Close up of the word “design” and surrounding copy in a dictionary.


The world of graphic design encompasses a variety of topics, tools, and terms. Whether used for branding, print or web, each of these are helpful when trying to understand the basics.

Here are 15 words everyone on your marketing team should have in their design-inspired vocabulary:

An overall depiction of who an organization is and what the business is trying to convey. The brand is the identity, made up of fine details to encapsulate an organization’s message and values.

Brand Guidelines
Above all else, this is a brand's rulebook. It breaks down the parts and pieces that make up a visual identity and outlines a set of guiding principles to ensure consistency and uniformity through every avenue of communication. Think logo usage, color palette, typography, and image standards.

Color Value
This is used to describe code or numerical designation when referring to CMYK, Pantone, RGB or HEX values. Check out: 4 Basic Color Spaces and How They Apply to Your Brand.

A framework or layout system used to ensure accuracy when placing or aligning objects. A grid relies heavily on rows and columns.

Purposefully used to ensure visual elements are organized in order of importance. For example, a large, bold headline attracts the eye before small body copy.

A visual mark or symbol meant to be a representation of an organization. Some logotypes include wordmark, letter mark, or icon-based, to name a few. Check out: Different Logotypes and Why it Matters.

Lorem Ipsum
Also known as dummy text, this is derived from a scrambled form of Latin by Cicero, used as a placeholder when creating designs or layouts to demonstrate the text element of the presentation. It illustrates the form of the content before the final content has been produced.

An arrangement of colors working together to create a brand’s color scheme. A palette is part of a brand’s visual identity, and things like color theory are explored to help tell a story visually. With this, Pantone and CMYK values (print), as well as RGB and HEX codes (digital/on-screen) are defined to ensure colors are unswerving in every use.

Refers to the DPI (dots per inch) or PPI (pixels per inch) and the overall quality of an image. The most common range is 72 PPI for screen resolution use or 300 DPI for print resolution.

A series of fonts with similar design features. This offers a difference in weights, styles or sizes. For example, Helvetica Light, Helvetica Regular, Helvetica Bold and Helvetica Black are known as fonts. However, Helvetica is the typeface (or font family) for this group.

Clear and strong core beliefs that help deliver a brand’s promise, what it stands for, and why it matters.

What an organization strives to do and what sets them apart. This vision should be explained, communicated and nurtured through all touch points.

Visual Identity
How a brand looks. It breathes a particular look and feel. It’s the organization’s personality and creating consistency in a brand’s identity lets people make a connection; building trust and recognition along the way.

A standard in how an organization communicates and how they want to be perceived – ensuring every avenue supports that goal. It’s how a brand sounds. Think about adjectives like friendly, casual, and informative. Your team can apply rules such as; always write your valuable content in an active voice.

White Space
Although not necessarily needing to be white, this refers to the unused, negative space surrounding design elements, whether in print or web layout. It’s used to create balanced design, page hierarchy and allows an audience to breathe when looking at a brand touchpoint visually.

Resources: For an extended list of terms, including file formats, typography, web topics, and print-related lingo, right click to download our Extended Design Lingo Glossary.

Aedieno is a boutique creative agency. To discuss branding strategies, or your everyday graphic design, please contact us.

Updated 2019

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