In this video, Adrian Boysel, a seasoned graphic designer, explains the importance of understanding common graphic design terms. He states that as a graphic designer, it is important to have a foundation in terminology in order to effectively communicate and work with other designers and clients. He then goes on to cover 33 essential graphic design terms that are commonly used in the industry, such as alignment, bleed, brand identity, CMYK, contrast, and more.
Adrian Boysel has been working in the graphic design field for many years and has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. He has a strong understanding of the industry and has worked on many projects, from branding and packaging to trade show booth and business card designs. He is passionate about helping others in the industry to understand and use the right terms, to make them more proficient and effective in their work.
33 Graphic Designer Terms – Common Graphic Design Terms
In this video, Adrian Boysel, a seasoned graphic designer, explains the importance of understanding common graphic design terms. He states that as a graphic designer, it is important to have a foundation in terminology in order to effectively communicate and work with other designers and clients. He then goes on to cover 33 essential graphic design terms that are commonly used in the industry.
Alignment refers to making sure that text and elements within a design are aligned properly. This is important to create a visually pleasing and cohesive design. Adrian Boysel explains that when something within a design is not aligned, it is easy to tell and can create a sense of disorganization. He encourages designers to pay attention to alignment in all of their designs, whether it’s for print or digital.
Examples of Alignment:
- Aligning text to the left or right of a page
- Centering an image within a frame
- Aligning multiple elements on a page to create balance
Bleed refers to the extra space in a design that will be trimmed off during printing to ensure that no important elements are cut off. Adrian Boysel emphasizes the importance of using bleeds in all of your designs, whether it’s going to be printed or not. He states that having enough space can make a big difference in the final product, avoiding elements being cut off and creating a cleaner, more professional look.
Examples of Bleed:
- Adding extra space around the edge of a business card design
- Including a background color or image that extends beyond the edge of a flyer or brochure
- Using bleed in the design of a trade show booth to ensure all elements are visible when assembled
Brand identity is the visual version of a brand and includes elements such as a logo, typefaces, color palettes, slogans, and more. Adrian Boysel explains that when designers talk about branding, it usually involves developing all aspects of a brand identity. He highlights the importance of having a strong brand identity to create a consistent image and message for a company.
Examples of Brand Identity Elements:
- Color Palettes
- Tone of Voice
- Marketing Materials
CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and is the color mode used for printing. Adrian Boysel points out that this is different from web which uses RGB. He explains that these four colors are widely used in the printing industry and are important for a designer to understand when working on print projects.
Examples of Use of CMYK in Printing:
- Brochures, flyers, and business cards use CMYK for a professional look.
- Magazines and newspapers use CMYK for high-quality images and graphics.
- Packaging design uses CMYK for color consistency and appeal.
- Large format printing like billboards and banners use CMYK for accurate color reproduction.
- CMYK is commonly used in the printing of clothing for accurate and consistent colors.
Contrast refers to the arrangement of opposite elements on a page, such as light and dark or different colors. Adrian Boysel explains that contrast is a really important term in graphic design and can be used to create visual interest and emphasis in a design. He encourages designers to play with contrast to make their designs stand out.
Examples of Contrast:
- Using black and white colors in a design
- Placing a bright color against a dark background
- Using different shades of the same color to create contrast
Gradients are a gradual change from one color or shade to another, such as fading from red to orange. Adrian Boysel explains that gradients can be used to add depth and interest to a design. He suggests experimenting with different types of gradients to see how they can enhance a design.
Examples of Gradients:
- Fading from dark to light colors
- Gradually blending multiple colors together
- Creating a gradient background for a website or poster design
Hierarchy refers to the organization and direction in design, giving order to text and elements on a page. Adrian Boysel explains that hierarchy is one of the five basic principles of typography design. He emphasizes that having a clear hierarchy in a design can help guide the viewer’s eye and make the design more easily understandable and readable.
