraft papers have a coarses finish than woves and are noted for their strength. Most commonly used in the manufacture of catalog and booklet envelopes.
L
Latex
Made from a rubber-based material for self-seal envelopes. Latex is applied to the seal flap and back of the envelope, and sticks only to itself.
Litho
See Offset Printing.
O
Offset Printing
A printing process in which the inked impression is first made on a rubber-covered roller, then transferred to paper.
Open End
Style of envelope in which the opening is on the shorter side.
Open Side
Style of envelope in which the opening is on the longer side.
P
Patch
Apply cellophane to hole for window of an envelope.
Peel and Seel
Type of pressure sensitive adhesive applied to the flap and covered with a protective strip until the envelope is ready to be sealed.
Printing Layout
Areas where flat sheet printing is allowed. Should always be given with the correct die-cutting layout.
Punch
To cut a hole for a window.
R
Registration
The relation of two or more colors of ink on a printed piece.
S
Screen
Less than 100% ink coverage, variations available.
Seam Gum
Adhesive that can not be remoistened. Used as a permanent seal for envelope seams.
Sheeting
Cutting paper off of rolls into sheets.
Solid
Continuous ink coverage over a moderate to large area.
Split Seal Gum (Remoistenable)
Gum pattern on the seal flap when envelopes are to be used on automatic inserting equipment. Gum is broken where flap covers envelope seams; prevents flap from sticking to the back panel during storage in humid conditions.
String and Button
Mechanical closure with a string attached to the flap and a button on the body of the envelope.
T
Thumb Cut
Found on envelopes manufactured without flaps, such as filing and film storage. Can be cut on one side or couble thumb cut, for easier extraction of contents.
W
Window
Cut-out in the body of the envelope positioned to show mailing address, return address, and/or special message. Eliminates the duplication of effort and the potential for error in addressing envelopes. Customized windows can be punched. Usually covered with a transparent window patch material. Can be left open with no patch, except in Canada.
Wove
Paper having a uniform surface and no discernable marks. Soft, smooth finish. Most widely used envelope paper. Relatively low opacity, brightness, and bulk. Available in white and colors.