Graphic terms for non-graphic people - Concept C, Agence Web

Graphic terms for non-graphic people

“Breech”, “atheromatosis” or “bract” are NOT words used in graphics. You might recognize these words if you’re a mechanic, doctor, or florist, but if not, you probably won’t need to remember them. In branding, however, sometimes it is required to understand some technical aspect of your identity to better represent or explain your brand.

The graphic designer works with you and must show some of your personal characteristics and your business to your target customers through an image. It is therefore important that you speak the same language since communication is at the heart of a good branding concept.

We will see 11 of these terms below. Don’t worry, we don’t know what a “bract” is either.


1. Typography

This is all the text arrangements: size, alignment, font choices, kerning (spacing between letters), line spacing, layout, etc. This is one of the most important graphic concepts. We even wrote a full article on the subject. There you will find lots of other terms like serif, script, and why Comic Sans must die.

2. Active space and negative space

Active white is an area in the workspace that has no visual elements or text . It’s active because it interacts with the design to enhance it (it doesn’t have to be white). It is very important to include it since it allows the design to breathe and offers a better hierarchy of information. This is what gives a visual the impression of being modern and uncluttered. It leads the eyes on what’s important.


Negative space is one of the components of active space since it is the outer and cut out part of the shape. This part can be used to hide a message or create an optical illusion. Sometimes the absence of matter is a stronger message than its presence. A great example is the arrow in the Fedex logo.


3. Composition and variations

This is the location, size and angle of the graphic elements. We compose an image with blocks of text, images and graphic shapes. A variation of a composition is the slight modification of the composition in order to apply it to a different format or media. Example: an advertisement on a web page that will also have to be printed. They don’t have the same ratio or demands of resolution.

4. Color theory and color codes

Color theory encompasses the concepts of the use and function of color. It includes primary, secondary and tertiary colors, harmonies, color codes, color emotions and more. It’s so vast, so complex that it deserves a blog post in itself. If you’re wondering what RGB, CMYK, and complimentary mean, read the article below: The Theory of Color.


5. Icons

Icons are simplified illustrations used to convey a warning, direct or quickly inform the user. Examples: toilet signs, arrows or other symbol. It is an integral part of signage, but they can also be used graphically or to support an idea, a concept. They must be clear and easily recognizable.

6. Die line, die cut

All of these terms refer to invisible lines that are used to cut a printed document. These cuts can be straight or take specific shapes, such as a cookie cutter on the document. They are used a lot in the packaging industry. There are also fold lines in these documents which are used to know the direction and location of the folds.


7. Resolution

It’s the clarity and precision of an image. This is calculated by the number of dots (pixels) per square inch. The more dots, the better the resolution. For more details and clarity, see our article on image resolution here.

8. The bleed

When making documents that will be printed, it sometimes happens that an image comes out of the frame of the page. In order to avoid a white line when printing or cutting the document, you must extend the image beyond the page. This is called a bleed.


9. Transparent background

When we need a transparent background, or no background, this is a .png extension in most cases. This is a background that appears tiled gray and will disappear completely when placing the logo or illustration on a background of another color.

10. Orphans

An orphan is a layout term. This is when there is a single word on the last line of a paragraph. Orphans should be avoided as they interfere with reading and ergonomics. In addition, they are not very visually pleasing.


11. Lorem Ipsum

If you’ve laid eyes on any document to approve, you’ve probably seen the famous Lorem Ipsum there. This is a placeholder text that is used to visualize a block of text in the publication. This allows you to determine the ideal size, font and alignment without requiring real text. If the text has not already been written, this can also offer a preview of the number of words needed to fill the space.

There are still hundreds of terms that might interest you, and we can never have enough of one article to describe them all to you. Next week, we’re going to find out about web-related terms like SEO, bandwidth, plugins etc.

Bract won’t be a highlight, but we’ll tell you anyway, it’s part of the flower. And there you go! Now you can relax and sleep soundly 😉

Author avatar