Graphic Design Terms for Non-Designers

Here are some common graphic design terms goodies 🍬 for you non-designers out there!

RGB colour model

When it comes to colour models, there are 2 most commonly mentioned colour models – RGB & CMYK.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is a colour model that’s used for on-screen purposes. Red, green, and blue light are added together to reproduce a broad array of colours.

CMYK colour model

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) is a colour model used for print purposes. CMYK colours begin as white and get darker as more colours are combined.

graphic design terms colour mode RGB CMYK

When it comes to designing, RGB has a wider colour range than CMYK. You can create much brighter and saturated colours in RGB on screen than can ever be printed in CMYK.

Lorem Ipsum (aka ‘Dummy copy’)

graphic design term lorem ipsum

Lorem ipsum is a generic filler text used when the real text is not yet available. It’s used as placeholder text to show how a design will look once the real body copy has been included.


graphic design terms tracking

Tracking refers to the spacing between letters.

Leading (pronounced ‘ledding’)

graphic design terms leading

Leading refers to the vertical spacing between lines of text.

Stock Photo

Stock photos are professionally shot photographs that’s available online on stock image websites.

graphic design stock photo

While there are a variety of paid stock image websites online, there are also stock image websites where you can get photos free, even for commercial use!

Check out our favourite free stock image websites – Unsplash and Pexels

Raster Images

graphic design term raster

Raster images are comprised of individual pixels of colour. Each colour pixel contributes to the overall image. When you change the size or stretch a raster image, it can get a little blurry and lose some clarity.

Vector Images

graphic design terms vector

Vector images are made up of shapes calculated using a mathematical equation. This means the image can scale in size without losing any quality. Unlike rasters, vectors won’t get blurry when scaled.

When you are creating a graphic for print or designing a logo, it’s highly recommended that you save them in a vector format. The industry-standard software that graphic designers use to create vectors is Adobe Illustrator.

And if you ever are looking for a place to learn Adobe Illustrator, join Lookeesan’s private Adobe Illustrator workshop! Check out more information here.

There are tons more graphic design terms out there which I didn’t manage to include. What others have you heard of before? Share them in the comments below!

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