Design Glossary



Leading graphic software company. Develops the famous Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, Illustrator, among others.

After Effects

Adobe video animation / manipulation software. With it you can do everything from text scrolling to helicopters being destroyed by burning meteorites from space.


Organization of objects on a canvas. Objects can be aligned right, left, or centered. Objects can also be aligned using other objects as a reference.


It is an "extra" channel (in addition to red, green and blue channels) in digital images that represent transparency. This means that an alpha-channel image may have parts where whatever is behind it becomes apparent.


Technique where images are displayed at fast speed in a short time to give notion of movement to graphic elements. The most common formats that support this layer are GIF and PNG.


It is the overlay of cropped images in order to generate a different result by merging original images.


Base is the underside of an object, font, or layout.

Between lines

Space between two lines of text.


File type. It is usually represented by an acronym that comes just after the file name.

Bevel and Emboss

Effect that can be applied in fonts or objects, giving the impression that they are three-dimensional. Most graphic software (such as Photoshop) generates this effect automatically. Because of the ease with which it is applied, it ended up being poorly used in the 90's and now its exacerbated use can be seen as bad design, so be careful when using this effect.

Bitmap (BMP)

Translating literally: bitmap. That is exactly what a digital image is! When we have a digital image, if we magnify (zoom) the image enough, we will have several squares, right? These squares are called pixels. These pixels are arranged in rows and columns to form a coherent image. And this is what we call a bitmap: a series of small squares arranged in a large space, as if it were a map where each square has its pre-established place in order to generate a coherent image.


When the designer works with a layout for printing purposes, he should make the art a size slightly larger than the final product. The cut marks delimit the final size of the art, but this leftover exists to avoid having a blank space on one side of the art if the refile is not accurate.


Blur effect. There are several different types of blur, such as gaussian blur or motion blur.


It is not the logo, symbol or graphic mark. Brand is the essence of the brand. It is more related to the ludic and conceptual sense represented by a brand, For example, Coca Cola does not represent soft drinks, juices, and other industrialized beverages. Coca cola represents a happy and optimistic lifestyle.


It is a document used as a guide for a design project. This document specifies basic points about the project, optimizing the time and reducing the chance of errors and refactorings.


Tool found in various graphic software, the brush usually simulates brushes. Programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator allow the customization of brushes, where it is possible to use any graphic as a brush, generating repetition of it and adding textures to the final work.


Color scale used for printing. Whenever we are going to work with an image that will be printed (and not just digitally used), we must work with the CMYK scale. CMYK means cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When we are going to print an image - if special colors like gold, silver, fluorescent colors, etc are not used - all the colors seen on the printout are the result of the mixing of these four colors.


It is the name given to the desktop in a graphics software. It can also be called screen (literal translation) or stage.

Chromatic circle

It is a simplified representation of the colors perceived by the human eye.

Complementary Colors

They are colors that present the greatest contrast between them. They stand on opposite sides of the chromatic circle. By the definition of Michel Eugene Chevreul, in the nineteenth century, the complementary color of a matrix is he one that most absorbs its spectrum.


When we are talking about design, we speak immediately of concept. A graphic piece without concept is just art. Thus, concept is what gives the graphism a significance, a motive. The concept is developed and established before the creation of the graphic piece, because it is the concept that will guide all this creation. Through the concept, we can know what colors we will use, what kind of source, what kind of illustration, which ones best references.

Conformity / Cohesion

Harmonization between elements of a graphic piece consciously. Things make sense and have a relationship within a layout.


This tool serves to crop a specific piece of an image, where you lose all information outside the selection of that tool. So cropping is nothing more than "cutting an image".


When we say we want a logo in curves, it means we want the logo vectorized.

Cut Mark

In printed graphics products, cut marks are small lines created to delimit where the layout will be cut to avoid that white frame around the paper.


From the English "dot per inch", literally translates as "dot per inch". Therefore, this property of a bitmap image determines the amount of dots present in an inch. This is directly related to image resolution. An image, to be printed in acceptable quality, should be 300dpi. For digital use, 72dpi is enough. 


