15 Graphic Design Terms Every Designer Should Know
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If you are embarking on a career in graphic design, or if you are looking for a career in printing or advertising which offers you the opportunity to regularly work with graphic designers, you should know the meaning of several graphic design jargons used most often in the field. It might be confusing and difficult to learn new lingo but it is going to benefit you in the long run.  It can also enhance your reputation in the market. Imagine you are new to the industry and you already know these terms will make you stand out in the industry. Asking a veteran designer to translate these terms would only shine a spotlight on your inexperience—and you definitely don’t want that.

In this blog, we have listed down some of the important graphic design terms you should understand, particularly if you plan to work in the field. To learn more about graphic design terms and principles, join Graphic Design courses from a reputed institute. While the following is not an exhaustive list of graphic design terms, it is a great place to start.

1. Bleed

It allows a graphic or some other element or a printer a small amount of space to extend beyond the actual margin of the page. The element touches the side of the page, leaving no margin or white space at the edge.


This color mode used by printers and its full form is cyan, magenta, yellow and key (CMYK) to create colors during the printing process, whether it’s a magazine, newspaper, flyer, brochure, annual report etc.

3. Color Theory

How colors make people feel and what would be their effect on a person. In graphic design, color theory is used to explore the best types of colors to work in different situations: i.e.: for a website that needs to feel soft and relaxing or a magazine ad that should pop out of the page and evoke energy in the reader.

4. DPI

It stands for dot per inch.It plays an important role at the time of creating work for printed output. It refers to the number of dots per inch on a printed page. Generally, the better quality the image will come out if there are more dots per inch. 300DPI is the standard for printing images.

5. Digital Painting

Digital printing describes the process of transferring a document on a personal computer or other digital storage device to a printing substrate by means of a device that accepts text and graphic output. Inkjet and laser printers are used for digital printing.

6. Focal Point

In graphic designing, the focal point is the point where you want to draw the reader’s or viewer’s eye. This may be large or it may be small. Sometimes graphic designers create a focal point by placing only one tiny object on a page, and in this case the focal point is obvious. Some other times the focal point may be within a variety of elements.

7. PPI

It stands for ‘pixels per inch’ which means the number of pixels per inch in your image. For example, if you make an image larger in Photoshop, you will increase the number of pixels per inch and you will lose quality.

8. Kerning

When the adjustment of the spacing between characters in a font is done to make a more artistically pleasing, then it is known as kerning. For example, if you want to increase the space between a ‘t’ and an ‘i’ to stop the arm of the ‘t’ merging with the ‘i’, making your type indecipherable. You’ll also want to make sure your kerning is correct when using a capital such as ‘T’ or ‘A’ is used in a headline. 

9. Tracking

It is done for uniformly increasing or decreasing the spacing between letters in a line or block of text. Once kerning has been used to determine the right spacing between each letter. It can be used to change the spacing equally between every letter at once.

10. Orphan and Windows

If you’re working with long or small passages of text you need to watch out for widows and orphans. In typesetting, widows are paragraph-ending lines that fall at the beginning of the following page or column. Orphans are paragraph lines that start at the bottom of a page or column. Both look unpleasant and should be padded out with more copy or fixed by the designer.

11. Grids

The best way to describe a grid in graphic design is a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines used to organize and structure content. Whether you’re working in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, setting up a grid enables you to get your composition right and balance your type and imagery.

12. Mockups

The original design or idea created and either displayed on the screen (for instance, if you are a graphic designer specializing in web design and you want to show your client your ideas before you begin to code you might create a mock-up in Photoshop and then show the client the mock-up as a .jpg or PDF) or in a printed format. They allow the client to see what the final product should look like.

13. Negative Space

It is an area on a page that is left without images and words is referred to as negative or white space. This negative or white space is very important in graphic design projects.

14. Raster Images

These images are created using thousands of pixels. Enlarging a raster image too much will diminish quality. Photographs are an example of a raster image. Photoshop is the most common raster editor, enabling you to manipulate the color and other properties of the pixels. 

15. Vector Images

They are those images which can be easily resized without loss of quality. They are made up of points, each of which has a defined X and Y coordinate. Adobe Illustrator is a vector editor. Logo is a perfect example for vector images.

Grasping aforesaid graphic design terms is a small yet important step in becoming a professional designer. Now that you know how to expand your graphic design vocabulary and knowledge, try to use them in day to day use. Formal training from best graphic design institute is quite important in excelling in any field. Without skilled and experienced graphic designers – designs can fall flat and not work the way it is meant to be.

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