Design Dictionary - a free online resource

The design dictionary is a centralized location for frequently used language in the world of design & art. It was created for both the buyer/consumer of art and the freelancing professional who now can search through an ever-growing compilation of key terms. I believe learning should never stop, so I will continue to evolve this glossary to help everyone (including me) expand their knowledge base.
So if you are an entrepreneur, art director, business owner, or a person just reviewing a variety of illustration portfolios and design websites before you hire a freelance artist online for your next project. You will find my list of words and definitions to be a valuable part of your research. Moreover, if you are a creative professional, like fellow artists, designers, illustrators, you will also discover this index to be worth studying to broaden your vocabulary.



Above the Fold: The part of a Web page, when it first loads, that a user can see without scrolling. It is also called a ‘screenful’, and its size and resolution vary with the user’s monitor settings.

Anti-aliasing: A digital technique, also called “dithering,” used to smoothen images by adjusting the pixel size and intensity around the rough diagonal edges, to blend them into the background.

Acrobat: A software developed by Adobe Systems, used to create, view, manage and print files in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Alignment: The process of adjusting or organizing elements, such as text or images along a set margin – e.g. left, right, center, and so forth.

Alpha Channel: A process used to express the degree of opacity of a layer by combining it with a background. The function of Alpha Channels allows the user to create masks to define areas of a picture for making changes to color and transparency.

Analog Proof (Pre-press Proof): An economical way to develop a visual mock or copy of a consumer product using ink, toner, dyes, film, and overlays. The mock copy allows for the correction of any errors before the final product will send for print.

Analogous: A color scheme created using three adjacent colors on the color wheel.

Anchor Point: A series of vector or segmented points that dictate the path and direction of any overall shape. Each anchor point can be used to manipulate the shape and direction of the path. Anchor points can also be added or subtracted on the path.

Animated GIF: A short animation in GIF format, which is essentially a single file made up of multiple frames or images played continuously to convey movement.

Ascender: A portion of a letter which ascends above the upper boundary of the x-height, such as in ‘d’, ‘b’ and ‘f’. This is the antonym of descenders.

Asymmetrical: When visual elements such as graphics or text are dissimilar on either side of the center.

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Background Images: An image, texture, or pattern which is positioned behind the elements of any page layout or Graphical User Interface.

Banner: Graphic images used as web advertisements. They are commonly placed at the top of web-pages and are used to grab attention to redirect viewers to the advertiser’s site.

Bitmap: A digital image made up of square pixels.

Bar: The line drawn through a type unit, such as a letter, which is sometimes used to differentiate one unit from the other.

Baseline: The invisible line that defines the base boundary upon which letters align. The parts of a letter that extend below the baseline are known as “descenders.”

Bevel: A graphic design tool that adjusts shadows and highlights of an image border in a way that it gives it a raised, three-dimensional effect.

Bezier Curve: A mathematical, vector path drawn using two or more control anchor points that determine its size and shape. They are often created using the pen tool.

Bitmap: A digital graphic made up of a series of tiny square bits, or pixels, each single pixel is typically composed of an individual color and intensity.

Blockchain: A systematic process using peer-to-peer networks where data is sent through modes of encryption and verification blocks to securely and private deliver that data to its specified end-point.

Bleed: The areas at the edge of a page border that allows for the spread of ink during printing. It is trimmed down after printing on a larger sheet to prevent the appearance of white lines on the edges.

Body Copy: The middle, central part of the text copy of articles, blogs, websites, emails, and e-publications.

Border: The edges of a page, outer boundaries of a surface or an object – borders can be used to illustrate form, design sectors of layout, or simply to decorate. (handled)

Brand: A conceptual entity, such as a company or product, that incorporates and communicates a set of specific ideas, values, and emotions.

Branding: The process of communicating and forming a particular perception about a company or product, in the mind of the consumer. You can achieve it through advertising campaigns and other forms of mass communication techniques.

Brand Identity: The ultimate perception, or identity, communicated by your brand. This includes elements such as names, logos, and designs.

Brand Mark: A symbol used to represent your brand, instead of the company name, such as a logo, color, or even a sound.

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Canvas Size: Enables the user to change the dimensions and size of the document without making any changes to its content.

Clipping Path: A closed vector path tool used to cut out an image or part of an image.

