52 Graphic Design Terms and Definitions for Non-Designers | Photoshop Services

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52 Graphic Design Terms and Definitions for Non-Designers | Photoshop Services

After I first began out in advertising and marketing, I didn’t fairly predict that I’d be a part-time designer, too.

Now, in 201, visible content material is greater than 40X extra prone to get shared on social media than different kinds of content material and it’s change into apparent and even mandatory for all of us entrepreneurs to have not less than some fundamental data of key design phrases.

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Fortunately, we stay in a beautiful world the place anybody could make the soar from novice to intermediate and create well-designed photographs for social media. There are instruments like Pablo and Canva that make this design work achievable (and exquisite).

Nonetheless, instruments apart, if you wish to take your advertising and marketing abilities to the following degree, enhancing your understanding of design is crucial.

Have you ever ever puzzled what is likely to be doable with just a bit further design data in your again pocket?

Seems, to take your social media photographs from good to nice, is an affordable leap. And all of it begins with a superb basis and understanding of some key design phrases and ideas.

In the event you’re trying to take your social media photographs to the following degree and change into a greater marketer, try this design dictionary for a crash course on easy methods to higher perceive design.

52 design phrases defined for entrepreneurs

1. Golden ratio

The golden ratio happens with two objects which, when you divide the bigger by the smaller, lead to the number one.6180 (or thereabouts). Essentially the most well-known golden ratio is the golden rectangle, which could be cut up into an ideal sq. and a rectangle the identical facet ratio as the unique rectangle. You would possibly see this in picture composition or web site design and grid structure.



Through the use of the golden ratio you’ll be able to guarantee your photographs are eye-catching and superbly formatted. Right here’s an instance of the golden ratio getting used to divide house between the physique of a web site and the sidebar:


Under is one other instance the place the important thing parts of the design all match inside a distinct part of the Golden Ratio:


2. Rule of thirds

You possibly can apply the rule of thirds by imagining a 3×3 grid mendacity on prime of your picture after which aligning the topic of the picture with the information strains and their intersection factors (e.g. inserting the horizon on the highest or backside line) or permitting the weather of the image to simply movement from part to part.



After getting your grid in place, the spots the place the strains intersect one another point out the prime focal areas inside your design:


Typography, textual content, and font phrases

3. Typography

“Ty­pog­ra­phy is the vi­sual com­po­nent of the writ­ten phrase,” Sensible Typography superbly explains. All visually displayed textual content, whether or not on paper, display or billboard, includes typography.

4. Serif

A serif is the little further stroke or curves, on the ends of letters.

5. Sans-serif

“Sans” actually means “with out”, and a sans serif font doesn’t embrace any further stroke on the ends of the letters.


Although there are not any set guidelines for when to make use of a serif or sans serif font, it’s instructed that sans serif fonts needs to be used for on-line physique textual content and serif fonts for headlines and print.

6. Script

Script typefaces are fonts or sort primarily based upon historic or trendy handwriting types and are extra fluid than conventional typefaces.

A few instance script fonts embrace:

Alex Brush;


And, Grand Resort:


7. Slab serif

Slab serif fonts characteristic geometric really feel than conventional serif fonts and have serifs that sq. and bigger, bolder.

A wonderful instance of a slab serif font is Museo Slab:


8. Monospace

Read more: how do i resize an image in photoshop without losing quality

A monospaced font, (also called a fixed-pitch, fixed-width, or non-proportional font) is a font whose letters and characters every occupies the identical quantity of horizontal house.

9. Hierarchy

Typographic hierarchy is a necessary a part of any design or structure and even should you’re not accustomed to the time period, you’ll make sure you have seen hierarchy in motion on any web site, newspaper or journal.

tuts+ clarify:

Right here’s an instance for instance the significance of hierarchy:

hierarchy 2

10. Kerning

Kerning refers back to the house between two particular letters (or different characters: numbers, punctuation, and so forth.) and the method of adjusting that house improves legibility.


11. Main

Main determines how textual content is spaced vertically in strains. Main is used when content material that has a number of strains of readable textual content and ensures the space from the underside of the phrases above to the highest of the phrases beneath has applicable spacing to make them legible.


12. Monitoring

Monitoring is much like kerning in that it refers back to the spacing between letters or characters. Nonetheless, as a substitute of specializing in the spacing between particular person letters (kerning), monitoring measures house between teams of letters.

13. X-height

The x-height refers back to the distance between the baseline and the imply line of lower-case letters in a typeface.


14. Ascender / Descender

The ascender is the portion of a lowercase letter that extends above the imply line of a font (the x-height). Then again, the descender is the portion of a letter that extends beneath the baseline of a font.


