Understanding Design Terms and Jargons

Graphic design isn’t exactly a foreign language. Knowing some of the terms can help you when working with designers. Sure, you can take some time and look up terms as you go through the process, or you can just bookmark this page for reference and we’ll break it down for you. Here are some terms that are frequently used with communicating with your designer and are good arsenal for your design vocab:


The text content in your design, whether it’s for a poster, a book or your website – down to these very words that you’re reading right now – it’s all considered copy.

Serif Typeface
The kind of typeface that has a little something extra at the ends of each letter. Serif typefaces are usually used in cases where the look and feel has to be professional or traditional.


Sans Serif Typeface
The cleaner counterpart of the Serif typefaces, Sans Serifs are modern and usually used in cases where the design needs to look stylish and sharp.


A logomark is essentially an identifying mark for a logo but is not a word. This means that the mark will tell you what the logo is without saying it. Probably the most identifiable example of a logomark is the Apple Inc. apple with a bite missing. It does not say Apple, but you know what it is the second you see it.


On the other end of the spectrum is the logotype, which is a log that is designed around a word. Here, yes the logo says the company name, but it also will have a discernable style and colors and font etc. A universal example here would be Facebook. The white letters, the blue background, we’ve all seen it a thousand times. You know what it is before you even finish reading the word.


Display Type
This is text that you are aiming to put on “display”. This means that you are looking to grab your audience’s attention with this text. It’s sort of like a title for your design.


This stands for Portable Network Graphics. This is an image file format that is for image compression and is intended to eventually replace the popular GIF on the internet.


A GIF is a file format that supports both static and animated picture files. These are widely popular on the internet.


JPEG’s are the most popular file formats for static photo images. It is extremely popular in the use of digital photography.


There are certainly many other terms to look into and learn along the way but these are a good starting point as you begin to get familiar with graphic design and graphic designers. A little knowledge will go a long way in helping you reach your end goal.