Graphic Services Copy Centre will be closed Friday, December 15th from 11:30 until 2:30 for staff seasonal event. Books Plus will be available at this time if required.

Design Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Ascender
The portion of a minuscule letter in a Latin-derived alphabet in typography.
Align
To position letters, words or images to fit on the same vertical line: “aligned left”, “aligned right”.

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B

Baseline
The imaginary line on which a line of letters is positioned.
Bleed
A printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming.
Block quote
A long quotation – four or more lines – within body text, that is set apart in order to clearly distinguish the author's words from the words that the author is quoting.
Body type
Roman – normal, plain, or book – type used for long passages of text, such a stories in a newsletter, magazine, or chapters in a book. Generally sized from 9 point to 14 point.
Bullet
A solid dot (•) normally used to indicate the start of a new item, etc.

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C

Camera-ready copy
Final publication material that is ready to be made into a negative for a printing plate. May be a computer file or actual print and images on a board.
Cap height
The distance from the baseline to the top of the capital letters in typography.
Caption
An identification (title) for an illustration, usually a brief phrase. The caption should also support the other content.
Character
Any letter, figure, punctuation, symbol or space.
Clip art
Ready-made artwork sold or distributed for clipping and pasting into publications.
Colour separation
The process of creating separate negatives and plates for each color of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) that will be used in the publication.
Column gutter
The space between columns of type.
Condensed font
A font in which the set-widths of the characters is narrower than in the standard typeface. (Note: not the inter-character space, which is accomplished through tracking.)
Copy
Written material before it is typeset.
Crop marks
On mechanical, horizontal and vertical lines that indicate the edge of the printed piece.
Cropping
For artwork, cutting out the extraneous parts of an image, usually a photograph.

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D

Dingbat typeface
 A typeface made up of non-alphabetic marker characters, such as arrows, asterisks, encircled numbers.
DPI (dots per inch)
The unit of measurement used to display an image on a screen.
Drop shadow
Shadows dropping below text or images, which gives the illusion of shadows from lighting and gives a 3-D effect to the object.
Duotone
A halftone image printed with two colours, one dark and the other light. The same photograph is half toned twice, using the same screen at two different angles. Combining the two improves the detail and contrast.

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E

Emboss
Embossing a graphic image adds dimension to it by making the image appear as if it were carved as a projection from a flat background.

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F

Facing pages
In a double-sided document, the two pages that appear as a spread when the publication is opened.
Font
A set of characters in a specific typeface.
Four-color process
The printing process that reproduces colours by combining, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). If you look through a magnifying glass, you'll see that the printed image consists of dots in these four colours.

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G

GIF (Graphic Interchange format)
GIF images display up to 256 colors. GIF images generally have very small file sizes and are the most widely used graphic format on the web. The low quality resulting from compression makes them unsuitable for professional printing. 
Graphic design
Pertains to a number of artistic and professional disciplines, which focus on visual communication and presentation. Various methods are used to create and combine symbols, images and/or words to create a visual representation of ideas and messages. A graphic designer may use typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to produce the final result. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated. Common uses of graphic design include magazines, advertisements and product packaging. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as shapes and colour, which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design especially when using pre-existing materials or diverse elements. (Wikipedia)
Gutter
In double-sided documents, the combination of the inside margins of facing pages. The gutter should be wide enough to accommodate binding.

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H

Header
A line or lines of copy set in a larger face than the body copy.

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I

Italic
Any slanted or leaning letter designed to complement or be compatible with a companion roman typeface.

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J

JPEG (Joint Photographic Electronic Group)
A common compression method that shrinks a file's storage size by discarding non-important picture detail. Excessive jpeg compression can cause poor image quality.

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K

Kern
To squeeze together characters, for a better fit of strokes and white space. In display type, characters almost need to be kerned because the white space between characters at large sizes is more noticeable.