Cloning Pixels: A tool used to create duplicate pixels in multiple places.

C.M.Y.K. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key [black]): also known as CMYK, is a subtractive four-color model, mostly used for print material. Subtractive colors start from white and get darker as more color is added until they turn black.

Cascading Style-Sheets (CSS): A coding language used to describe how HTML elements will display on a website. Using one CSS stylesheet the user can control the layout of numerous web pages. (Handled)

Clickability Cues: Visual signs that indicate if the user can click on a particular element, such as text or an image, on a Web page. Examples of these “cues” include different colors, underlined words, arrows and other such symbols.

Color Depth: Many colors displayed on the screen, calculated by the number of bits per pixel.

Color Palette: The set of available colors in a computer graphics application.

Color Theory: The study of the science and philosophy of color mixing and color combinations, as well as the psychological effects certain colors have on emotions and perceptions. For example, red is often associated with intense emotions, which is why it is mostly used to represent love, denial, or warnings and alertness.

Comp (Comprehensive Layout): A mock-up or early example of a product or project before it is final. A comp is usually shown in the development stages to give an initial look at how the current design or content is progressing, and what it may appear as in the end should the direction continue further into development.

Complementary Colors: On the color wheel these colors will be directly opposite to one another.

Contrast: A sharp distinction between the light and dark tones of an image.

Copy: The text content of a design or publication. In advertising, copy refers to the text of advertisements, which is usually catchy and persuasive.

Crop: A tool used to remove a selected part of an image.

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Data Entry Field: A designated area on a Webpage or application where the user can insert data.

Design Validation: The process of testing if a system’s components and functionality as per the design fulfill the targeted user’s needs and requirements.

Design Verification: The process of ensuring that the product’s design corresponds to its intended specifications.

Descender: The part of a letter that extends below the baseline, or lowercase, such as in ‘p’, ‘q’ and ‘j’. This is the opposite meaning of ascenders.

Die Cut: The process of using a die to cut out shapes in some materials, such as rubber, cloth, and paper.

Dingbat: A symbolic device used in typesetting to signify spaces or divisions between texts, or as a replacement for letters in censored words.

Display Type: The large, distinctive type used for headings, such as on posters, newspapers, and websites to grab attention.

Dodge: A tool used to lighten selected areas of an image.

Dot Gain: Also known as tonal value increase, dot gain is the darkening of printed material more than it is supposed to be, because of the ink dots spreading out as they land on the print material.

Double Page Spread: A page layout with content that spreads across two pages, without the division of binding in the center.

D.P.I. (Dots Per Inch): A measurement of the pixel density of a digital file or image. The number of pixels directly influences the sharpness and resolution. As a standard rule, a low-resolution file is less than 200dpi, and high-resolution is more than 300dpi.

Drop Shadow: A visual effect used in computer graphics that creates the impression of a shadow behind an object, giving it a raised effect.

DIY: An acronym that stands for “Do It Yourself.”

Dummy: A model, or prototype used as a mock placeholder or a temporary substitute for the actual material or thing. (handled)

Duotone: A printing and illustration technique used when an image is reproduced or printed using only two colors – black and a spot or solid colors.

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Ear: A looping or rounded section of a lower-case letter. For example, in ‘g’, q’ or ‘b’. (handled)

Element: A specific part of content such as an image, headline text, or a button.

Embedding: The process of incorporating the data of a certain object, such as an image or a video, within a file.

Emboss: A tool used to manipulate the shading, like highlights and shadows, on the sides of a text or an image, to make the object look three-dimensional.

Engaging/Engagement: The act of grabbing the user’s attention and keeping them involved in interaction by maintaining their interest.

Experience Architecture: The process of defining the user’s journey of experience with a specific product or service through interaction design, information architecture and experience design.

Engraving: Cutting designs onto usually hard and flat surfaces, like wood and metal.

EPS: Encapsulated Post Script, or EPS, is a graphical file extension, used to place PostScript documents that contain text or images, within another PostScript document.

Etch: Carving a design on a hard surface by corroding it with acid or laser.

Export: Save data in a format that can be used by other applications.

Extenders: Parts of letters that extend above or below the body of the letters.

E-Zine: An Electronic Magazine, or E-Zine, is an internet-based magazine, which can be subscribed to and read online.

