Designers have their own language, so sometimes you feel like you learn a new language. CMYK, RGB, Typography, X-height, Palette – there are a lot of technical terms thrown around and it can get confusing at the best of times. Sometimes we don’t really know their exact definitions; we simply use them out of familiarity. For these reasons our team comes to help with 20 most used graphic terms and design for design newbies and experienced artists alike.

Hierarchy

The visual arrangement of design elements in a way that signifies importance. For example, you might make a title big and bold to ensure it attracts more attention than a small, lightly colored image caption.

Leading

Refers to the amount of added vertical spacing between lines of text. Overly tight leading can cause tension and overlap, making the content unreadable, and too-loose leading can equally make the type appear disjointed, so we usually try to find a nice balance between the two.

 

X-Height

This is the height of the lowercase letters that do not have ascenders or decenders, such as a, c, e and mm. X-height gets its name as this value is usually exemplified by looking at the height of the letter x in any given typeface.

Alignment

The adjustment of arrangement or position in lines of a text or an image — left, right, centered, etc.  For example, these paragraphs of text are aligned to the center and  the image below are aligned to the left.

Color Palette

A set of colors that make up the total range of colors used in graphic computers.

CMYK

Stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key is a color model that is used for print purposes. CMYK is a subtractive color, this means that we begin with white and end up with black. So, as we add more color, the result turns darker.

RGB

Red, Green, Blue is a color model that is used for on-screen purposes. RGB is a additive color, meaning that when mixing colors, we start with black and end up with white as more color is added.

Gradient

A function in graphic software that permits the user to fill an object or image with a smooth transition of colors. Two common types of gradients are the linear gradient where each color sits on opposite sides of the frame, and a radial gradient where one color sits in the middle, and another at the edge.

Opacity

The degree of a color or tonal value. The opacity of an image or object that can range from transparent (0% opacity) to opaque (100% opacity). The ability to edit the opacity of specific objects allows the designer to create images that seem to flow into and through one another.

Resolution

The resolution of an image is an important factor in deciding the attainable output quality. The higher the resolution of an image, the less pixelated it will be and the curves of the image will appear smoother. Lower resolution images or graphic tend to appear blurry, pixelated or muddy.

Saturation

How bright or intense a color is. For example, a low-saturation color may appear paler, and faded, whereas a more heavily saturated color may appear more vibrant and colorful.

Typography

The artistic arrangement of type in a readable and visually appealing way. Typography usually concerns the design and use of various typefaces in a way that helps to better visually communicate ideas.

Margins

The space around the edge of a page. By increasing or decreasing the size of your page’s margins you can create a more calming or a more tense design respectively.

Letterpressing

The process of using metal plates to press a design into the surface of paper to create dimensional indentations.

Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum or ‘dummy copy’, is a generic filler text used when the real text is not available. It’s used as placeholder text to demonstrate how a design will look once the real body copy has been included.