home  /   blog

Students – Do you know your graphic design terms?

Graphic design terms are familiar to designers and people who work in marketing but how well do you know them?


Have you heard of kerning? Do you know what a descender is? Do you know what optically adjust means?

Here we discuss some of the most common ones.

Terms are quite familiar to graphic designers but are perhaps rarely discussed by students. You could easily be asked to adjust the kerning of a word, its baseline shift, or to optically adjust the positioning of a word and image. These small things can make a huge difference to a trained eye and provide the finishing touches to a design. The use of white space is very important to the overall balance of a design or layout. How everything on a page ‘works’ is the key to good design. This is a term you will hear a lot. When a graphic designer positions their elements on a page and they look right and fit well in their relevant space they are aid to ‘work’. This is when you know you have achieved a great graphic design piece.

Starting with an initial rough is how most designers begin looking at concepts and creativity. They will look at ideas and try to approach them from different angles of thought. Thinking outside the box as it were. They will try to work laterally with their thoughts until they reach something that works better than the other ideas and is a new way of treating a familiar problem. This is the beginning of their creative visual process. It is a journey of ideas meeting tangible visual experience. It is where ideas are challenged, broken, adapted, reworked, amended, bent and finally developed into a strategic solution.

Once a concept is created a graphic designer will look to push it as far as they can. can it be developed further? Can the idea be reworked for use across a range of media?

The final concept is then developed into a design. The concept may be a rough scamp, a sketch on paper, it may be nothing more than an outline draft of an idea. But if it has legs it will work.

The use of images and type to create a beautiful piece of graphic design is what graphic designers live for. But they want an idea. They want a strategy so the design has purpose. What does it need to do for the viewer? A copywriter may provide some specific wording for the design. Key messages are vital for getting a message across to a target market. There may be a specific call to action from a marketing team. Are you using more than one font or typefaces? Are you looking at serif and sans serif typestyles? Do you want bold and modern or scrolled and sophisticated?

Have you decided on colour – Pantone spot colour or CMYK. Is your work going to be used online? If it is you will use RGB.

Once you have your finished design piece you may need to prepare it for print. This will entail adding bleed to the artwork and making sure it is in high resolution – no web images on artwork for print – they will look bitmapped and fuzzy.

Your images can be saved as jpg, eps, tif and psd files. As long as they are 300 dots per inch they will be fine.

So as you can see there are many graphic design terms out there and all being used daily in graphic design studios and agencies the world over.

How many are you familiar with?

  • Call 0191 226 7321
  • Suite 6, John Buddle Work Village, Newcastle upon Tyne  NE4 8AW
  • Durham Workspace, Abbey Road Business Park, Pity Me, Durham  DH1 5JZ
  • Terms & Privacy  |  Site Map  |  Resource