Graphic Design Glossary

Jargons of our trade

Achromatic: The non-colors, which are black, white, and gray.

Adobe Acrobat: Applications to create and view PDF files.

Adobe Illustrator file format (.AI files): AI files was developed by Adobe Systems for Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Adobe Photo file format (PSD.files): PSD files are the native bitmap file format for Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Acrobat Viewer: Application to generate and see or view PDF files (Potable Document Files).

Agate: A type size of 5 1/2 points

Agate line: An agate line in newspaper classifieds is a measurement indicating a 1/4-inch depth by one column width. There are 14 agate lines in a one-column inch.

Air: The large white areas in a design layout.

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Airbrush: A compressed air tool that distributes a fine mist of paint or ink. It is normally used in illustration and photo retouching.

Alley: The space between columns on a page.

Aliasing: This term is function to aliasing spatial, , which is noticeable as visible pixelation - a blocky or jagged effect - especially with close to horizontal or close to vertical lines of high contrast.

Alignment: The aligned position of type or art material on a horizontal or vertical line.

Alphabet length: The measured length of the lowercase alphabet of a certain size and series of type.

Animated Gif: The Graphic Interchange Format (.gif files), developed by CompuServe which is a bitmap-based format designed for use on the World Wide Web.

Anchor Point: The point that remains unmoved when you stretch, scale, mirror, or skew an object. Anchor points communicate to the eight handles that display when an object is selected.

Annual report: A booklet or book that explains the progress and accomplishments of an organization during a certain time period.

Anti-alias: The blending of pixel colors on the perimeter of hard-edged shapes, like type, to smooth undesirable edges.

Anti-aliasing: The merger of pixel colors on the perimeter of hard-edged shapes, such as type, to smooth unwanted edges (jaggies).

Alpha channel: A unique 8-bit grayscale channel that's purpose is for saving a selection in graphics programs.

Arms: The parts of letters that branch out from the stem of a letter, such as: "K" and "Y".

Arrow keys: Direction keys that move or "nudge" selected objects in small increments.

Arrowhead: A symbol shaped like an arrowhead that is used in an illustration to direct a leader line.

Art Director: The artist who is responsible for the overall look and conceptual development of a piece of artwork or the package of pieces.

Art lined envelope: An envelope that is lined with an extra fine paper.

Art paper: A paper evenly coated with a fine clay compound, which creates a hard smooth surface on one or both sides.

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Artwork: All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts, etc. that is prepared for reproduction.

Ascender: in type, the parts of lowercase characters that go above the x-height of the font, e.g. b, d, f, h, k, I, and t.

Aspect Ratio: The ratio of the width of an image to its height.

AutoCAD Drawing Database (.dwg files): AutoCAD files are vector files used as a native format for AutoCAD drawings.

Alpha channel: A special 8-bit grayscale channel that is used for saving a selection.


Background: The portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears farthest from the eye; the surface where the main artwork is displayed

Backslant: Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction

Balance: Balance is a term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements.

Balloon: In an illustration, any line that encircles copy or dialogue.

Banner: The title or name of a periodical such as a newspaper or magazine, which is seen on the cover and on the first page. It displays the name of the publication, serial information such as the date, volume, and number.

Bank paper: A thin uncoated paper used for making carbon copies.

Banker's flap envelope: Sometimes referred to as the wallet flap where the flap has more rounded flap edges.

Baseline: In type, the imaginary horizontal line where the main body of the letters sits. However, rounded letters really dip below the baseline in order to give optical balance.

Bastard: Any non-standard or nonstandard element, such as a font that is unlike the set of fonts that appear.

Bauhaus: A design school in Germany where the Sans Serif font was originated.

Bevels: Bevels are another way in which you can give an object a three-dimensional appearance. A bevel creates the illusion that an object's extruded edges are cut at an angle.

Bezier Line: A line drawn one section at a time by adding nodes with the Bezier tool.

Bible paper: A thin but strong paper used for bibles and books.

Bit Depth: The number of binary bits that describe the shade or colour of each pixel in a bitmapped image.

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Bitmapped Image: An image composed of grids of pixels or dots.

Bit-mapped (mode): The paint graphics mode that describes an image made of pixels where the pixel is either on meaning black or off meaning white.

Black (font): A font, which has more weight than the bold version of the same typeface.

Blind emboss: A design or bas break impression that is created without using inks or metal foils.

Block in: To sketch the primary areas and points of reference of an illustration in groundwork before going to the final design.

Block quote: A long quotation. Normally these four or more lines are set apart to ensure order to distinguish visibly the author's written words from what the author is quoting.

Blueline proof: A photographic process where flats are revealed to blacklight and developed to create blue lines of copy that are proofread before a project goes to press.

BMP: The Windows bitmap file format (.bmp files) was developed as a standard for representing graphic images as bitmapped images.

Body: The main portion of the letter character not counting the ascenders and descenders.