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Feathering: A device used in computer graphics that softens the edges of an image.

Fill: Graphic design tool used to fill selected areas of an object or an image with a certain color or pattern.

Filter: A preset effect which can be used to edit images to get a specific result.

Flexography: A modern method of printing which uses rubber and plastic plates, and is used for printing on many different materials such as plastics, fabrics, metallic films and paper.

Fluid Layout: A layout that uses relative units of measurement, usually percentages, instead of fixed units, which enables it to adapt to different sizes and resolutions of the screen.

Flyer: A piece of advertising material, which is essentially just a one or two-sided paper, and is usually handed out or stuck on a wall to attract consumers.

Focal Point: a term used to describe the central focus of an artwork, character, narrative, design, and so forth. A trained creative will construct an area of focus as a visual tool for drawing in the attention of the viewer or audience. This method is used in all categories of art and design, such as fine art, literary art, graphic design, and more. (handled)

Fold: The part of a webpage, when it first loads, that is just below the visible area without scrolling. The fold’s location varies with the screen size, resolution and display settings. The area of a webpage visible without scrolling is called “above the fold” and the area visible with scrolling is called “below the fold”.

Font: A set of type with a specific style and size. This set includes all characters including letters, numbers and special characters.

Font Color: The color used for the type.

Font Readability: The level of difficulty involved in reading a specific type of text, or font.

Font Size: The size of the text.

Four-Color Process: The process of producing a variety of different colors using CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key/Black).

Frames: A single image or graphic, which, when played continuously with a series of other images, creates the impression of movement and animation.

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Gamut: Refers to the color range that a device, such as a printer, can reproduce.

Gatefold: A fold variation, which involves either side of a paper folded inwards, like a closed gate, to create multiple sections.

Gestalt Principles: A set of principles that explain the theory of visual perception. These principles emphasize that people tend to organize what they see into unified groups, based on certain characteristics, such as Similarity, Continuity, Closure and Proximity.

Graphic Elements: Visual elements used on the screen to convey information or facilitate a task.

Graphics: A visual depiction of information, such as an image, a border, a button etc.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): A lossless image format, which contains up to 256 colors, making it less suitable for storing digital photographs. It can also store multiple frames as short animations.

Gradient: A position-based color technique used in computer graphics, in which one shade or color smoothly blends into another. There are many different types of gradients, such as linear and radial.

Graphic Design: The design of visual representation of ideas, symbols, information etc. Specialized fields of graphic design include Logo Design, Web Design etc.

Graphical User Interface (GUI): An interface designed with the use of graphic and visual elements, such as icons, menu bars etc.

Grayscale: A color setting that only displays the colors white, black and a range of 256 gray shades.

Grid: A tool used to organize content by using an outline of horizontal and vertical intersecting lines, distributed equally to form squares of fixed measurements.

Gutter: The blank portion or space, left between text columns and book pages.

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Halftone: A technique that uses a variety of dots to create an image. It uses less ink, which is why it is mostly used in printing out newspaper and magazine images.

Halo Effect: The light that sometimes surrounds the boundary of a bright image, or an anti-aliased image against a different colored background.

Hard Copy: A copy or reproduction of data in the physical form, such as a printout on paper or any other material.

Header: The body of text that is placed at the top of each page in a document, such as the page number or title.

Highlights: The lighter parts of an image.

High-Resolution Image: A sharp image of very high quality i.e. a high number of dots/pixels per inch.

High-Fidelity Prototype: A type of prototype that is very close to the final product in usability and design details.

HLS: An acronym for Hue, Lightness, and Saturation.

HSB: An acronym for Hue, Saturation, and Brightness.

Hue: A characteristic of a color shade, which classifies it as red, blue, green or yellow, relative to its dominant wavelength.

Hybrid Navigation Model: A navigation model, which is a combination of different IA structures, like sequential and hierarchical.

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Icon Graphic: A visual symbol, which is often interactive, and represents a function or information.

Image Links: A hyperlinked image that enables the user to navigate to other webpages by clicking on it.

Image Placeholder: A graphic used in place of the actual image, for various reasons, such as to attract attention to an empty image slot, or to represent image positioning in a sample layout.

Interaction Design (IXD): A process in which technology and communication is used to create successful interactive digital products, environments and services.

