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ctaulbee
post Jun 26 2019, 01:26 AM
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Kerning, tracking, warm colors, cool colors, CMYK, RGB, OMG...

A lot of technical terms get thrown around on graphics sites and it can get confusing at the best of times and if you’re finding yourself confused, never fear – we’re here to help.

So, whether you’re a new designer yourself, are just a little curious, or are simply trying to decipher your designer’s emails, sit back and relax as we break down some common terms for you.



Aliasing The appearance of jagged steps (jaggies) along object edges in computer-generated images or type. The stair casing effect is caused by sharp tonal contrasts between pixels. This effect can be very apparent in low resolution images.

Alignment The lining up of elements to achieve balance, order, and a more logical layout. There are also four common types of typographical alignment – center, left, right, and justified, each with their own time and place for application.

Alpha Channel A special channel reserved by some image-processing applications like Photoshop for masking or retaining additional color information that is not shown or is used to create the appearance of partial transparency. Alpha channels are used to create masks that allow you to confine or protect parts of an image you want to apply color, opacity, or make other changes.

Analogous A color scheme built out of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Anchor Point Anchor points allow the user to manipulate a path’s shape or direction by clicking the point and moving it in a direction. They appear along the beginning of a path, at every curve, and at the end of a path. You can also add or subtract anchor points on a path.

Anti-aliasing is the technique that is used to minimize the stair-casing effect. It softens the edges by adding extra gray levels or colors between the contrasting pixels.

Background That portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

Bézier Curve A Bézier curve is a curve defined by two end-points and two control-points, which in general are not on the curve. As well as other characteristics, the control-points define the tangents of the curve as it leaves the two end-points, paths are collections of anchor points lines and Bézier curves to form a shape.

Black Point The area (or areas) of the image that are maximum black.

Black Point Adjustment A black point adjustment establishes the amount of shadow detail in an image.

Blend Smooth transition from one color to another or from one tint to another.

Border The decorative design or edge of a surface, line, or area that forms it’s outer boundary.

Burn This is when you darken or increase part of an image by shading.

Canvas Allows you to change the complete size of the document without adjusting the contents of the document

Clipping Path A tool or shape that’s used to cut out an image using a Alpha Channel.

Cloning An image processing function that is used to duplicate a pixel or many pixels from one area of a picture to another picture area. This pixel manipulation may add or remove detail. Some manufacturers call this function pixel swapping.

CMYK or ‘Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key’, is a color model that is used for print purposes. CMYK is a subtractive color, this means that we begin with white and end up with black. So, as we add more color, the result turns darker.

Concept The end result of the creative process or a time brainstorming and experimenting with ideas. Clients and companies will often ask designers for a few concepts when creating a new logo or new design scheme.

Color Balance Maintaining the ratio of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink during printing. This will keep all color hues consistent and produce a picture with the desired color, one without an unwanted color cast or color bias.

Color Palette A set of colors that make up the total range of colors used in graphic computers.

Complementary Colors The colors that are opposite of each other when viewed on the color wheel.

Composition The process of combining typographic elements with graphics and photos that result in pleasing page layouts for print or web content.

Compression A technique to reduce the amount of data in an image file by removing large amounts of redundant data. This process reduces the storage space at the expense of discarding image data which can reduce the detail or quality of a image if too much compression is applied.

Contrast The difference in color found between the light and dark parts of an image or degree of difference between two juxtaposed elements. Some other common types of contrast are dark vs. light, thick vs. thin, rough vs. smooth, etc.

Color Theory The study of how colors make people feel and respond. Certain colors tend to evoke certain subconscious emotions and feelings in people – for example, we tend to associate blue with trust and dependability, hence why so many corporate businesses have blue logos and branding.

Cool Colors Colors that make you think of colder temperatures, like blues, greens, violets, etc. These colors tend to create a calm and soothing atmosphere. You are able to add cooler tones to an image or photograph by increasing the blue tones in your image

Crop A tool that removes portions of an image. It is usually used in digital photography.

Crop Marks The marks on the outside of the printed piece, used as guides for cutting the piece down to the final size.

Dodge This is when you lighten or reduce part of an image by shading.

DPI (Dots Per Inch) A term to describe the measure of sharpness within an image. DPI is only of concern when you're creating work for "printed output". It stands for 'Dots Per Inch' and refers to the number of dots per inch on a printed page. Generally, the more dots per inch, the better quality the "printed image" will be - and 300DPI is the standard for printing images.

Drop Shadow Is a visual effect added to an image to give the impression the image is raised above the background by duplicating the shadow.

Element Any distinct part of a layout such as the logo, headline, images, or borders.

Embedding Process of transferring all the data of a font or image into the file itself.

