The amount of specialist terms that get thrown around the design world is crazy, it's impossible to keep up with every single one, especially if you're new to the scene.

Here's a small list of the 36 most commonly used terms that you might not necessarily know, but will need to at some point. If you can think of any more terms that should be added to the list, let us know.

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1. Alignment

This dictates how images, texts, and shapes are arranged and positioned.

2. Bleed

The part of the page that gets trimmed off once the image is printed.

3. Camera-Ready

Means that a document is ready to be sent to the printers.


Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black). These are the colours most commonly used for printing.

5. Crop Marks

Guides used as each piece is cut to its final size.

6. Die Cut

Metal ruler that can cut shapes on different kind of materials.

7. DPI

Dots per inch, an acronym used to measure resolution.

8. Export

Allows you to open the file in programs other than the one you're designing in.

9. Font

Dictates the size and style of displayable text characters under a typeface.

10. GIF

Graphics Interchange Format. Used for images, it can either be static or animated.

11. Grids

Horizontal and vertical lines that intersect and allow a designer to structure content.

12. Gutter

The blank space between two pages facing each other.

13. JPEG

Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A common format for images.

14. Kerning

The spacing between characters to make the pairing of every two letters more balanced.

15. Layers

Divisions to separate tiers of information, shapes, and images from each other.

16. Leading

The vertical space that sets each line of type apart.

17. Logo Design

The process of creating a visual identity that represents a company, brand or individual.

18. Measure

Used to define the width of a text block. Helps optimize for readability.

19. Negative Space

The amount of space around the shapes and words used in a design piece.

20. Orphan

A group of words or a short line towards the end or at the beginning of a paragraph.

21. Pantone System

A colour matching system used in the printing industry, developed by Pantone.

22. PDF

Portable Document Format, a popular format used for printing and reading.

23. Pica

A unit of measurement used in typesetting. One pica is 1/16th of an inch.

24. Pixel

The smallest element on a single raster image. Thousands form an object.

25. PNG

Portable Network Graphics, great for web design. Supports transparency.

26. PPI

Pixels Per Inch, a measure of resolution. The more PPI, the more detailed the images.

27. Proof

A copy or preview of what your design will look like.

28. PSD

A format used for files that come directly from Adobe Photoshop.

29. Raster Files

They are made up of thousands of pixels that dictate each image's form and colour.

30. RGB

Red, green, and blue. A colour mode often used to display vibrant images on screen.

31. Sans Serif

Typeface style where letters don't have small lines (serifs) at the ends of each character.

32. Slug

A space added to a document to display data that wont be part of the final product.

33. Tracking

Like kerning, but applies an even amount of space between characters.

34. Typeface

The entire design set for a group of fonts. Also called a font family.

35. Typography

Allows the designer to arrange the type used on any composition.

36. Vector Images

The use of geometrical points or lines to create vector graphics.