Interface: The display, which represents the place of interaction between two systems, such as the user and the product.

Internationalization: The process of developing products and services, which are adaptable to various languages and social settings in different parts of the world.

Ideograph: A graphic symbol, such as an icon or an image, which represents an idea or information without the use of language or words.

Image Map: Defines specific areas in an image, which link the user to different webpages.

Imagesetter: A type of color printer of very high quality; it is often used to print out glossy magazines and newsletters of high resolution.

Imposition: The arrangement of pages in the correct order, to aid efficient printing and binding.

Indents: The spaces left between the start of the text and the margin.

Initial Cap: The large, often fancy, capitalized letter used as the first letter at the start of a book chapter or paragraph.

Inkjet Printer: A type of printer that sprays tiny jets of ink on paper to form characters.

Invert: A tool that reverses the colors and tonal values of an image; the darks become lights and the lights become darks.

Italic: A style setting of type, that usually slopes the letters to the right, resembling a manuscript style, and is used to differentiate some words of more emphasis from the rest.

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JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): A commonly used, lossy file format that stores compressed image files, and varies in file size relative to the image quality.

Justify: A tool used to adjust characters and spaces of text in a way that each line is of the same, even length.

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Kerning: The method used to adjust the spaces between the characters or letters of text.

Key Frame: In animation, it is a specific frame that defines the start or end of a transition. It can also define a particular characteristic of an element, such as its size, color and position.

Keyline: A line that defines the boundaries between areas of different colors.

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Landing Page: A landing page is a webpage that the user arrives at after clicking on a link or a web advertisement.

Layers: In Graphic Design, layers are used to create multiple levels on which different images and graphics can be placed, positioned, organized and edited. Layers can also be merged and grouped.

Layout Graphic: Visual elements that represent and separate content on a webpage.

Leading: Also called line spacing; it is the vertical space between lines of text.

Leaf: A single piece of paper in a book or magazine; both sides of a page form a leaf.

Legend: A reference table explaining the list of symbols used in informational material, such as a map or a chart.

Legible: Legibility is the degree of easiness involved in identifying and distinguishing letters. The more legible a type is, the easier it is to read.

Lorem Ipsum: Placeholder text, or filler text, used in place of the actual text during the designing phase to show what the final product will look like.

Letterpress: A printing method that presses inked movable type against paper to print characters.

Logotype: A kind of logo that is made up of text i.e. letters or words, instead of a graphic symbol, that represents a brand or a company.

Look and Feel: Refers to the visual aspects of a design (the ‘look’), as well as the functionality and application of its elements (the ‘feel’).

Lossless A type of data compression method, in which there is no loss of information or data during the reduction of file size. An example of a lossless data compression format is GIF.

Lossy: A type of data compression method, in which some information is lost during the reduction of file size. An example of a lossy data compression format is JPEG.

Lower Case: Small letters; the opposite of upper case i.e. capital letters.

Low-Fidelity Prototype: A type of prototype, usually in the form of a sketch or an illustration, often used for evaluation of broad ideas and concepts.

Low-Resolution Image: An image of low quality, and is usually pixelated. It has a low number of pixels per inch.

Luminosity: The brightness or glow of in an image or painting, that varies in gradation, intensity or due to reflection/diffraction.

Luminance: Relative brightness and light intensity.

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Magic Wand Tool: A selection tool used in graphic design applications, which allows the user to select areas of an image based on tone and color, instead of shapes and edges.

Margins: The defined boundaries and edges of a page, which you can either increase or decrease. They are also used in graphic applications to measure the dimensions of elements.

Mask: A tool used in graphics software that enables the user to modify or apply changes on to selected, specific areas of an image.

Masthead: The part of a publication or webpage, usually a banner, which displays the title or name of the publication or website, along with its logo, if any.

Monochrome: Photographs and images, which are in either black and white or different tones of a single color.

Monospaced Font: Refers to type that consists of equally spaced letters.

Master Page: A single page with controls that allow the user to define and create a consistent layout in all the subsequent pages.

Matte Finish: A photograph or printing paper that has a non-glossy appearance.

Mean Line: Also known as the midline; it is the invisible line that defines the upper boundary of non-ascending, lowercase letters.

Midtones: The tones ranging between highlights and shadows.

