Graphic Design Terminology That Noobs Often Get Confused

I chuckled a little bit when I found this infographic because, as it turns out, I must be a graphic design noob. But, alas, it’s amazing finding out how much I don’t know about an industry I’ve been embedded deeply in for the last 25 years. In my defense, I only dabble and request graphics. Thankfully, our designers are far more knowledgeable about graphic design than I am.

You need to know the difference between these commonly misunderstood words to graphic design terms because mind it, you aren’t simply a marketer and a designer, you are a writer as well. You ought to know your stuff! Aamina Suleman

Aamina and the team at ThinkDesign put together this great visual of the top 14 misunderstood or mistaken terms used by noob graphic designers.

Font versus Typeface

A typeface is not a font, but a font may belong to a family of typefaces.

Tracking versus Kerning

Tracking is the uniform space between a group of letters, kerning is the spacing between individual characters.

Gradient versus Gradient Mesh

A gradient is a gradual transition from one color to another across the surface of a shape. A gradient mesh is a tool that creates a mesh on a shape with multiple, editable points that allow for colors, shading, and dimensional effects.

Backdrop versus Background

Backdrop refers to a cloth or sheet hung behind an object, but background is anything that’s behind the focus object in an image or design.

EPS versus AI

EPS is encapsulated postscript, a file format that saves flattened vector graphics and doesn’t support transparency. AI is Adobe Illustrator format that contains layered vector or embedded raster objects that can be edited using Illustrator.

Tint versus Tone

Tint is produced by adding white to a pure color, increasing its lightness. Tone is the chroma of a color, produced when gray is added to the color.

Lettermark versus Wordmark

A lettermark is a logo designed with a distinct styling of the letters such as initials or abbreviations. A wordmark is a unique typographic treatment applied to the text in a corporate logo or brand mark.

Hue versus Color

Hue is the purest form of color, not a shade or tint. Hues are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Color is an all-encompassing word referring to a hue, shade, tint and tone. Any value of a hue refers to a color.

DPI versus PPI

DPI is the number of dots per printed page. PPI is the number of pixels per inch of a digital image.

White Space versus Negative Space

White space is the portion of a page left unmarked. It can be any color, not just white. Negative space is a deliberate design lacking any design element to produce a visual illusion.

Wireframe versus Prototype

A Wireframe is the blueprint of a design used for brainstorming layouts using sketches or a tool. Prototypes are accurate representation of the designs where you can interact with it before finalizing and producing the project.

Bitmap versus Vector

Bitmaps, or rasterized graphics, are an unresizable image made from a pixel grid. Common formats are GIF, JPG/JPEG, or PNG. Vector graphics are an editable design made from formulas where resizing produces no change in quality. Common formats are AI, EPS, PDF, and SVG.

Black & White versus Grayscale

B/W or B&W impges are made from pure black and white. Grayscale are images or artwork with a range of values from white to black in any tint or shade.

Cropping versus Crop Marks

Cropping removes the outer parts of an image that are unrequired. Crop marks are lines added on the corners of an image to help printers with cutting and framing.

Top 14 Misunderstood Terms Used by Noob Graphic Designers

If my explanation above wasn’t enough, here’s the infographic with examples:

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