Paper Cup Printing Glossary

Here’s your ABC index of custom paper coffee cup printing terms and jargon!

Bleed: In printing, bleed refers to the part of the image that extends beyond the finished size of the cup. This ensures that there’s no white border around the design when the cup is cut.

CMYK: Stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). These are the four primary colors used in process printing to create a wide range of other colors. Pantone colors (explained below) are often used for logos and specific brand colors.

Compostable: This means the cup can break down naturally into harmless materials by microorganisms.

Coupon: A discount voucher that clients can offer to their customers, printed on the cup sleeve or bottom.

Cutout: A shape or design removed from the cup body or sleeve, often for aesthetic or functional purposes like holding a stirrer.

Die cut: A specific type of cutout made with a custom-shaped mold for precise and consistent results.

Double Wall: Cups with two layers of paperboard for better insulation, keeping drinks hotter or colder for longer.

Emboss: A raised design created by pressing the paper from behind, adding texture and dimension to the cup.

Frugalpac: A specific brand of compostable cups made from plant-based materials.

Gloss: A shiny finish applied to the cup for a sleek and polished look.

Grid: A set of evenly spaced lines used for layout and design, ensuring elements are aligned and balanced.

Matt: A non-shiny finish for a more natural and subtle look.

MOQ: Minimum Order Quantity, the smallest number of cups a manufacturer will produce for a single order.

Pantone: A color matching system with a unique identifier for each color, ensuring consistent color reproduction across different printing processes.

Point size: A unit of measurement used for font size, with 1 point equal to 1/72 inch.

Pt. / Paper Stock ‘Point thickness’: This refers to the thickness of the paperboard used to make the cups, measured in points (thousandths of an inch). Higher point thickness indicates sturdiness and insulation.

Proof: A physical or digital sample of the cup design for clients to review and approve before mass production.

Raster: Images made up of pixels, suitable for photographs and complex designs. Vector graphics (explained below) are better for logos and simple shapes.

reCup: A specific brand of reusable coffee cups.

Recyclable: Can be collected and reprocessed into new materials, reducing waste. Look for recycling symbols on the cup.

RGB: Stands for Red, Green, Blue. These are the primary colors used for displaying images on screens. CMYK (explained above) is used for physical printing.

Single Wall: Cups with a single layer of paperboard, suitable for cold drinks or short use.

Spot colour: A single, specific color printed directly onto the cup, often used for logos or branding.

Stock board: Pre-made paperboard sheets of various thicknesses and finishes, used to manufacture the cups.

Vector: Images made up of lines and curves, infinitely scalable without losing quality. Ideal for logos, text, and simple shapes.

Vegware: A specific brand of compostable foodservice products, including cups.

Warping: Undesirable bending or distortion of the cup due to moisture or heat.

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