Mock Up: A prototype used in place of the actual project or material, mostly used for evaluation and design purposes.

Modern: A category of type style; modern type is usually characterized by the high contrast between light and heavy strokes, and extremely thin serifs.

Multimedia: Use or incorporation of multiple communication and expression platforms, such as pictures, audio, video and text.

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Navigation: The process of moving between the different pages of a website.

Navigation Design: The design and evaluation of the visual and functional aspects of navigation in a website, usually presented through prototypes and mockups, to achieve the intended task flows and results.

Negative Space: The empty area of a page that does not contain any text or picture.

Neon Glow: A visual effect used in graphics software that creates the bright, illuminating effect of neon lighting on or around an image.

News Print: The low-quality paper used for printing newspapers.

NFT: Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) are assets tokenized on a blockchain. 

Noise: Randomly colored pixels, which appear as speckles on images that reduce its quality and often increase its sharpness.

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Oblique: Also called ‘slash’. A slanting type character used to express the use of alternatives, fractions or different sections of a text.

Offset Printing: A printing method that transfers an inked image from metal plates onto a rubber blanket or rollers first, and then onto a paper or another printing material.

Old Style: A category of type style; Old style consists of very less amounts of contrast between thick and thin strokes, as well as inclined serif.

Opacity: In graphics software, it is the degree of visibility of an object. 0% opacity means that an object, such as an image, is completely transparent, and 100% opacity means that it is fully opaque.

OpenType: A file format for fonts created by Adobe and Microsoft together. It is an extended form of TrueType.

Orphan Line: The opening text line of a paragraph that starts at the end of a page, with the rest of its paragraph continuing on the next page.

Outline: The lines that define the edges and boundaries of objects such as shapes, vector images, and fonts.

Overlay: A type of transparent coating used over an object, such as an image or a map, which allows the addition of further detail or information. It is also a blending effect used in graphics software.

Overprint: To print over an already printed material.

Over Run: Copies of printed material that exceed the amount specified.

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Palette: The range of color used in a particular project or design.

Page Layout: A part of design work that involves the arrangement of visual content on a page.

Page Size: The tool used to set the dimensions of a page.

Page Density: The percentage of content, such as text and images, displayed on the page/screen.

Page Flow: The sequence in which objects and visual elements are arranged on a page.

Page Templates: Preset layouts and settings used for the development and design of websites with a common purpose.

Page Title: The name of the specific webpage found in the title bar of the web browser while the page is open.

Pagination: The process of assigning sequential page numbers to a publication or a piece of information.

Paging: The process of dividing information into separate sections, or webpages, instead of making it accessible by scrolling down a single page.

Panels: Separate, defined sections usually placed on either side of a webpage. They include various types of information other than the content itself, such as navigation and reference links.

Paper Prototyping: A process that involves the creation of prototypes and mock ups of user-interfaces on paper, usually by hand drawing. It is used to test and evaluate the design of a user-interface.

Parallel Design: A method of designing, which involves two or more designers working towards a similar objective, in order to assess and evaluate multiple, alternative solutions and pick the best ideas out of a variety of available options.

Physical Consistency: The term used to measure the consistency of the visual design of a website or webpage. An example of physical consistency is the use of similar fonts throughout the different areas of a website.

Prototype: A model or a mock up, used for testing and evaluation purposes a project’s design, functionality and usability.

Pantone (PMS): A standard set of colors used for printing, each assigned with a particular number.

PDF: The Portable Document Format, or PDF, is a file format created by Adobe Systems, and is widely used for viewing print-ready, image versions of documents containing text and pictures.

Pica: A unit of text size in typewriters, equal to about 10 characters in a one-inch space.

Pixel: The smallest square unit of an image, which holds its own specific color and intensity properties.

Plate: A part of a printing machine, made out of metal or rubber, which contains an inked image to be imprinted on a material, such as paper.

PNG: Stands for Portable Network Graphics. The PNG file extension is a lossless compression format, which contains images of good quality with a relatively small file size.

PPI: The number of Pixels Per Inch; it is a measure of the pixel density, or resolution, of a certain image or display.

Primary Colors: A set of colors, out of which other colors can be obtained, such as by mixing. There are different primary colors for different color models. The subtractive model uses cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) as its primary colors, while an additive model uses red, green and blue as its primary colors.

