Graphic Design Glossary


Baseline: An unseen line which is used in order to align type to proper alignment.
Bitmap: The cluster of individual pixels that make up a screen image
Bleed: Printing an illustration, design or text that extends to the edge of the page for reasons of paper trimming.
Border: A decorative design element which surrounds the content on a page.
Body Text: The dominant fragment of the document and design.

Cap Height: A typographic term which calculates the size of the lettering from the baseline to the peak of capital letters.
Column Gutter: A space which is set in between columns of large amounts of type.
CMYK: An abbreviation of four process colours used for printing: Cyam Magenta Yellow and Key (Black)
Crop Marks: Certain lines which are printed on documents to identify proper removal of the undesired portion of the printed design.

Diecutting: A finishing operation which involves cutting a specific pattern or shape into the finished printed product.
Dot Gain: Halftone dots which are printed larger on paper in order to reduce detail and lower contrast.
DPI (Dots Per Inch): A unit of measurement used in order to determine the resolution of the printed output.
Duotone: A halftone two colour design which is used for cheaper printing.

Facing pages: Two pages are printed on a double page spread when the document is viewed.
Flush Left: A paragraph style which all type are aligned on the left side of the column.
Flush Right: A paragraph style which all type are aligned on the right side of the column.
Font: A set of characters which make up a typeface all relative to the same style and size.

Gutter: A typographic term which refers to the space between columns of text.
Ghosting: Fading an image or design element into the background so it is not 100% visible onto the design.

Header: Any text which appears on the top of a section of body text which works as a title.
Hue: The attribute of a colour which is dependent on it’s intensity and lightness.

Justification: A typographic term which sets body text to line up to the left and right of the bounding box.

Kerning: A typographic term which reduces the section of letter spacing between certain characters.

Letter Spacing: A typographic term which refers to the space in between two letters or characters.
Logo: A visual design which communicates the identity of a company or product.
Logotype: A logo which is purely based upon typographic design to represent a company.
Low Resolution: A poorly printed image which has a low number of dots which pixelate the overall image.

Margin: A space between blocks of text used to increase readability of the page.
Mock Up: A production of a design which is used to show how the finished product will look.
Monochromatic: An image or design which only possesses a single colour.

Negative Space: A space in the design which is not occupied by any text, images or other elements.

Oblique: A typographic term which leans the text to the right. (also known as italics)
Orphan: A typographic term which refers to the last line of a paragraph which is less than a third of the initial width line of the paragraph.

Pantone (PMS: Pantone Matching System): A series of colour swatches used to specify and identify specific colours and ink combinations.
Portrait: A page format which views the design vertically.
Point Size: A unit of measurement which is used to determine the size of a typeface


Register Marks: A few shapes which are placed outside the design to ensure correct alignment of colours and images.
Resolution: The overall quality of the image visible to the human eye.
RGB: An abbreviation of a colour system standing for Red, Green and Blue which produces all other different types of colours.
River: A typographic term which refers to justified text where small or large gaps of spaces are seen within the block of text.

Sans-Serif: A typographic term which refers to a typeface which does not incorporate serifs.
Serif: A typographic term which refers to a typeface which has small slight projection finishing off a letter.
Subheading: A typographic term which refers to a secondary heading which is in a smaller point size to the heading.
Spread: A page layout for printing a publication

TIFF: An abbreviation for Tag Image File Format, TIFF files are used to transfer images between different computer programs and platforms.
Typeface: A collaboration of letters of the same style to create a type family.
Tracking: The adjustments of letter spacing within text in order to improve the appearance of the words.
Typography: The art of setting type in order to produce high quality design. Typography involves the process of proper placement of characters and specification of spacing in order to ensure maximum legibility and high aesthetic appeal.

Vector Graphic: A creating of a digital image which is re scalable to any size and will not pixelate or lose it’s resolution.

Watermark: A translucent design element such as the logo which is printed onto paper during manufacturing.
Widow: A typographic term which refers to the last line of a paragraph which is less than a third of the initial width line of the paragraph.

X-Height: A typographic term which refers to the height of the lowercase letter of “x”. The “x” represents the height of 90% of other letter forms of the same typeface.