Do graphic designers speak a different language to you?

When you’re in a meeting with a design agency do you often feel like you’re just going along with what they’re saying, nod and say yes politely? Below is a list of some key words and phrases commonly used in graphic designers lingo, so finally you can understand what they’re talking about!

Bleed: When designing for print, designers add bleed to the document to leave space for the design to extend past the trim edge i.e. if the print is 297 x 210 mm, the design will be 300mm x 213mm.

CMYK: Is the most common colour mode for printed products and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

RGB: Is the colour mode read by computers and the web. RGB stands for Red Green Black and anything designed for web use should be created using RGB colour mode.

Gradient: A gradual transition of colours. Like the way the sky fades from blue to red during a sunset.

PDF (portable document format): A document format which is readable on most computers using Adobe Acrobat (a free software programme), and makes it easy for Apple macs to read files made on a PC. A PDF file makes it easy to send artwork to clients and printers without affecting the design.

Vector: A graphics format that uses shapes and lines to form graphical images. Vector graphics aren’t affected by resolution and no matter how big you make the image all edges will remain crisp, smooth and clear. This makes Vector designs perfect for logos.

EPS: Is a file format of which vector based graphics are usually saved, so that they can be easily opened and edited, for type, colour etc.

Mock-up / Concept: This is often used in packaging design to show how a design would look on a box or other type of package. It is used to give the client a better idea of the final product. It can also be used in web design to show a rough approximation of what the final website would look like in a screen shot of a browser.

There are many more words/phrases in graphic design vocabulary, but I don’t want to overload your brains! I hope this is a useful tool for when you next talk to graphic designers.