Some simple thoughts and hopefully some entertaining / educational / useful / useless bits and bobs to help you get through the day.

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A - Z of design terms

Alignment: the adjustment of arrangement or position in lines of a text or an image; left, right, centered, etc.

Alpha Channel: the process of incorporating an image with a background 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, also to make other changes.

Analog Proof (Pre-press Proof):
proof that uses ink jet, toner, dyes, overlays, photographic, film, or other methods to give a an idea of what the finished product should look like.

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

Animated GIF:
small animation based on continuous GIF images, giving the impression of movement or action.

Art Director:
the individual responsible for the selection, execution, production and so on, of graphic art.

Bad Break: refers to widows or orphans in text copy, or any break that causes awkward reading.

an imaginary line upon which letters sit and descenders extend below the baseline.

a series of bits is a structure that represents a graphic image. The color of each pixel is individually defined.

Bleed: when a graphic object extends through another in an unwanted manned. It is then trimmed so there is no chance for a white line on the edges.

Clipping Path: a tool that, or shape used to cut out an image.

stands for ‘cyan’, ‘magenta’, ‘yellow’, ‘k(black)’.

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

Comp (Comprehensive):
comps are made to see what the initial design project will look like before it’s printed, showing the layout of the text and illustrations.

Copy: refers to editorial text supplied for incorporation into a design or website.

Descender: the part of a lowercase letter that stretches below the body.

Die Cut: a die that cut shapes or holes in a wide range of material.

Direct Mail: unsolicited mail marketing campaign, sent direct to the consumer,

Dot Gain: when the ink hits the paper, it is absorbed and it somewhat spreads out.

Double Page Spread (DPS): a double page spread is a layout that extends across two pages.

DPI (Dots Per Inch): a term to describe the measure of sharpness within an image.

Drop Shadow:
a visual effect added to an image to give the impression the image is raised above the image’s behind by duplicating the shadow.

Dummy: this is a display of the final product.

Duotone: a method of printing an image using two colors, usually black and a spot color.

EPS: stands for (Encapsulated Post Script). This is a graphics file format used to transfer PostScript documents that contain an image, withing another PostScript document.

to save a file in a format usable by other programs.

Extenders: the part of a letter which extends above the mid line, such as 'b' or 'd'.

E-Zine: stands for electronic magazine and refers to the name of a website that is represented for a print magazine; an online only magazine that you can subscribe to.

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

Flyer: a single sheet of paper handed out or posted on a wall to advertise or announce something.

Folio: a single leaf of a manuscript or book and also refers to a page number.

Font: a complete combination of characters created in a specific type of one style and size. The set of characters in a font entail the letter set, the number set, and all of the special characters and marks you get when pressing the shift key or other command keys on your keyboard.

Four-Color Process: a printing technique that creates colors by combining, cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Frames: refers to animation, a frame is a single graphic in a distribution of graphic images. The speed of an animation is judged by frames per second.

Gang: to combine multiple jobs on one print plate in order to reduce costs and setup charges.

Gatefold: a type of fold in which the paper is folded inward to form four or more panels.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): GIF images display up to 256 colors. It supports animation and allows an individual palette of 256 color for each frame. The color limitation makes the GIF format inappropriate for reproducing color photographs and other images with consistent color. GIF images are compressed using the LZW lossless data compression method to decrease the size of the file without corrupting the visual quality.

Gradient: a function in graphic software that permits the user to fill an object or image with a smooth transition of colors.

Grayscale: consisting of black, white, no color and up to 256 shades of gray.

Gutter: refers to book production. The white space formed by the inner margins of a spread near the books spine.

Halftone: (1) To photograph or scan a consistent tone image to alter the image into halftone dots. (2) A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been half toned and that is displayed on film, paper, printing plate or the final printed product.

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

Hard Copy: the permanent reproduction of the output of a computer or printer. For example: teleprinter pages, continuous printed tapes, computer printouts, etc.

Header: the text which appears at the top of a printed page

Headline: a large text illustrating the opening statement used in a layout.

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

High-Resolution Image: an image with an extreme level of sharpness/clarity.

Ideograph (also ideogram): a character or symbol representing an idea without expressing the punctuation of a specific word or words for it.

a layout of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper order after press sheets are folded and bound.

Indents: a set in or back from the margin.

Initial Cap:
large, capital letters which are found at the beginning of paragraphs or chapters. Also known as illuminated initials if used as a decorative feature.

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

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

modifying the horizontal space between letters.

Keyframe: any frame in which a specific aspect of an item (its size, location, color, etc.) is specifically defined.

Keyline: a keyline is another name for a rule, line, or even a frame border. Keylines can be set in design software applications to different widths, to be solid or dotted, or even with numerous patterns.

Leading: refers to the amount of added vertical spacing between lines of text.

Leaf: a piece of paper in a publication.

a table on a map, chart, etc, listing the specific illustrations and how to use.

Low-Resolution Image : a low-quality scan made from a photograph, or of the like.

Margins: guidelines in page layout software to show the user the body copy areas. It also allows the user to indicate the dimensions. Margins do not print.

Mask: see clipping path.

Master Page: a property found in page layout software that allows the user to create a constant page layout. Repeating elements like page numbers are created once on a master. This permits the user to stay clear of adding the numbers to each page manually.

Matte Finish: Non-glossy finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Mean Line:
the line on which the top parts of most of the lowercase letters lay. Also called x-height. The imaginary point of all lowercase characters without ascenders.

