52 Design Terms Explained For Marketers

by Ash Read for Buffer.com. (a few key points – full article at link).

These and other articles will be collated into a Nectar360 deck of ‘Beginner’s Guide to Graphic Design & Printing’ for New Starters as well as persons in departments that interact with artwork.)

Typography, text, and font terms

4. Serif

A serif is the little extra stroke or curves, at the ends of letters.

5. Sans-serif

“Sans” literally means “without”, and a sans serif font does not include any extra stroke at the ends of the letters.

9. Hierarchy

Typographic hierarchy is an essential part of any design or layout and even if you’re not familiar with the term, you’ll be sure to have seen hierarchy in action on any website, newspaper or magazine.

10. Kerning

Kerning refers to the space between two specific letters (or other characters: numbers, punctuation, etc.) and the process of adjusting that space improves legibility.

11. Leading

Leading determines how text is spaced vertically in lines. Leading is used when content that has multiple lines of readable text and ensures the distance from the bottom of the words above to the top of the words below has appropriate spacing to make them legible.

12. Tracking

Tracking is similar to kerning in that it refers to the spacing between letters or characters. However, instead of focusing on the spacing between individual letters (kerning), tracking measures space between groups of letters.

13. X-height

The x-height refers to the distance between the baseline and the mean line of lower-case letters in a typeface.


17. RGB

RGB color is a model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. RGB tends to be used for on-screen purposes.

21. Analogous

Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs.

22. Complementary

Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green).

24. CMYK

CMYK is a color model that is used for print purposes. CMYK colors begin as white and then get darker as more colors are combined.

43. Resolution

The resolution of an image determines the quality. As a rule of thumb, the higher the resolution, the higher the quality. A high-resolution image will be clear and crisp whereas a low-resolution image will feel a little pixelated and blurry.

52. Vector

Vector images a made up of points, lines, and curves. All of the shapes within a vector are calculated using a mathematical equation which means the image can scale in size without losing any quality. Unlike rasters, vectors won’t get blurry when scaled. You can find some great vector images to use within your designs on sites like Vecteezy.