Activity consisting in the organization and distribution of textual information and images in a pre-established page. A good layout results in a well-readable page - regardless of the amount of text - that is well-structured and visually balanced.

Drop shadow

Visual effect that simulates automated shading by most graphic software. It works simply by just duplicating the original shape with an offset (which can be set) and a blur effect to give the impression of shading.


Acronym for "frame per second" is the property of a video / animation that determines the amount of images that will vary each second of a video / animation. This property can also be called a "frame rate". Below is a comparison between animations at 15 frames per second, 30 fps and 60 fps.


Fibonacci numbers are part of the Fibonacci sequence, which is a numerical sequence where the next sequence number is the sum of the last two numbers: 1, 1, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 ... This sequence is known as the law of proportion found in nature, proportion that so-called golden proportion or proportion of gold.

Flat design

It is a more simplistic design that uses shapes with plain colors, without shading and gradients.


They are different types of letters.


Size of a file. Extension of a file.


When we work with videos / animations, what we see is a lot of images in sequence with small variations between them, giving the sensation of movement. Each of these images is called a frame. Therefore, frame is the smallest part of a video / animation.


That's when we have the gradual and smooth transition between colours.


Mesh divided into rows and columns used to organize and delimit a graphic space. Helps organize and harmonize graphic pieces, especially in cases where large blocks of text are to be distributed across the page.

Guide Lines

Also called by the guidelines, they are "imaginary" lines that you create in your layout to have alignment references. These lines are usually well-colored colors, so they do not get confused with your layout and do not appear in the final result.


HyperText Markup Language. Basic programming language used on the internet.


Latest HTML upgrade that enables advanced interaction functions, such as code generated animations.

Height "X"

It is the measure that represents the height (x-axis) of a graphic element (image, source, object, etc.). It can be given in several measurement units, such as centimeters, millimeters, inches, pixels, etc.

Hex Code

It is the color code for web standards, written with the # sign followed by six digits.


Market-leading vector image software developed by Adobe.


Market-leading diagramming software developed by Adobe.


It is a graphic product intended for the explanation of data in a clear and simplified way.


The acronym stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This extension enables you to save high-resolution bitmap images in more compact sizes. This format has no alpha layer (one of the reasons that guarantees a smaller file size).


Layers allow designers to work with overlapping images, making it easy to edit and manipulate images. The vast majority of graphic software supports layers.


Layout is a term widely used in graphic design because "create layouts" is one of the greatest functions of a designer. Layout is nothing more than the end product of a graphic design. It's art.


The term is not used in the languages hat created the craft / science of design. Logo and tag have the same meaning and being used together generate redundancy. The term is widely used among advertisers, but is not very well seen among designers.


When a logo has a text support, we call the total logo symbol. It is the union of a logo and a text. See the example below for the Facebook logo.

Motion graphics

It is a specific category of animation that animates graphics. It is a very simple type of animation that manipulates objects in a more limited way, where the movements are based on rotations, scaling, repositioning and so on.


It is the property that objects possess to have transparency. Thus, an object can have a variety of transparencies, and can be partially visible in a layout through opacity control.


Main feature of serif fonts. It is a small extension at the ends of the letters.


Line around an object or source.


The timeline is used in videos and animations. It is in the timeline that the scenes are organized or objects are animated. The timeline is a horizontal space where you can view, edit and manipulate different objects or clips, achieving view their variations over time.


Acronym for User Experience. A UX designer is responsible for usability of interaction platforms such as websites and applications


A vector is nothing more than a point. This point is viewed by the graphical software as a coordinate. If you connect several points, in the end you will have a way. The computer processes only these points, which consumes much less memory of the computer, consequently generating a much lighter file. Because they are points distributed in a space, this causes vector images to be infinitely scalable without losing resolution, since no matter how much you stretch a vector image, the computer continues to analyze the points, only increasing the distance between them. Vector images usually have a more simplified, flat appearance.


It is the act of manually redesigning a raster image in vector software.

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