15. Orphans / Widows

Widows and Orphans are strains of textual content that seem initially or finish of a paragraph, that are left alone on the prime or backside of a line. There may be some debate concerning the precise definitions of those phrases however as a rule of thumb:

  • Orphan: A is a single phrase or very quick line, that seems on the finish of a paragraph or the start of a column or a web page, separated from the remainder of the textual content.
  • Widow: A paragraph-ending line that falls initially of the next web page or column, thus separated from the remainder of the textual content. Or the start of a brand new paragraph that begins on the backside of a column or web page.

16. Lorum Ipsum

Lorem Ipsum is solely dummy textual content utilized by the design trade. It’s used as placeholder textual content and has a more-or-less common distribution of letters, making it seem like readable English, versus utilizing ‘Add content material right here, add content material right here’ inside designs when the copy isn’t fairly prepared.



17. RGB

RGB coloration is a mannequin by which crimson, inexperienced, and blue mild are added collectively in numerous methods to breed a broad array of colours. RGB tends for use for on-screen functions.


18. Hex

A hex is a six-digit quantity utilized in HTML, CSS, and design software program functions to characterize colours.


19. Palette

A coloration palette contains of colours that may be utilized for any illustration or design work that represents your model. The chosen colours needs to be designed to work harmoniously with one another.


20. Monochrome

Monochrome is used to explain design or pictures in a single coloration or completely different shades of the one coloration.


21. Analogous

Analogous coloration schemes use colours which might be subsequent to one another on the colour wheel. They normally match effectively and create serene and cozy designs.


22. Complementary

Colours which might be reverse one another on the colour wheel are thought of to be complementary colours (instance: crimson and inexperienced).


23. Triadic

A triadic coloration scheme makes use of colours which might be evenly spaced across the coloration wheel.


24. CMYK

CMYK is a coloration mannequin that’s used for print functions. CMYK colours start as white after which get darker as extra colours are mixed.

CMYK colors


25. Pantone

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a standardized coloration replica system. Each hue is given a quantity, making it simple for individuals to reference and reproduce the identical colours.


26. Heat colours

Heat colours are made with crimson, orange yellow and numerous combos of those colours. They provide a pleasant, pleased, cozy vibe.

27. Cool colours

Cool colours reminiscent of blue, inexperienced and lightweight purple have the flexibility to calm and soothe.


28. Coloration idea

Coloration theories create a logical construction for coloration. There are three fundamental classes of coloration idea: The colour wheel, coloration concord, and the context of how colours are used. Understanding easy methods to use completely different colours to convey which means is a crucial a part of each design and advertising and marketing. Right here’s a fast information on how colours have an effect on our mind:


Do you need to study extra about coloration idea? Try: Why Fb Is Blue? The Science of Colours in Advertising and marketing.

29. Gradient

A gradient is a gradual change of colours (reminiscent of inexperienced turning step by step into blue) or a coloration fading into transparency. There are two widespread kinds of gradients: radial and linear.

30. Opacity

Opacity permits us to make a component of a design clear. The decrease the opacity, the extra clear a component is. For instance, 100% opacity means an object is stable.


31. Hue

Primarily, a hue is a solution to describe a coloration. And a hue could be any coloration on the colour wheel. For instance, crimson, blue and yellow are all hues.

32. Tint

A tint is quite a lot of a coloration. Craftsy explains that Tints are created while you add white to any hue on the colour wheel. This lightens and desaturates the hue, making it much less intense.


Branding and logos

33. Logotype

Refer: Adobe Photoshop CC For PC 64-bit (Premium + 4 Plug-ins) 2021

A logotype is the title of an organization that’s designed in a visually distinctive manner to be used by that firm. More often than not when individuals consult with a emblem, they’re referring to the model’s logotype.

34. Logomark / Brandmark

A emblem mark typically doesn’t comprise the title of the corporate and as a substitute extra abstractly represents that firm utilizing an emblem or mark.


35. Icon

Icons are photographs used to characterize an motion or an object. For instance, a pen icon may characterize somebody writing (motion) or just a pen (object). When utilizing, icons consider carefully about what you need to signify and the way clear it’s to your viewers.

36. Type information

A method information is a set of requirements for the design of something associated to your model, whether or not it’s a web site touchdown web page, enterprise card or printed doc. The rationale to have a method information is to make sure full uniformity in model and formatting wherever the model is used to make sure no dilution of that model.

For example, you’ll be able to try our Buffer model information right here.

37. Grid

A grid is constructed from evenly divided columns and rows. The purpose of a grid is to assist designers prepare parts in a constant manner. Right here’s an instance of the grid we use at Buffer:


Utilizing the Buffer design grid, a web page could be divided into fifths, fourths, thirds and halves – and any mixture of those. Every grid row should comprise elements that add as much as one entire. For instance, one-fourth + one-half + one-fourth.


