What is a Die?
Label printing terms explained.
In the label printing process, a die is a thin, super sharp steel blade that cuts a specific shape or pattern. It’s like a big cookie-cutter that cuts precise lines through substrates (stock materials) to create your label’s shape in efficient uniform cuts.
Dies are incredibly precise and have to be set by our technicians to cut through your substrate without cutting off your backing. Their width and length decide the width and height of your artwork— so only specific dies can be used for each project.
Die-cutting is as versatile as your imagination. If you can think it, we can create it. But note: custom dies may be required depending on your request. While specific jobs (like craft beer labels) can share dies since there are standard label sizes, other tasks, like triangle or oval-shaped cosmetic labels, or wine labels, may need custom dies. (More on our custom dies here.) These cost more and take more time to set up since we need to order them in advance.
A die can form the entire perimeter of a piece, or shape a corner, or even cut shapes from the center of a label. They’re also used to create perforated cuts that don’t go all the way through materials, like a coupon rip line, or for layered cuts like peel-back labels.
In short, you can think of your label like delicious sugar cookie and the die as the cookie cutter. We, like you, just want the end product to end up super sweet. (You know, maybe we shouldn’t have written this while hungry!)