Body copy: Refers to the small type containing the main portion of the message in an ad or a publication.

Body size: The point size of a particular type character.

Boldface: Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it stand out more than the other type.

Book: A universal classification to describe the papers used to print books; the standard size is 25x38 inches.

Book: A printed work that has more than 64 pages.

Brace: A character " }" used to assemble lines, or phrases.

Break for color: In layout design, the term for dividing or separating the art and copy elements into single colour paste-up sheets.

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Bristol board: A board paper with various thicknesses, which has a smooth finish and is used for printing and drawing.

Brochure: A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

Brownline proof: A photographic proof made by exposing a flat to UV light making a brown image on a white background. Sometimes called silverprint.

Bullet: A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to highlight its importance.

Burn: A term used in plate making to describe the amount of plate exposure time.

Byline: is a credit line for the author of an article.


Callout: A clarification label for an illustration, which is often drawn with a leader line pointing to a certain part of the illustration.

Camera-ready copy: Final publication material that is ready to be created into a negative for a printing plate. This can be a digital file or print and images on a board.

Caption: A title for an illustration. Usually a brief phrase that will compliment the rest of the text.

Cap height: In type, it is distance from the baseline to the top of the capital letters.

Cap line: An unseen horizontal line running across the tops of capital letters.

Caps & lower case: Instructions in the typesetting process which indicates the use of a capital letter to begin a sentence and the remaining letters in lower case.

Caps & small caps: Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

Centered: Text placed at an equal distance from the left and right margins.

CGI script: An external application that is executed by an HTTP server in reply to an action you execute.

Character: Any letter, number, punctuation, symbol, or space

Choke: In commercial printing choke is a form of trapping which is created by extending the background object into the foreground object.

Clip art: artwork that is already created which is for sell or made for distribution for clipping and pasting into publications. Clip art is available in a various forms such as downloadable, CD, disk, electronic form, and hard copy books.

Colour bars: This term used for a colour test strip.

Colour separation: The process of creating separate negatives and plates for every colour of ink, which includes cyan, magenta, yellow, and black that will be used to create the illustration or publication.

Colour spacing: Adding spaces to congested areas of words or word spacing to accomplish a more pleasurable appearance after the line has been set normally.

Column gutter: This is the space between columns of type.

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Comprehensive layout (comp): A blueprint of the publication, showing how the type will be set including the position, the treatment, sizing, and placement of any illustrations on the page.

Condensed font: A font where the set-widths of the characters is narrower than in the standard typeface.

Continuous tone: Artwork that contains gradients of gray, instead of black-and-white line art. Photographs and some drawings, like charcoal or watercolor, require treatment to achieve continuous-tone art.

Copy: Generally refers to text, typewritten pages, word-processing files, typeset galleys, or pages. However, in some cases it can refer to all source materials including text and graphics.

Copyfitting: The placing of a variable amount of copy within a specific and set amount of space.

Counter: In type, it is an enclosed area within a letter, in uppercase, lowercase, and numerical letterforms.

Crop marks: On mechanical, horizontal and vertical lines which show the edge of the printed material.

Cropping: For artwork, cutting out the extraneous parts of an image normally related with a photograph.

Cutlines: descriptive text, most likely full sentences that offer information about drawings and illustrations. Cutlines are many times called captions or legends.


Descender: In type, it is the part of the letterform that goes below the baseline; normally this is the case with lowercase letters and a few punctuations, however some typefaces have uppercase letters with Descenders.

Dingbat typeface: A typeface created with non-alphabetic marker characters such as arrows, asterisks, encircled numbers, or even icons.

Discretionary hyphen: A hyphen that only occurs if the word appears at the end of a line, not if the word appears in the middle of a line.

Display type: Large and/or decorative type used for headlines and as graphic pieces in displays. Usually the sizes are 14, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, and 72 point.

Dither: is for digital halftones and is the creation of a flat bitmap by simply running dots off or on. All dots are the same size there are simply more dots in dark areas and less dots in light areas - instead of the deep bitmaps used in gray-scale images.

DPI (dots per inch): This is the unit of measurement, which is used to describe the resolution of a printed output. The most common desktop laser printers output at 300 dpi. Medium-resolution printers output at 600 dpi. Image setters output at 1270-2540 dpi.

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Duotone: A halftone image printed with two colors, one is dark, and the other is light. The same photograph is halftoned twice. This is done by using the same screen at two different angles whereas this combing of the two improves the detail and contrast.


Egyptian type: Bold face type with heavy slabs or square serifs.

Em space: A space as wide as the point size of the types.

En space: A space half as wide as the type is high.

Expanded (font): A font whereas the fixed widths of the characters are wider than standard typeface. This is in reference to the characters.

Extended type: These are typefaces that are horizontally wide. Examples: HELLENIC, LATIN WIDE, EGYPTIAN EXPANDED, and MICROGRAMMA EXTENDED

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