Design Phrases and Strategies

38. Scale

In design, scale refers back to the measurement of an object in relationship to a different object. Two parts of the identical measurement could be seen as being equal. Whereas parts with a transparent variation in measurement are typically seen as completely different.

When placing collectively a design, take into consideration how one can make the most of scale that will help you illustrate the which means behind your picture. Take the beneath instance; the bigger circle seems to be extra influential and necessary that the smaller one. You may even say the smaller circle could also be a little bit timid or shy.


39. Side ratio

A side ratio is the proportional relationship between the width and peak of a rectangle (a rectangle is used as a result of the overwhelming majority of screens are wider than they’re tall). A side ratio is outlined through a mathematical ratio, with two numbers separated by a colon.

  • width:peak
  • Which means that 4 inches extensive by 3 inches excessive can be a ratio of 4:3

40. Texture

A texture is outlined because the floor traits of your picture. In design, you’ll be able to make the most of textures reminiscent of material and brickwork to reflect the visible look of the particular texture.

41. Knolling

Knolling is the act of arranging completely different objects in order that they’re at 90-degree angles from one another, then photographing them from above. This system creates a really symmetrical look that feels pleasing to the attention. Photos that characteristic knolling are typically set in opposition to a contrasting stable background.



42. White house

Whitespace, usually generally known as damaging house, refers back to the space of a design left clean. It’s the house between graphic parts, photographs, copy, and anything on the web page. Regardless that it’s generally known as white house, it may be any coloration.

A wonderful instance of white house is the Google homepage. It’s nearly crammed with whitespace to encourage customers to deal with the search bar:


43. Decision

The decision of a picture determines the standard. As a rule of thumb, the upper the decision, the upper the standard. A high-resolution picture might be clear and crisp whereas a low-resolution picture will really feel a little bit pixelated and blurry.


44. Distinction

Distinction happens when two parts on a web page are completely different. For instance, it may very well be completely different colours between the textual content and the background coloration or darkish vs. mild colours.


One of many principal causes to make use of distinction in your designs is to seize consideration. For instance, the notorious iPod silhouette adverts have been so memorable as a result of there’s a enormous distinction between the white iPod and earphones and the brilliant background and silhouette.


45. Saturation

Saturation refers back to the depth or purity of a coloration. The extra saturated a coloration is, the extra vivid or brighter it seems. Whereas desaturated colours, seem a little bit duller.


Extremely saturated photographs have a tendency to face out and draw consideration, due to this fact giving the looks of carrying extra weight than much less saturated photographs. In the event you’re including a textual content layer over an image and would love it to face out, utilizing a much less saturated background could be an effective way to take action.

46. Blur

Blur makes photographs extra unclear or much less distinct. Utilizing a blur could be an effective way to make textual content stand out when overlaid onto a picture. Once you put textual content over a picture, the 2 parts can kind a considerably aggressive relationship (instance on the left beneath), a little bit blur could make the textual content stand out extra and seem way more readable (on the suitable beneath).


47. Crop

Once you crop a picture, you’re chopping away and discarding the pointless parts of the picture. Cropping means that you can change the emphasis or course of a picture.


48. Pixel

A pixel is a minuscule space of a display (the phrase comes from “image factor”). Pixels are the smallest fundamental unit of programmable coloration on a pc and pictures are made up of many particular person pixels.

49. Skeumorphism

Skeuomorphism is when a digital factor is designed to seem like a duplicate of the bodily work. For instance, suppose iPhone’s calculator or Apple’s newsstand the place the bookshelf and magazines feel and look like they do in actual life.


50. Flat

Flat design is a minimalistic strategy that focuses on simplicity and usefulness (nearly the other of Skeuomorphism). It tends to characteristic loads of open house, crisp edges, vivid colours and two-dimensional illustrations.



51. Raster

Raster photographs are made up of a set grid of pixels. This implies while you change the scale of stretch a raster picture it may possibly get a little bit blurry and lose some readability.

52. Vector

Vector photographs a made up of factors, strains, and curves. The entire shapes inside a vector are calculated utilizing a mathematical equation which implies the picture can scale in measurement with out dropping any high quality. Not like rasters, vectors gained’t get blurry when scaled. You could find some nice vector photographs to make use of inside your designs on websites like Vecteezy.

52 Graphic Design Terms and Definitions for Non-Designers

Over to you

I hope you discovered this dive into design phrases and definitions useful. It’s superb how briskly entrepreneurs can decide up instruments like Canva and Pablo to create lovely trying photographs.

I’m curious to listen to if there are another design phrases you hear recurrently and would love some clarification on? Be happy to share any questions or ideas within the feedback beneath.

Additional studying:

  • 50 Design Phrases Defined Merely for Non-Designers from the Canva weblog
  • 10 Digital Design Phrases You Must Know from Design Shack

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