Pull Quote: A distinctive quotation or part, taken from the main text body, and displayed in a large, often fancy font, and used for emphasis or visual purposes.

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QuarkXpress: An application software widely used by publishers to create and design complex page layouts, such as of brochures and magazines.

Quick Mask: A tool used in graphics software that enables the user to select specific areas of an image by coating them with a partly transparent, colored mask.

Quick Time: A video and animation software created by Apple Computers.

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Radio Button: Also known as the option button, it is a graphical control, which allows only one item to be selected from a given list of options.

Ragged: The opposite of justified, it is the irregular alignment of text.

Rapid Prototyping: A speedy generation of a three-dimensional model using CAD data, for reviewing purposes.

Rasterize: The process of converting vector images or layers into pixel images, or bitmaps.

Resample: To increase or decrease the number of pixels in an image, changing its resolution and display size.

Responsive Web Design (RWD): An approach of web design that involves the use of flexible and fluid layouts and elements, that easily adapt to the user’s screen size, to enhance viewing experience.

Resolution: The number of pixels in an image, or pixels per inch. The resolution of an image determines its quality, clarity, sharpness and even file size.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue): A additive color model which uses illuminated colors that start with black and end up with white with the addition of more color. They are mostly suited for web-based image and graphics.

Rich Media: A term used to describe Web-based advertising that involves the use of interactive and advanced technology, such as Flash, Shockwave etc.

Right Justified: The alignment of text along the right margin.

RIP (Raster Image Processor): A printing component that converts vectors into raster images, or pixel images, during printing.

Rivers: The uneven white spaces left between type when it is justified. They commonly appear in narrow columns and large text size settings.

Royalty-Free Photos: Copyright material such as images and photos, which do not charge a fee for each use. Once sold, they can be repeatedly used by the purchaser.

Rule of Thirds: A technique used in photography and graphic design, which uses horizontal and vertical guidelines and their intersections to create linear and balanced images.

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Saturation: The degree of intensity of a color or a hue. Images with high saturation may look livelier and intensely colorful.

Scale: Resizing the physical dimensions of an image.

Screen Printing: A printing method that uses a mesh and a stencil to transfer ink onto the surface of a material.

Selection: In graphic design, selection is that process of highlighting and isolating specific areas of an image for editing and other such purposes.

Shadow Detail: The amount of detail in the darker parts of an image.

Sharpen: To enhance or refine an image by darkening the dark pixels and brightening the lighter pixels to increase contrast.

Similarity: The principle of visual perception theory that suggests that people perceive similar objects in unified groups.

Site Map: A list of webpages that can be accessed in a website, usually organized in a hierarchical view.

Storyboard: A series of illustrations or visual presentations that depicts the flow of a video shot, or an interface interaction.

Style Sheet: A template with preset layout and font settings, used to create certain standard documents.

Sleek: An elegant, modern and classy design.

Small Caps: In typesetting, they are capital letters with almost the same height as the x-height of the rest of the lowercase letters of the type.

Spread: Content that extends across two pages that are facing each other, such as an advertisement.

Stock Photo: Photographs that can be licensed or purchased for certain purposes, such as for a designer to use.

Subtractive Color: A color model that starts with white and ends with black, with each added color. An example is the CMYK color model (cyan, magenta, yellow and key/black). This color model is used mostly for printing purposes.

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Tagline – A catchy slogan or a short sentence used to identify a company or its functions.

Target audience – A group of people that a certain product, information, image, or message is intended for.

Template – A ready-made design or format, built for quick and easy use by the user to create and edit documents etc.

Text Wrap – The layout of text around an image; the image may be put above, below or in between the text as per the liking of the user.

Texture – The visual physical appearance of a surface. In design, graphic textures such as a paper texture, or a rocky texture can be used to appear like actual surfaces.

Third read – A well thought-out and measured review of a product or a service. It is considered to be the most accurate form of evaluation that requires a high level of expertise to be carried out.

Thumbnail – A small-sized form of the actual image or layout.

Thumbnail Sketch – A sketch of an image or a design prepared by hand to conceptualize designs or solutions. This is usually carried out by designers for brainstorming or evaluation purposes, before the actual on-screen designing takes place.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) – A file format used commonly by graphic designers, to store and exchange raster images.

