Like many other profession, graphic design is literally scattered with jargon and many insider terms you might not have heard of. This will not only prove to be a difficulty for newcomers, especially clients who haven’t have any sort of experience in the design industry, but expressing their meaning accurately would be quite a challenge as well.

Therefore, here at atoz2u, we have collected 12 jargon that we always hear from graphic designers without any idea what those meant. We have also provided brief explanations on each terms to help you get started as well and most importantly, to understand what it actually means.

1. Animation

10 Jargon We Always Hear From Our Graphic Designers Animation
Source: kakashi-fire

An animation is basically a web design technique that adds motion to on-screen motionless elements in attempt to attract viewer’s attention. This web design is more powerful than transitions because of its capability to go through various different states from start to end points, allowing it for more complicated effects.

2. Breadcrumb

Breadcrumb is a term used to describe users’ current location on a site. It contains the path that shows the current page which can be reached from the home page – normally in the format like this Home/Technology/Printer. The elements on the path is also clickable to enable users quick navigation across the site hierarchy.

3. Clutter

Clutter is essentially a term used to define a poorly designed page/site. A page is described as a cluttered page when it is stuffed and littered with too much information on a single page without adequate white space and a proper structured content. A clutter page will result in a low readability reading, and produce an unpleasant user experience.

4. Contrast

Contrast is a design technique used to pinpoint the differences between distinctive role or meaning in elements. The most effective way or streamline way to express contrast is through complementary colors. This can also be done with the shape, typography, style or layout of page elements we prefer to create visual differences. This doesn’t only applies to printed material but to any graphic designs as well, with stationery and more like the Sharpie or the ever popular Stabilo Fineliner 88.

5. Fixed Layout

When a site and its elements uses the same width across all resolutions, which is defined in static values, more commonly known as pixels, it is interpreted as a fixed layout. A fixed layout is a traditional way way to build websites and it has since fallen out of favor in newer websites as sites that leverage on fixed layouts are close to impossible to be read on mobile screens. In order to be a mobile friendly site (pretty much a must or a norm), most fixed layout sites use a secondary mobile site.

6. Color Scheme

Just like how some company’s logo or advertisement, they are filled with a collection of harmonizing colors in order to create brand awareness. On normal sites, the same color scheme is usually used consistently on the company’s website, logo, mobile app and marketing elements. Depending on the preferences of someone, the color scheme can be in monochromatic, complementary, analogous, triadic and more.

7. Responsive Design

Responsive design is a term used to describe websites with designs that are able to adjust its dimensions on different devices with diverse layouts and other styles (this is seen normally on design conscious sites). Various techniques are clumped together to serve every user with clear and readable content such as media queries, relative units and flexible grids.

8. White Space

10 Jargon We Always Hear From Our Graphic Designers WhiteSpace
Source: classicink

White space means the blank space between parallel design elements. Or known as negative space to some. This blank space aids designers to glance the content, and visually identifies what needs to be done first. Even though it is described as white space, it isn’t necessarily white but instead leverages on the background color of the site. As mentioned as above, the lesser white space there is, the more cluttered the page is.


10 Jargon We Always Hear From Our Graphic Designers CMYK VS RGB
Source: rackcdn

In printing terms, CMYK is generally the standard color mode for sending documents such as magazines, newspapers, flyers and more. It stands for the colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (or black – this is because in four-color printing, the black/key plate is used to align the cyan, magenta and yellow printing plates). When you send a job to your clients, cyan, magenta, yellow and black plates are made and regulated to print on paper.

If you are working with Photoshop or Illustrator, you’ll have the option to set your color mode to either CMYK or RGB (stands for red, green, blue – for screen output) or other available color modes. What’s more is that because CMYK has color gamuts more limited than RGB, you will experience a color lost when converting from RGB to CMYK.

10. DPI & PPI

10 Jargon We Always Hear From Our Graphic Designers DPIPPI
Source: thetechjournal

While you might have heard of resolution of your TVs or monitors, the term resolution is often misunderstood in printing. There are two main acronyms used in dealing with resolution, DPI and PPI.

For printed output, you will only have to be concern about DPI which stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’ and specifies the number of dots per inch on a printed page. Essentially, if there are more dots per inch in your page, the better the quality of the image will be – the standard DPI for printing images is at 300DPI. Therefore, the higher DPI a printer prints, the better your output will look. Take a look at these Brother and Epson printers which are known to produce some of the highest DPI.

‘Pixels Per Inch’ in short, PPI refers to the number of pixels per inch in your image. For instance, you are resizing an image in Photoshop to make it larger, you will increase the number of pixels per inch and quality drop is inevitable.

Read Also: Best Printers For Graphic Designs

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