Working with a design team results in some fantastic advertising, but communication hangups can put snags in the process. Make sure you know exactly what you’re asking your team for by keeping these terms in mind:


ai – Adobe Illustrator file

Bitmap (raster) – Image file comprised of pixels in a grid that has a fixed resolution and cannot be re-sized without losing image quality (jpg, gif, png, etc.)

Bleed – A printed image that extends beyond one or more of the finished page margins and is later trimmed so that the image “bleeds” off the edge of the sheet.

Color Theory – The study of how colors make people feel. In graphic design, Color Theory is used to explore the best types of colors to work in different situations, e.g. for a website that needs to feel soft and relaxing, or a magazine ad that needs to pop out of the page and evoke energy in the reader.

Complementary Colors – On a color wheel, the colors opposite of each other: blue/orange, yellow/violet, red/green.

eps – Image file (often used for exporting files for print).

gif – Image file (often used for animated images).

Illustrator (Adobe) – Program used by many graphic designers for creating vector images, such as logos and other graphics used for print and online purposes.

InDesign (Adobe) – Program used by many graphic designers who deal with magazine, brochure or other print layouts. Allows the designer or other professional to create a layout, insert photographs or images, add text, and send to printer as a completed booklet, pamphlet, or other printed item.

indd – Adobe InDesign file.

jpg – Standard image file.

Justification – In typography, setting lines of text so that they line up on the left and right. This is opposed to ragged right, in which the lines do not line up on the right.

Kerning – In typography, the space between each character.

Leading – In typography, the spacing between lines of text.

Margin – Any deliberately unprinted space on a page, especially surrounding a block of text. Margins are used not only to aid in the aesthetics and the readability of a page, but also to provide allowances for trimming, binding, and other post-press operations.

Mockup – The original design or idea created and either displayed on the screen (e.g. as a .jpg or PDF) or in a printed format (e.g. a printed copy of the layout for a magazine or brochure spread for printers and clients to view before the actual product is produced). Mockups allow the client to see what the final product should look like.

Negative Space – In design, the space not occupied by the text or images.

PMS – An abbreviation for the Pantone Matching System.

png – image file (often used with images with transparent components).

psd – Adobe Photoshop file.

Sans Serif – In typography, characters (or typefaces) without serifs, which are lines crossing the free end of the stroke.

Scale – The act of — or the computer function that facilitates — altering the size of an image or font proportionately.

Serif – In typography, an all-inclusive term for characters that have a line crossing the free end of a stroke. The term serif refers to both that finishing line and to characters and typefaces that have them.

svg – Vector image file that scales without losing quality.

Texture – A graphic design term that refers to creating depth to a graphic design product so it has dimension rather than appearing flat. This can be done through the use of patterns behind color, for instance.

Vector – Image file made of many individual objects that are resolution-independent (svg).

Weight – In typography, the lightness or darkness in print of a particular typeface, based upon its design and thickness of line.

Refer to this list any time you need to work with the creative team! Trust me: they’ll thank you for it.

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Amanda Trieu
Amanda was raised in the East Bay, and that's where she currently resides. She studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at UC Davis. She enjoys sunshine and the outdoors and loves relaxing on the beach, hiking, swimming, camping, and sightseeing.