Examples of Hierarchy:
- Using different font sizes to indicate importance
- Placing the most important information at the top of the page
- Using color or contrast to draw attention to certain elements
Kerning refers to the space between specific letters or characters and adjusting that space to increase legibility. Adrian Boysel explains that kerning can play an important role in making a text block more readable. He encourages designers to pay attention to kerning when working on typography-based designs to create a more polished and professional look.
Examples of Kerning:
- Adjusting the space between specific letters in a word to improve legibility
- Adjusting the space between all letters in a word to create a more visually pleasing appearance
- Adjusting the space between lines of text to improve readability
Leading refers to the space between the two baseline of text, generally making the text look nicer. Adrian Boysel explains that this term is a graphic design jargon for line spacing and it refers to the space between the two bass lines of the text. He emphasizes that the larger the leading, the more space between the text giving it more room to breathe, and generally making it look nicer, and more readable.
Examples of Leading:
- Adjusting the space between lines of text in a paragraph
- Increasing the leading to improve readability in a long passage of text
- Decreasing the leading to create a more condensed, dense look in a design
A logo mark is a company’s logo that does not contain the brand name. Adrian Boysel explains that this type of logo can be a shape or a character that can be used as a representation of the company. He highlights the importance of having a strong logo mark that can be easily recognizable and memorable. He suggests to be creative and unique to make the logo stand out and make a lasting impression.
Examples of Logo Mark:
- The Apple logo
- The Nike swoosh
- The Twitter bird
- The Mercedes-Benz star
Negative space refers to the area around and between the subject of an image. Adrian Boysel explains that negative space is an important aspect of design that can be used to create balance, emphasis and to draw attention to certain elements in a design. He encourages designers to pay attention to negative space and to use it creatively in their designs.
Examples of Negative Space:
- The space between elements in a design such as the space between letters in a word
- The space around an object in an image
- Using negative space to create balance and emphasis in a design
Opacity refers to the degree of transparency of an object or layer. Adrian Boysel explains that opacity is a useful tool for designers to create depth and interest in a design. He suggests playing with opacity to create a sense of movement or to make certain elements recede into the background.
Examples of Opacity:
- Adjusting the opacity of a layer to create a ghosted effect
- Lowering the opacity of a background image to create a subtle texture
- Increasing the opacity of a text layer to make it more prominent
Pantone is a color matching system used in the printing industry to ensure consistent and accurate colors. Adrian Boysel explains that Pantone colors are specified by a unique number and are used to match colors in print jobs. He encourages designers to familiarize themselves with the Pantone system to ensure that colors in their designs will match correctly when printed.
Examples of Pantone:
- Using Pantone colors for corporate branding and identity
- Matching colors for print materials such as business cards, brochures, and packaging
- Ensuring consistency in colors across different print jobs and media
RGB stands for red, green, and blue and is the color mode used for digital displays such as monitors and screens. Adrian Boysel explains that RGB colors are created by mixing these three colors in different levels of intensity. He encourages designers to be aware of the RGB color mode when working on digital designs, so that colors will be properly displayed on screen.
Examples of RGB:
- Creating colors for web design and digital graphics
- Adjusting colors for display on monitors and screens
- Ensuring color consistency across different digital platforms
Resolution refers to the number of pixels per inch in an image or graphic. Adrian Boysel explains that resolution is an important aspect of design, particularly when working with images and graphics. He encourages designers to pay attention to resolution to ensure that their designs will be clear and crisp when printed or displayed on screen.
Examples of Resolution:
- Using high resolution images for print materials
- Ensuring that graphics and images are optimized for web display
- Adjusting resolution to ensure that designs are not pixelated or blurry
Scale refers to the size of an object or design element in relation to other elements. Adrian Boysel explains that scale is a powerful tool in design that can be used to create emphasis and to guide the viewer’s eye. He encourages designers to experiment with scale to create visual interest and hierarchy in their designs.
Examples of Scale:
- Using different scales for different elements in a design to create hierarchy
- Adjusting the scale of an object to create emphasis or visual interest
- Playing with scale to create a sense of movement or depth in a design
Serif refers to the small lines or embellishments at the end of the strokes of a letter. Adrian Boysel explains that serif fonts are often used in traditional print materials such as books and newspapers. He highlights the importance of choosing the right font for a design, and suggests that designers should consider whether a serif or sans-serif font would be more appropriate for their project.