EPS Stands for Encapsulated Post Script. This is a graphics file format used to transfer PostScript documents that contain an image, within another PostScript document.

Export To save a file in a format supported by other programs.

Feathering A tool used in graphic design software that makes the edges of an image appear softer.

Fill A tool used to fill selected parts of an image with a selected color.

Filter A filter is a pre-created effect that can be applied to images to acquire a certain look.

Focal Point In graphic design terms, the focal point is where you want to draw the reader’s or viewer’s eye.

Gradient A smooth transition in color from one tone into another. Two common types of gradients are the linear gradient where each color sits on opposite sides of the frame, and a radial gradient where one color sits in the middle, and another at the edge.

Grayscale An image that consists of black, white, no color, and up to 256 shades of gray only.

Halo Effect A vague shadow sometimes surrounding halftone dots printed. Also called halation. The halo itself is called a fringe.

Highlights Lightest part of a photograph or halftone, as opposed to mid-tones and shadows.

High Key A image where unnaturally bright lighting is used to blow out most or all the harsh shadows.

High-Resolution Image An image with an extreme level of sharpness/clarity, DPI does NOT determine if a image is High-Resolution.

HLS A color space that stands for hue, lightness, and saturation.

HSB A color space stands for hue, saturation, and brightness.

Hue One of the three primary attributes of color. A hue is a variety of color such as red, blue, green, or yellow.

Invert Inversion of the tonal values or colors of an image. On an inverted image, black becomes white, blue becomes orange, etc.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Electronic Group) A common process for compressing digital images.

Justify To make a line of type a certain length by spacing out the words and numbers.

Kerning The adjustment of space between "two characters" in your type. Kerning usually aims to achieve a more proportional and pleasing balance of space between each character.

Knockout A shape area used to eliminate (knock out) all background colors or objects that it covers.

Layer Is the term used to describe the different levels at which you can place an object or image file. In the program you can stack, merge, blend or define layers when creating a digital image.

Leading Refers to the amount of added vertical spacing between lines of text (pronounced ‘ledding’). Leading is usually expressed in points, like the size of text itself. It includes the point size of the text; so 10 point text set with 10 point leading would have the lines of type touching each other. Conventionally a leading of 120% is used in a normal block of body text; so a 10 point type is normally set with 12-point leading.

Legibility The quality of typeface affecting the speed of perception – not to be confused with readability.

Low Key A image whose most important details appear in the darker areas of the shot.

Lorem Ipsum Also known as ‘dummy copy’, lorem ipsum is a generic filler text used when the real text is not available. It’s used as placeholder text to demonstrate how
a design will look once the real body copy has been included.

Luminosity The brightness of an area arranged by the amount of light it reflects or diffuses.

Margins The space around the edge of a page. By increasing or decreasing the size of your page’s margins you can create a more calming or a more tense design respectively. The example below has larger, more open margins.

Mask See clipping path.

Midtones In a photograph or illustration, tones composed by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as opposed to highlights and shadows.

Monochrome A color scheme built out of only one color, including lighter and darker tones of that color.

Negative Space The space between elements in a composition, sometimes referred to as white space. In page layout negative space refers to the parts of the page that are not not occupied by type or graphics.

Noise Is random variation of brightness or color information in images, the digital equivalent of film grain for analogue cameras.

Opacity The degree of transparency an element or layer has in color or tonal value. The lower the opacity, the more transparent an element is. The opacity of an image or object that can range from transparent (0% opacity) not visible to opaque (100% opacity) fully visible.

Palette The selection of colors that you choose to use for your design.

PDF Stands for Portable Document Format. Developed by Adobe Systems in its software program, Adobe Acrobat, to serve as a universal browser. Files can be downloaded over the web and viewed page by page, provided the user’s computer has installed the application.

Pica A unit of measurement for type. Commonly used for typewriters.

Pixel The smallest picture content that can be individually assigned a color.

PNG Portable Network Graphics format. PNG (usually pronounced “ping”), is used for lossless compression. The PNG format displays images without jagged edges while keeping file sizes rather small, making them popular on the web.

Primary Colors The primary colors are put together to produce the full range of other colors (non-primary colors), within a color model. The primary colors for the additive color model is red, green, and blue. The primary colors for the subtractive color model is cyan, magenta, and yellow.

Raster Image An image made up of individual pixels. Altering the dimensions of a raster image may result in a blurry image since you’re simply shrinking or stretching the pixels themselves. Raster image file extensions include .JPEG, .JPG, .GIF and .BMP.

Rasterize An image is said to be rasterized when transformed from vector image to a bitmapped image. When opening a vector image in a bitmap-based editing program, you are generally presented with a dialog box of options for rasterizing the image.

