Direct Mail

Guide to Print and Direct Mail Terminology Definitions

Every industry has its own terminology definitions. How well do you know the vocabulary when it comes to printing direct mail campaigns? We built this handy guide so you can test your knowledge and have a reference when you’re creating your campaigns. We’ve included the definitions of marketing terms used specifically in print and direct mail advertising.

Definitions of Marketing Terms for Print and Direct Mail (in alphabetical order):

AmazingMail by Xpressdocs Automated Direct Mail terminology definitionsAutomated Direct Mail (ADM) – A printing and mailing service that allows you to automatically create, schedule, and send personalized mail pieces to your customers.

Automated Property/Prospect Marketing (APM) – A solution that instantly generates direct mail pieces for target prospects and automatically creates new campaigns and a corresponding mailing list when any changes or additions are made to the data.

what is Burnishing direct mail terminology and definitions

BurnishingThe burnishing process is a second step for engraved pieces printed with metallic inks. This method smooths the metallic flakes, resulting in a more polished piece.

Bleed – The area that goes beyond the edge of the printing area on a sheet of paper. In other words, the bleed is the border area to be trimmed off of a printed piece of paper.

CMYK – Short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-BlacK: A color model used for printing in which all colors are described as a mixture of these four process colors. Also known as four-color process or 4CP. Check out our guide to CMYK vs RGB for more information.

what is Debossing direct mail terminology and definitions

Debossing – The debossing process, also called tool, involves pressing an image into paper so it lies below the surface.

Demographic Mailing List – A targeted mailing list that is created based on a certain customer characteristic, or demographic, such as age, income level, or gender.

Die – Metal plate cut for impressing a design or image on paper and other substrates.

Diecutting – a process for printing where a die (metal plate) is crafted to create a desired shape or specifications for a unique printed item.

EDDM Elite – (Every Door Direct Mail®) A mailing service with upgrades that allow users to reach prospect markets and target competitor markets by designing postcards and targeting specific areas by zip code.

what is Embossing direct mail terminology and definitions

Embossing – The embossing process, also called cameo and tool, presses an image into paper so it lies above the surface of the page.

Engraving – The engraving process uses a plate where the image is etched into its surface, causing the ink to raise and create a slightly textured element on the piece.

what is Foil Stamping direct mail terminology and definitions
Foil Stamping

Foil Stamping – The foil stamping process adheres foil with a heated die, so you are able to subtly or boldly highlight details of your piece with unmissable sheen and shine.

High Gloss UV Coating– This traditional high-gloss coating provides the ultimate protection for print materials along with a slick, glossy appearance. A High Gloss UV coating can maximize color contrasts and make vibrant colors pop. This option is more durable and optimal for direct mail postcards and brochures where you want your images to stand out.

Matte Coating – Matte coating achieves a smooth, satin finish. This coating can enhance visual designs with a more subdued layout and color set, such as a black and white image. This option will boost the color contrasts of your photos without a glare. This coating provides for easier reading since it doesn’t have the same shine as a glossy coating. This option is perfect for brochures, trifolds or marketing pieces that are text heavy with minimal photos.

Pantone Matching System – The standard color-matching system used by printers and graphic designers.

what is uv coating direct mail terminology and definitions
Postal Protect UV Coating

Postal Protect® – Postal Protect is an extra-durable coating that can be applied to postcards to shield them from errant marks, wear, and tear. Just like our other coating options, Postal Protect comes in Gloss or Soft Touch finishes so clients don’t have to sacrifice the look and feel of their postcards.

Print plus Video what is video in print direct mail terminology and definitions
          Print + Video

Print + Video – Video in Print technology that combines a customized print product (book, brochure, folder) with an embedded LCD screen that plays video messages.

Promotional Code – A promotional sale or discount that Xpressdocs offers to customers to use upon checkout. Usually given as a one-time use for a specified date range. Qualifiers can be added such as a certain percentage off, a certain dollar amount, or minimum purchase requirement.

Radius Mailing List – A targeted address list that is pulled in a radius around the provided center point.

custom printed products direct mail marketing terminology and definitionsRGB – a color model used for digital screens that consists of Red, Green, and Blue light that is added together to form different colors. You should use RGB to design anything that will live on the web, such as a logo, webpage, or content for social media, but make sure print files are in CMYK mode.

Soft Touch – Soft Touch coating adds texture to print pieces while exuding sophistication and luxury. This coating has a velvety feel and matte finish that is fingerprint resistant. Darker color palettes will appear more muted and photographs have an added artistic quality when this finishing option is used. Soft Touch is perfect for high quality marketing pieces that are sent to a more exclusive audience, and it is a unique option for a deluxe business card that will help you stand out from your competitors.

Street Mailing List – A targeted mailing list created by pinpointing residences on a particular street.

what is Thermography direct mail terminology and definitions

Thermography – The thermography process involves coating wet ink with a resin powder that is then baked at high heat to produce a raised and textured element on your piece. It produces a similar result to engraving without the use of a metal plate.

Uncoated – For the minimalists, there’s also an Uncoated option. This means your print material will have no additional coating, so it won’t have a glare, and it’s more porous. The uncoated option is best used for newsletters that are text heavy and require a lot of reading, or for stationery since it allows for easier writing.

Upload Your Own – A type of template allowing the user to upload custom artwork, in PDF format, to build out specs that will print on demand.

Watermark – A translucent design impressed on paper during manufacture and visible when the paper is held to the light.

customizable logo products marketing terminology and definitionsXD+ – An exclusive subscription service through Xpressdocs providing free ground shipping, free targeted mailing lists, discounts on Postal Protect, and more.

There’s a lot of terminology in the printing and direct mail world, but with over 20 years in the business, Xpressdocs has the expertise to help you with any part of the process. If you need support or have a question, just contact us at or 1 (866) 977-3627.


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