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

Mock Up: a recreation of the original printed material and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Multimedia: offering the use of various communications, such as, text,sound, still or moving images.

News Print: paper used in printing newspapers. Not very high quality paper.

a term used to describe the development of pixels that contain random colors.

Oblique (type): a Roman typeface which slants to the right. Often confused with italics.

Old Style (type):
a style of type characterized by slight contrast between light and heavy strokes and slanting serif.

Opacity: the degree of a color or tonal value. The opacity of an image or object can range from transparent (0% opacity) to opaque (100% opacity). The ability to edit the opacity of specific objects allows the designer to create images that seem to flow into and through one another.

Orphan Line: the first line of a paragraph appearing on its own at the bottom on a page with the remaining part of the paragraph appearing on the next page.

Overlay: layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to divide colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

to print additional material or another color over a previously printed image.

Over Run: additional printed material beyond order. Overage policy differs in the printing industry, usually within 10% of the original quantity run.

Page Layout: deals with the setup and style of content on a page. An example of a page layout is the pages in magazines or brochures.

Page Size:
a setting that allows the user to define the size of the page they are creating their artwork on.

Pantone Matching System(PMS): used for defining and blending match colors. It accommodates designers with swatches of over 700 colors and gives printers the formulas for making those colors.

PDF (Portable Document Format.): developed by Adobe Systems in its software program Adobe Acrobat as a universal browser. Files can be downloaded over the Web and viewed page by page, provided the user’s computer has installed the important plug-in which can be downloaded from Adobe’s own Web site.

a unit of measurement for type. Commonly used for typewriters.

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

Plate: a Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be duplicated using a printing press.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics format.): 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. PNG files are generally larger than GIF files.

PPI (Pixels Per Inch.): a measurement of the resolution of a computer display.

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.

Ragged: the imbalanced alignment of text lines. The opposite of flush. A text block may be formatted to be evenly flush (align) right and unevenly aligned (ragged) on the left.

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.

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

Resolution: the resolution of an image is an important factor in deciding the attainable output quality. The higher the resolution of an image, the less pixilated it will be and the curves of the image will appear smoother.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue):
the colour model used to project color on a computer monitor. By combining these three colors, a large percentage of the visible color spectrum can be represented.

Rich Media:
banner ads that use technology more developed than standard GIF animation, for example; Flash, Shockwave, Streaming video etc.

Right Justified: type aligned with its right margin. Also known as “flush right.”

RIP (Raster Image Processor):
transfers fonts and graphics into raster images, which are used by the printer to draw onto the page.

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.

Royalty-Free Photos: intellectual property like photos and graphic images that are sold for a single standard fee. These can be used repeatedly by the purchaser only, but the company that sold the images usually still owns all the rights to it.

Sans Serif:
a style of typeface that means “without feet.” Usual sans serif typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, Avant Garde and Verdana.

the Intensity of hue. The quality of difference from a gray of the same lightness or brightness

Screen Printing:
technique of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Small Caps:
capital letters that are about the same height as the typeface’s x-height. Some software programs automatically create their own small caps, but true small caps are often only found in expert typefaces.

Spread: (1) Two pages that face each other and are created as one visual or production unit. (2) Method of slightly enlarging the size of an image to make a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

Text Wrap:
a term used in page layout software, specifically to the way text can be shaped around the edges of images.

Thumbnail: a thumbnail is a reduced-size version of the original image.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): a graphic file format used for storing images. TIFF is a commonly used file format for high colour depth images.

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

Tolerance: the range of pixels a tool in graphic software functions in. Or the range of shade or color pixels a Magic Wand selects, etc.

Trim Size: the size of the printed material in its finished stage.

Typeface: consists of a series of fonts and a full range of characters, such as, numbers, letters, marks and punctuations.

Uncoated Paper: paper that hasn’t had a coating applied to it for smoothness.

Uppercase: also known as capital letters, they are the larger characters in a typeface.

UV Coating: a glossy coating applied to the paper surface and dried using ultraviolet light. It is glossy and adds a certain level of protection to the printed material.

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

a liquid coating applied to a surface for protecting and for a glossy effect.

Vector Graphic: graphics with editable points which allow the designer to expand or reduce the vector graphic in size without any loss in quality using curves, points, lines and polygons.

Verso: the left-hand page of a book or a manuscript.

translucent design impressed on paper created during manufacture, it is visible when held to light.

Web-Safe Colors: a color table containing only 216 out of a possible 256 colors, used to accurately match the colors of graphics and pictures in cross-platform Web browsers.

Weight: the range of a stroke’s width. Also knows as demi-bold, light, and bold. Some typeface families have many weights like ultra-bold and extra-light. Associated to the heaviness of the stroke for a specific font, such as Light, Regular, Book, Demi, Heavy, Black, and Extra Bold.

a single line of a paragraph at the bottom of a page or column. Can also refer to a word which is isolated at the end of a line of text within a paragraph.

Work and Turn: this is when you print on one side of a sheet of paper, then you turn the sheet over from left to right and print the other side. The same gripper and plate are used for this process.

this is the height of the lowercase letters that do not have ascenders or decenders, such as a, c, e and mm

stands for Zone Information Protocol: This is a way of compressing files into a smaller size, so they can be transferred with more ease over the Internet or any other means.

Please, if you have any additions or amendments to this list, let me know.