Readability Is the ease with which a reader can understand a written text. The readability of text depends on its content (the complexity of its vocabulary and syntax) and typography (font size, line height, and line length).

Resample A function accessible in image editing that permits the user to change the resolution of the image while keeping its pixel count intact.

Resolution The amount of detail an image has. Generally speaking, the higher your resolution, the better your images appear, and the more detail is rendered. Whereas lower resolution images or graphic tend to appear blurry, pixelated or muddy.

RGB or ‘Red, Green, Blue’ is a color model that is used for on-screen purposes. RGB is a additive color, meaning that when mixing colors, we start with black and end up with white as more color is added.

Rivers A river is a typographic term for the ugly white gaps that can appear in justified columns of type when there is too much space between words on concurrent lines of text. Rivers are particularly common in narrow columns of text, where the type size is relatively large.

Sans Serif A style of typeface that means “without feet.” Common sans serif typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, AvantGarde and Futura.

Saturation The degree of intensity and vividness of a color or hue from a gray of the same lightness or brightness. For example, a low-saturation color may appear paler, and faded, whereas a more heavily saturated color may appear more vibrant and colorful.

Scale The change of size of an object while keeping its shape and proportions in tact. Large scale can create drama, and smaller scale can create fine detail.

Selection Selection refers to an area of an image that is isolated so it can be edited while the rest of the image is protected.

Serif The thin lines added to the end of a letterform’s stem and stroke. According to some typographers, serif typefaces are ideal for large blocks of text because the serifs improve readability. Common sans serif typefaces include Garamond, Times, Baskerville and Bembo.

Shading To change the brightness or color of parts of a graphic image to simulate a three-dimensional depth.

Shadow The darkest part of an image, usually with the density at or near maximum density.

Shadow Detail Shadow detail refers to the amount of detail held in the dark areas of an image. If the shadow is lightened too much in an attempt to expose more detail, you run the risk of reducing the overall contrast of the image.

Sharpen To reduce in color strength, as when halftone dots become smaller; opposite of “thicken” or “dot spread.”

Sharpness The term that describes the appearance of the "image edges" in a picture, photograph, video display, proof or anywhere images are seen. As the image edges are sharpened, more detail will be visible. Unsharpened image edges are fuzzy and appear ‘out of focus’. The more clear cut the image edge, the sharper and ‘in focus’ the image is. Edge sharpness can be increased with unsharp masking.

Skew To slant an object (text or image) by a prescribed degree.

Template Refers to a printing project’s basic details with regard to its dimensions. A general layout.

Texture When it comes to design, texture can refer to the actual tactile surface of a design, or the visual tactility of your design. By layering textured images and graphics over your design, you can often create a visual appearance of tactility that mirrors actual texture.

Thumbnail A thumbnail is a reduced-size version of the original image or preview image.

Tint A color is made lighter by adding white, this is called a tint.

Tracking Concerns the space between "all" letters. When we track bodies of text, we are adjusting space between every letter in a word in order to change the density or appearance of a large block of type (i.e. body copy). Tracking shouldn’t be confused with kerning, which concerns the adjustment of space between individual pairs of letters.

Typeface A typeface consists of a series of fonts (family) and a full range of characters such as, numbers, letters, marks, and punctuation.

Typography The artistic arrangement of type in a readable and visually appealing way. Typography usually concerns the design and use of various typefaces in a way that helps to better visually communicate ideas. This includes not only the font that is used but how it is arranged on the page: letter by letter, size, line spacing, color, style, weight etc.

Unsharp Mask A method used to heighten the sharpness or focus of images by selecting and increasing the contrast of pixels alongside the edges of images.

Value This refers to the degree of lightness or darkness of a color.

Vector Image An image made up of paths and curves (vectors) rather than a grid of pixels. Unlike raster images, vector graphics allow the designer to expand or reduce the vector graphic in size without any loss in quality using curves, points, lines, and polygons. Vector graphic file extensions include .EPS, .AI, .SVG and .CDR.

Warm Colors Colors that make you think of heat and warmth, like reds, yellows, oranges, etc. These colors tend to feel cozier, friendlier, and more cheerful. You are able to add more warm tones to an image or photograph by increasing the orange tones in your image.

Weight The range of a stroke’s width, also known as the heaviness of the stroke for a specific font, such as Thin, Light, Regular, Book, Demi, Bold, Heavy and Black. Some typeface families have many additional weights like Semi-bold, Extra-bold, Ultra-bold and Extra-light etc.

White Point The area (or areas) of the image that are maximum white.

White Point Adjustment A white point adjustment establishes the amount of highlighted detail in an image.


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VincentLupo
post Jun 26 2019, 01:38 AM
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This is great Curt!
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sauron
post Jun 26 2019, 09:40 PM
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Great post!
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