The Design Dictionary: Lingo That's Helpful To Know

Upon speaking with a designer or looking at a design estimate, you may see and hear lingo and wonder what does some of the terms mean. A great designer should not only deliver excellent work, but give the clients knowledge about what is going on along the way. However, there are times when even the best of us may miss explaining a detail or two. So I thought it would helpful to provide some general terms to help anyone understand and speak design. Enjoy!

Bleed example

Logo Design

Page and Spread

Sans Serif

Illustration by Dionna Hayden

Bitmap - A type of graphic composed of pixels.

Bleed - The extended area of the artwork that is eventually cut or cropped to assure off edge printing.

CMYK - Full color printing also known as 4 color process using the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Die Cut - A die that cuts shapes or holes in printed materials.

EPS - Stands for Encapsulated PostScript. Ideal format for vector file creations.

Font - The size and style of the text used in artwork or design layout.

Illustration - Artwork that reflects or explains a message. An illustration can be a decoration, a drawing, a sketch, image or graphic.

JPEG - A general image file, Joint Photographic Electronic Group, that is used for viewing files on screen and on the web.

Logo - A simple marking, graphic or symbol that is the "face" of an organization. Logos should always be produced as a vector graphic for graceful application to a variety of medias and print processes.

Page - One side of a sheet of paper in a collection of sheets bound together, esp. as a book, magazine, or newspaper.

PDF - Portable Document Format. A file format that allows a document to appear the same on screen as it would if it was printed.

Pixel - A small digital unit that composes images on screen. (ex: A megapixel is one million pixels)

PMS [Colors] - A popular color matching system called Pantone Matching System that mixes spot colors (non RGB or CMYK process) with specific names and numbers that assures that the correct color is printed.

Resolution - The amount of dots or pixels that make an image. The more dots or pixels, the higher the resolution. For screen viewing 72ppi (pixels per inch) is acceptable, but for printing artwork, 300dpi (dots per inch) is best to prevent graininess.

RGB - A color mode made up of colors red, green and blue that's used for on screen and the web visuals.

Sans Serif - A font that does not have serifs (handles) on the typeface.

Set-up - The arrangement or layout of artwork for final production and finished product.

Spread - Two facing sides of a sheet of paper in a collection of sheets bound together, esp. as a book, magazine, or newspaper.

Stock Image - A photograph or image licensed for specific uses in creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer or talent to produce it.

Typeface - A font family.

Vector - A scalable graphic, generated by mathematical equations (not pixels) to ensure resizable artwork that never loses quality or clarity.