• Koh Designs LTD

Design Jargon for Dummies

We will hold our hands up to this - using words that are relevant to the industry but no one else has any clue what we are on about. We talk about copy, stock images, sans serif fonts, and expect you to know what the hell we are on about. Truly we are sorry, they have become the everyday normal for us and sometimes we forget that its not your ‘normal’. But don’t worry below are some keywords that would be great for you to know when talking to your designer so you don’t miss a beat!





Alignment - the way that the different elements in a design are arranged, usually in relation to a page or document. For example - right aligned means you would like everything to come from the right side of the page.


Bleed - is a printing term that refers to the edges of the sheet that will be trimmed off. On all items of print design that we produce we make sure that images and colours extend all the way off the edge to allow for any printing and cutting errors.


Brand Identity - the visual representation of a brand. The brand identity is made up of everything that relates to the brand—logos, typefaces, colour palettes, slogans, tone of voice, website, packaging and other marketing material. When we talk about ‘Branding’ we are referring to all of the above.


CMYK - is the colour mode which should be used when designing for print - and refers to 4 colours. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black.


Copy - is any form of text that will go into a document. Someone who writes this information is called a copyrighter.


Crop Marks - also known as trim marks, crop marks indicate to a printer where the paper should be trimmed.


Embossing/Debossing - refers to a printing technique where the design can either be lifted (emboss) or sunk into the material (deboss).


Kerning - relates to the space in-between two letters. By adjusting the space between the letters it can help to increase the legibility of words.


Mock-up - this is a realistic representation of the what the design will look like. We often use these to showcase business cards as it helps the viewer get an idea of what the printed product will look like.


Monochrome - using one colour to create a colour palette. Monochrome images can be made using different shades and tones of one colour, and doesn’t always refer to just grey scale.


Place holder text - this is made up text that will be placed in a document to help you get an idea of how many words are needed and what it will look like once all of the copy is placed into the document.


Proof - this is a mock-up or sample of work for you to look over and make sure everything is set to your liking before going live online or to print.


Resolution - is used to denote the quality of an image—it can generally be assumed that the higher the resolution, the better the quality of the image. You can tell if the resolution is too low as the image will appear blurry or pixelated.


RGB - stands for Red, Green and Blue and is used by designers when creating something digital. This allows the colours to be nice and bright on screen.


Sans Serif - is a font style that doesn’t have the little flicks on its letters, much like the font used in this article! Sans means ‘without’.


Serif - is a font style that does have flicks on its letters. A famous version that you might have heard of is Times New Roman.


Stock Photo - are licensed images that designers are able to use so they don’t have to set up a photo shoot every time they need a specific image.


Vector - is an image that can be resized to any size without losing quality. These are normally digital, computer generated images.


White space - doesn’t just refer to the colour white, it is actually the space around a design that allows it to have breathing room. If you fill up too much white space, chances are the consumer will end up taking in less information then you wanted.


We hope this has helped, even just a tad! Feel free to give us a call or DM us on socials for more tricks and tips on entering the Graphic Design world!


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