Design Terms for Non-Designers: A Visual Guide

Every occupation features its own language, and graphic style is no exception. While talking with customers and the non-designers on the Stryve group, I’’ ve in some cases discovered myself requiring to equate specific words that turn up routinely. (Note that this goes both methods and marketing language regularly discusses my head).

Whether you’’ re reading this due to the fact that you can’’ t analyze the e-mail you simply received from your designer, or you wish to much better articulate your feedback to your designer (value you), here’’ s a lot of terms you ought to acquaint yourself with.

.General Design Terms.

Hierarchy –– The visual plan of style components in such a way that interacts value. Basically, this is how designers inform your eyes where to look. Take this blog site for instance –– the headings are vibrant and huge to show they need to read initially, while the primary text is smaller sized to reveal it ought to be taken a look at 2nd.

White Space –– Sometimes called unfavorable area, this is any location of a style that stays empty. Designers utilize white area as a method to let aspects breathe and to prevent crowding.

Contrast –– The degree of distinction in between 2 components. Contrast can be produced by utilizing any 2 opposing qualities, for instance, dark vs. light, thick vs. thin, circle vs. square, and so on

Balance –– The organizing or circulation of challenge accomplish equivalent visual weight in a style. There are 2 primary kinds of balance:

Symmetrical Balance –– Achieved by dispersing items the exact same method on either side of a style. Basically a mirror image.

Asymmetrical Balance –– Distributing things in a different way on either side of a style, while still appearing well balanced in regards to visual weight.

 Examples of balanced balance and unbalanced balance Alignment –– The lining up of text or other style aspects to attain balance. The 4 primary kinds of positioning are right, left, centred and validated.

Opacity –– The degree of openness or opaqueness of an item. The lower the opacity on a scale of 0-100%, the more transparent it is.


Before we delve into this area, you may be questioning what the word ‘‘ typography ’ even describes. Typography is the art of organizing text in such a way that is understandable, clear, and aesthetically interesting the audience. While you may not have the ability to observe it right away, there’’ s really a lot more believed that enters into typography than simply selecting a great typeface and stopping.

Serif Typeface –– A serif is a little vertical or horizontal stroke at the end of a letter. Any typeface that consists of these is thought about a serif typeface. Believe Times New Roman or Georgia.

Sans-Serif Typeface –– Now that you understand what a serif is, it’’ s simple to presume that ‘ sans serif ’ describes a font style without serifs. This can be any typeface without strokes extending from it. Examples consist of Helvetica, Avenir and even Comic Sans (however possibly wear’’ t usage that a person …-RRB-.


Slab-Serif Typeface –– Any typeface with thick, blocky serifs. Roboto Slab , utilized for the primary title of this blog site, is an example.

Script Typeface –– Any typeface that simulates cursive handwriting and utilizes streaming strokes.

 Visual examples of typefaces

Kerning –– The change of area in between 2 letters. In some cases typefaces put on’’ t represent specific letters looking unusual beside each other. This implies that area in between the letters might require to be increased or reduced to make the word more aesthetically well balanced or readable.

Tracking –– Similar to kerning, tracking is the modification of area in between letters, however for bigger quantities of copy. Instead of altering the range in between private letters, tracking similarly changes the area in between all characters in a line or block of text.

Leading –– Pronounced ““ led ding ”, this is the area in between lines of text. A designer might change the range in between lines of copy for much better legibility or to prevent overlap. Keep in mind needing to format all of your high school essays to be 12pt, Times New Roman, double spaced? You were putting causing utilize without even understanding!

Lorem Ipsum –– Dummy copy utilized to fill area when the copy going into a style hasn’’ t been identified. As soon as material has actually been included, it acts as a placeholder to show how the style will look.

 Kerning, tracking, and leading visual examples

.Branding &&Logos.

This is most likely the location of style language many people get tripped up with, myself consisted of on celebration. While you may often hear words like ‘‘ brand name ’ or ‘ icon ’ being utilized interchangeably, they really have particular significances. It can all get a little complicated so let’’ s stroll through it together.

Brand –– A brand name in fact isn’’ t something visual, however is rather the feeling or principle behind a business or item. Business worths, business culture, the material they promote —– these all amount to form the total brand name and the impression it leaves on the audience.

Brand Identity –– This is the overarching visual identity of a brand name. Taking the principle behind the brand name and imagining it with products like the logo design, company card, letterhead, uniforms, site, and so on

Logo –– Any mark utilized to recognize a brand name. It can include any of the following, or a mix:

Logotype –– A kind of logo design in which the name of the business is the sole recognizing mark and it is aesthetically elegant. Brand names like Coca-Cola and Google utilize logotypes.

Logomark or Icon –– This describes a sign that can be utilized to determine a brand name without the addition of a name. Apple is a fantastic example of this.

Wordmark –– This refers just to the text that goes along with a brandmark or icon. It can likewise describe a logo design that just utilizes type. In our case, it would be our Stryve logo design without the diamond.

 Visual examples of the various kinds of logo designs


Colour is another location of style that can be quite complicated if you aren’’ t acquainted with the terms.


– Palette– The picked series of colours utilized for a style. Coolors is an excellent resource (and my individual favorite) for producing a colour combination.

RGB –– RGB is a colour design utilized for on-screen style and represents Red, Green and Blue. It is additive, indicating it begins with black and reaches white by including more colour.

CMYK –– CMYK is the colour design utilized for printing functions and represents Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black). It is subtractive, suggesting that it begins with white and gets darker as colour is included.

Pantone –– This is a standardized colour system utilized for printing that recognizes colours by particular codes. It’’ s the very best method to guarantee colour consistency throughout a brand name when it concerns print vs. digital products.

Gradient –– The progressive mixing of one colour to another. Gradients can be either direct in which the colours rest on opposite ends of a frame or radial in which one colour beings in the middle and the other rests on the outdoors edge of a things.

Saturation –– The vibrancy or dullness of a colour. An extremely saturated image will be abundant in colour, while an image with low saturation may appear faded or pale.

Hue –– The name offered to a pure colour such as red or yellow.

Value –– This describes the lightness or darkness of a shade. It can be altered by including white or black. Light coloured colors are called tints, while dark coloured colors are called tones.

While I might most likely compose an entire whack of blog sites on typography terms alone, ideally, this distilled list of crucial style terms assists you out. Style is an ever-changing market and some of these terms will come and go or even take on brand-new significances as time passes. When dealing with a designer, put on’’ t hesitate to ask concerns.