16 Must Know Terms In Graphic Design

Feb 2014

Posted by: Category:Graphic Design

Serif & Sans Serif

Serif Is the type of fonts that have crossing stroke i.e. tips at the end. For example, Times New Roman & Courier fonts are Serif fonts while Sans Serif fonts are modern fonts with no strokes at ending. For example, Arial and Helvetica are Sans Serif fonts.Serif fonts are used to give classic appeal to graphic designs and they are more readable with prints while Sans Serif fonts are used to give modern appeal to graphic designs and they are believed to be more readable with online content.


Mockup means real prints of design. Clients who want to have idea of how actual designs will look in reality, may ask the designer for mockups. A mockup doesn’t always need to be a real print of graphic design. It also can be realistically rendered photos of the design looking quite similar to a real one. It is also called proof, paste-up, blue-line or wireframe depending upon the context in which it is used. See an example of realistic business card mockup here

Negative Space

Negative space is background space of the central image. For example, if there is an image of black elephant in complete white background, the white background will be considered as negative space. Negative space is very useful to make your graphic designs appealing and creative. See few great examples of using negative space creatively here.

Swipe Files

Swipe files or tear sheet is collection of designs/things that inspires you. For example, if you are a graphic designer with great affection to typography, you may have a collection of designs making brilliant use of typography. This collection will inspire you to create new design ideas for your clients.


Abbreviation of “what you see is what you get”. This phrase is used in graphic designs and online content where the actual form of design or content is directly shown to user removing any background coding in it. It gives you direct idea of how your content will look when it is published or printed.

White Space

Unused/non-image area of design which is not the part of actual design i.e. margins or gutters.


Use of texts and different font styles to create evocative images. For example, see this image

Portrait & Landscape

Portrait is type of image in which correct viewing format is vertical while in landscape, correct viewing format is horizontal i.e. portraits will have more length compared to its width while landscapes will have width more than its length.


Plate means the basic image carrying surface for graphic designs i.e the surface on which the design is going to be printed. For example, card board can be plate for a business card design.


Type of printing in which image area and non-image area exist on same plane i.e. plain surface which is neither embossed nor engraved. For example a simple flyer design.


An image or design with fading borders. For example, see this image.


Design, image or logo created by combining two or more letters. For example see this image or this one.


Letterpress prints are design prints with some embossed or engraved elements in it. For example, see this image


Process of reducing space between characters in the word for creating particular design aesthetics. See this image to understand it.


DPI is abbreviation of dot per inch. It is a unit used to specify resoultion of image. Most commonly used standard for prints is 300 DPI. The higher the DPI, the clearer and larger the image can be.

Bleed Area

Marginal area provided in image by designers to accommodate with unwanted cutouts in design. For example, see these image.

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