What is a Label Die?

Label Dies

If you’re new to the label game, you may not know what certain things are right off the bat. One of these things might be the term die or die cutting. What exactly is that? We’ve discussed the general points of dies and die cutting in this article to help you out.

In label printing, a die is a tool used to cut the label shape out of the paper or film it is being printed on. It is essentially a stencil or cookie cutter. Each individual label is cut by a die as the label moves through a printing press. The die will cut through the face stock and adhesive part of the label to form the proper shape and it will leave the liner, which is the back of the label, intact.

Some other keywords you’ll typically hear in conversation with a label printer alongside of it are the die line or matrix. The matrix is the excess material that is leftover after the die is cut. The die line is the outline that specifies where the die will be cut.

Do You Need a Custom Die?

You don’t necessarily need a custom die for your label, it really depends on the shape you want. At Hub Labels, we have an extensive library of dies already ready for use. If you need a die that is a square, rectangle, circle, or any other commonly applicated label shape, we will already have a die capable of producing what you need.

However, if you have label shape in mind that is unique to your product or packaging then a custom die will need to be created in order to create the label itself. You can create a die shape by turning a shape in to a line by using the average command in Adobe Illustrator. It is easier than it sounds!

  1. Select the “Direction Selection” tool or the “Lasso” tool and select all curved points in your shape. Press the “Convert selected anchor point to corner” icon in the control panel to remove all curved points.
  2. Select the “Selection” tool and select the shape that you are converting to a line.
  3. Select “Object” then “Path” and then select “Average”.
  4. Select “Horizontal” to create a horizontal line or “Vertical” for a vertical line.
  5. Take your new die shaped line and overlay it over your artwork in a separate layer.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that there aren’t any angles that are too sharp or acute in your die as those may tear when the matrix is stripped. You’ll also want to make sure that your die line is illustrator is a joined line and has a designated spot color.

If you need help with any of this, Hub Labels can help you take care of it. Contact us today for any custom label printing needs or questions.