Tue 25 Jun 2019

Packaging glossary: understanding the terminology when designing your own packaging

Our packaging works… because we’re packaging dorks! Learn some lingo that might come in handy when designing your own branded box online.

Here is a selection of packaging terminology that you may want to learn (or, if you don’t, just drop us a line and we’ll create your custom box for you!):

Backing Liner: A compressible paper material, usually made of pulp or news board, that ensures a smooth, strong finish on the surface of the box.

Bleached Pulp: Pulp which has been treated with an oxidising treatment, usually hydrogen peroxide solution, which whitens the material.

Board: A sheet thicker and heavier than cardboard, often made of different variations of cardboard, fibreboard, pulp and containerboard.

Board Grade: A measurement of the weight/type of the outer liner, the type of flute and the weight/type of the inner liner. Solid board uses a caliper (thickness) range from 500microns (i.e. 0.5mm) to 200microns (i.e.2mm)

Box net: the CAD design (see below) that you’ll receive for sign-off before placing your order. You can also request a sample of your box in advance of placing the full order – the cost of which will be deducted from your total order price.

CAD: Computer-aided design – Interactive, engineered drawings that make up the box design.

A CAD box net

Closure: the design of how the box opens and closes, including clamshell closures, magnetic closures, tuck-end boxes, etc.

Debossing: When lettering or design is “sunk” into the board – the opposite process to embossing.

Die Cutting: Where the cuts and scores of a specific product are ‘stamped’ onto a material to create bespoke packaging inserts.

Dividers: The inserts that separate products or sections of a package for safety, cushioning and presentation. These can be interlocking, plain or scored.

Die cut inserts in a custom branded box

Die cut inserts in a custom branded box

Emboss: When the lettering or design is raised up from the packaging – opposite of debossing.

Flat Pack: Packaging that folds flat when shipped for easier, cheaper transport and better storage.

Foil: Printing images or text that has a glossy appearance.

packaging for gin

A tuck-top, push-locked based carton style box, litho printed in full colour with matt lamination and gold foiling on a 500um folding box board.

Folding Carton: Like a cereal box – it is printed, folded laminated and glued before transport so the retailer can fill and close it upon delivery.

GSM: Grams per square meter.

Kraft: Natural, unbleached wood fibres made into brown board or paperboard.

Laminate: The finishing covering, usually a film, that adds either gloss or matte to the packaging.

Lead Time: The time it takes from order to you receiving your beautiful new packages! This is usually about two weeks when you order with Packaging Works.

Litho Laminated Print: A printing process wherein the image or pattern is printed on the board or other packaging material before the die cut process; high quality printing.

unboxing packaging tips

Bespoke, rigid, paper over board presentation box, branded with full colour litho printing inside and outside with a matt laminated finish.

Matte Finish: When the packaging surface is flat or doesn’t display any shine or gloss.

MOQ: Minimum order quantity – small businesses can benefit from our MOQ, which is a minimum of just 30 boxes per order!

Pillow Pack: Packaging that ‘pops’ into shape using interlocking tabs.

Run: The number of items produced in one round of manufacturing.

Sleeve: Paperboard that is slid around the box, much like a sleeve, which adds extra information, detail or decoration.

Tubes: Round paperboard packaging with end caps – we like when these are filled with Prosecco.

Um: Um… the measurement of the thickness of paperboard – micron (μm)

Void Fill: Material added inside the box to act as padding, like tissue paper, crinkle cut shredded paper or a foam filler.


Do you have any other questions about custom packaging or are you interested in ordering your own, now that you’re a packaging expert? Drop us a line or try it out using our fun box designer tool!

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