Basic Designer Dictionary

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

You may listen to your graphic designer nodding your head oblivious to what they are talking about when they talk 'shop'. Here are 15 terms and descriptions that may help you in future conversations.


A serif is the little stroke or curve at the ends of letters.


Sans means “without”, and a sans serif font does not include the extra stroke at the ends of the letters.


Script typefaces are fonts or type based upon historical or modern handwriting styles.


The Hierarchy of a design is the navigation throughout the piece and the sequence in which your eye follows the content.


Kerning refers to the space between two specific letters (or other characters: numbers, punctuation, etc.) and the process of adjusting that space improves legibility.


Leading refers to the spacing between the lines. Leading is used when content that has multiple lines of readable text and ensures the distance from the bottom of the words above to the top of the words below has appropriate spacing to make them legible.


RGB is a colour model in which Red, Green, and Blue are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colours. RGB tends to be used for on-screen purposes.


CMYK is a colour model that is used in the print process.

CMYK colours are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Key)


A gradient is a gradual change from one colour to another or a colour fading into transparency. There are two common types of gradients: linear and radial.


Opacity is the making of an object transparent. The lower the opacity, the more transparent an element is. For example, 100% opacity means an object is solid.


The resolution of an image determines the quality. The higher the resolution, the higher the quality. A high-resolution image will be clear and crisp whereas a low-resolution image will feel a little pixelated and blurry.


A graphic element can appear larger or smaller depending on the size, placement, and colour of the elements around it.


A pixel is a minuscule area of a screen. Pixels are the smallest basic unit of programmable colour on a computer and images are made up of many individual pixels.


Raster images are made up of a set grid of pixels. This means when you change the size of stretch a raster image it can get a little blurry and lose some clarity.


Vector images are non destructive images that can scale in size without losing any quality. Unlike rasters, vectors won’t get blurry when scaled.

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Based in Tameside, Manchester we cover all aspects of print and social media design.

Visit our website at Gareth Wright Design and social media platforms.

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