Examples of Serif:
- Times New Roman
Sans-serif refers to a font without the small lines or embellishments at the end of the strokes of a letter. Adrian Boysel explains that sans-serif fonts are often used in digital designs and on the web because they are easy to read on screens. He suggests designers to consider the context in which their design will be viewed, and whether a sans-serif or serif font would be more appropriate.
Examples of Sans-serif:
- Open Sans
Stock photography refers to pre-existing photographs that can be licensed for specific uses. Adrian Boysel explains that stock photography can be a useful resource for designers looking for high-quality images to use in their designs. He suggests that designers should be careful when using stock photography, and to ensure that they have the proper licenses and permissions for the images they are using.
Examples of Stock Photography:
- Royalty-free images from stock photography websites such as Shutterstock and iStock
- Purchasing the rights to use a specific image for a design project
- Using stock photography as a reference or inspiration for creating original designs
Typography refers to the design and use of typefaces. Adrian Boysel explains that typography plays a crucial role in graphic design, and that designers should have a strong understanding of typography principles and techniques. He suggests experimenting with different typefaces and layouts to create visually interesting and effective designs.
Examples of Typography:
- Choosing a typeface for a design project
- Experimenting with different font sizes, spacing, and alignment to create hierarchy and emphasis
- Using typography to convey a specific mood or tone in a design
Vector graphics are digital images created using mathematical equations. Adrian Boysel explains that vector graphics can be resized without losing quality, and are often used in logo design and illustrations. He suggests that designers should be familiar with vector-based software and techniques to create high-quality graphics that can be easily scaled and edited.
Examples of Vector:
- Creating logos and illustrations using vector-based software such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape
- Scaling vector graphics without losing quality
- Creating precise and clean graphics using vector-based tools
White space refers to the empty or unused space in a design. Adrian Boysel explains that white space can be used to create balance, emphasis and to draw attention to certain elements in a design. He encourages designers to use white space creatively in their designs, and to consider the negative space and the areas around and between the subject of an image.
Examples of White Space:
- The space between elements in a design
- The space around an object in an image
- Using white space to create balance and emphasis in a design
X-height refers to the distance between the baseline and the mean line of a font. Adrian Boysel explains that x-height is an important aspect of typography that can affect the legibility and readability of a typeface. He encourages designers to consider the x-height of a font when choosing a typeface for a design project, as it can greatly impact the overall look and feel of the design.
Examples of X-height:
- The distance between the baseline and the mean line of a font
- Affecting legibility and readability of a typeface
- Consideration of x-height when choosing a typeface for a design project
Y-coordinate refers to the vertical position of an object or point in a design. Adrian Boysel explains that the y-coordinate is one of the two coordinates used in coordinate-based design software to specify the position of an object. He suggests designers to have a good understanding of the X and Y coordinates to be able to position objects precisely and to create accurate designs.
Examples of Y-coordinate:
- Specifying the vertical position of an object or point in a design
- Using y-coordinate in coordinate-based design software such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape
- Creating precise and accurate designs by understanding the use of X and Y coordinates
The Importance of Understanding Graphic Design Terminology
In conclusion, understanding graphic design terminology is essential for any designer, regardless of their level of experience. As Adrian Boysel mentioned in his video, having a strong understanding of terms such as alignment, bleed, brand identity, CMYK, contrast, gradient, hierarchy, kerning, leading, logo mark, Pantone, RGB, resolution, scale, serif, sans-serif, stock photography, typography, vector, white space, x-height and y-coordinate, will allow designers to communicate effectively with other designers and clients, and to create high-quality designs that meet the needs of the project.
By familiarizing yourself with these terms and concepts, you will be able to better understand the design process and to create designs that are visually interesting, effective and professional. Whether you are working on print materials or digital designs, understanding graphic design terminology will give you the tools you need to create high-quality designs that stand out and meet the needs of your clients.