Timeless – Refers to something which is not affected by time, or changes in contemporary fashion and trends, such as a font or a design.

Tint – The addition of white in any color to make it look lighter or less saturated. Also refers to a variation of a color.

TM (Trademark) – TM refers to the method of branding a certain logo, name or simply an idea as registered for use by a certain company or product.

Tolerance – In graphics software, it is the range of pixels selected by a tool, such as the Magic Wand tool.

Tonal Distribution – The distribution of colors or tones during editing of the image to achieve desired results.

Touchpoints – The points in a customer journey, where the customer and the service provider interact, or come into contact.

Tracking – The even adjustment of spaces between the letters of a text body to change its density or appearance.

Trendy – It is the prevalent style or fashion of a design that the market follows at a certain point in time.

Triadic – A color scheme that consists of three colors that lie equally apart on the color wheel.

Trim Size – The final size of a printed material, after excess has been cut off.

True Color System – A color system that specifies a color using a 24-bit value, which allows a range of over 16.7 million colors.

Typeface A type family that consists of a specific set of characters and fonts.

Typography The art of designing or arranging type.

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Uncoated Paper: A paper with a rough surface that is devoid of any coating and tends to absorb more ink then its coated counterpart.

Unsharp Mask: A technique used to sharpen images by increasing the contrast of pixels.

Uppercase: These are large or capital letters as opposed to small or lower case letters.

User Interface (UI): It is a point of interaction between computers and users; the interaction may be through software or web design.

User interface structure: The way content on web is designed to create particular ease for the user to navigate through the website and explore it.

User-Centered Design (UCD): A type designing method in which users’ needs and wants are put first in each step of the process.

UV Coating: It is a shiny coating smeared onto the surface of the paper, and then hardened using ultraviolet light. This process and adds a glossy finish and a strong layer of protection to the paper.

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Value: It is a measure of how light or dark a certain color is.

Varnish: A hard and transparent coating that is used for protection of the surface.

Vector Graphic: Graphics created using lines, curves, points and polygons based on mathematical expressions. They can be resized without any reduction in quality.

Verso: A page on the left side of a publication.

Visual Hierarchy – The arrangement of visual elements by their importance or significance. For example, making a title bold and large, and subtitle smaller and less emphasized.

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Warm Colors: Colors that are related to high temperatures, and add warmth and liveliness to an image, such as red and orange.

Watermark: A subtle and faded design on paper that identifies its maker when it is exposed to light.

Waterfall model: A design process where progress is measured as flow of the waterfall (top to bottom). Work is passed onto the next step only when the work in the previous step is completed and the progress is assessed at the end.

Web-Safe Colors: 216 solid colors that can be displayed on any monitor screen or web browser that supports 8-bit color display

Weight: The thickness of a stroke. In typesetting, some type families come with different weight settings, such as Light, Regular and Bold.

White Point: A set of values used to define the use of white color in an image. Each white point value will give a different result.

White Point Adjustment: It is the measure of highlighted features in an image.

White Space: Also known as ‘negative space’. It refers to empty spaces on a page or a design, such as margins and gutters, and normally helps avoid suffocation of text or design.

Widgets: Screen-based shortcuts or applications that allow users to interact with the system easily, or carry out specific activities.

WIP: a abbreviation meaning Work in Progress

Wireframe: A simple sketch used to plan and test the structure and functionality of a webpage or a website.

Widow Line: Widow and orphan lines are the isolated text lines at the start and/or end of a page, which are separated from the paragraph or text body that they belong to.

Word Processor: A program that enables the user to create, edit and format text entered from a keyboard that is ready for printing.

WYSIWYG – It is a short form of ‘What You See Is What You Get’ which denotes that the text, layout or image displayed on the screen is a representation of the printed output.

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X-Height: It is the distance between the base of a lowercase letter and its top (excluding those letters that have ascenders or descenders). The average height is thus measured by looking at the letter ‘x’.

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Yellow: One of the primary colors of the subtractive color model, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black)

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Zip: Stands for Zone Information Protocol: It enables a bunch of files to be grouped together and saved by ensuring a relatively smaller file size which can then be sent easily over the internet.

Zoom: It is a feature that allows an object to be either closely inspected by making it appear bigger, or enabling a view from farther away by making it appear smaller.

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