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L

Landscape (orientation)
A page or layout that is wider than it is tall.
Leader
A line of dots or dashes to lead the eye across the page to separated copy. Generally used in a table of contents.
Leading (pronounced "led-ding")
Refers to the amount of added vertical spacing between lines of type.
Line art
black-and-white artwork with no gray areas. Pen-and-ink drawings are line art, and most graphic images produced with desktop publishing graphics programs can be treated as line art. For printing purposes, positive halftones can be handled as line art.
Logotype
a symbol, mark, or identifying name.

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M

Moiré patterns (pronounced "mo-ray")
Irregular plaid-like patterns that occur when a bit-mapped image is reduced, enlarged, displayed, or printed at a resolution different from the resolution of the original.

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N

Negative space
In design, the space where the figure isn't. In artwork, usually the background. In a publication, the parts of the page not occupied by type or graphics.

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O

Oblique type
Characters that are slanted to the right. Sans serif typefaces often have oblique rather than true italics, which are separate fonts.
Offset printing
A commonly used printing technique for high-volume reproduction where the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface.
Orphan and widows
A widow is a very short line, usually one word, or the end of a hyphenated word at the end of a paragraph or column. A widow is considered poor typography because it leaves too much white space between paragraphs or at the bottom of a page. This interrupts the reader’s eye and diminishes readability. Like a widow, an orphan is a single word, part of a word or very short line, except it appears at the beginning of a column or a page. This results in poor horizontal alignment at the top of the column or page.

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P

Pica
A measurement used in typography for column widths and other space specifications in a page layout. There are 12 points in a pica, and approximately 6 picas to an inch.
Pixel (picture element)
The smallest unit that a device can address. Most often refers to display monitors, a pixel being the smallest spot of phosphor that can be lit up on the screen.
PMS (Pantone Matching System)
A standard colour-matching system used by printers and graphic designers for inks, papers, and other materials. A PMS colour is a standard colour defined by percentage mixtures of different primary inks.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics usually pronounced "ping")
PNG is used for lossless compression. The PNG format displays images without jagged edges while keeping file sizes relatively small, making them popular on the web. PNG files are however generally larger than GIF files.
Point
A measurement used in typography for type size, leading, and other space specifications in a page layout. There are 12 points in a pica, and approximately 70 points to an inch.
Process colour separation
In commercial printing, used for reproduction of colour photographs. The various hues are created by superimposition of halftone dots of the process colours: cyan (a greenish blue), magenta (a purplish red), yellow, and black.
Pull quote
A brief phrase, not necessarily an actual quotation, from the body text, enlarged and set off from the text with rules, a box, and/or a screen. It is from a part of the text set previously, and is set in the middle of a paragraph, to add emphasis and interest.

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R

Ragged right alignment
Type set so that the extra white space in a line is set at the right, giving the text a ragged margin. Usually set with flush left.
Resolution
The crispness of detail or fineness of grain in an image. Screen resolution is measured in dots per lines (for example, 640 x 350); printer resolution is measured in dots per inch (for example, 300 dpi).
Right-justified alignment
Type set so that the text runs even on the right margin as well as on the left margin. The extra white space is distributed between words and sometimes between characters on the line.
RGB (Red, Green, Blue)
RGB is the model used to project color on a computer monitor. By mixing these three colors, a large percentage of the visible color spectrum can be represented.
Rivers
Spaces between words that create irregular lines of white space in body type, particularly occurs when the lines of type have been set with excessive word spacing.

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s

Sans serif typeface
A typeface that has no serifs, such as Helvetica or Swiss. The stroke weight is usually uniform and the stress oblique, though there are exceptions.
Script
Connected, flowing letters resembling hand writing with pen or quill. Either slanted or upright. Sometimes with a left-hand slant.
Serif
In a typeface, a counterstroke on letterforms, projecting from the ends of the main strokes. For example, Times or Dutch is a serifed typeface. Some typefaces have no serifs; these typefaces are called sans serif.
Spot color separation
For offset printing, separation of solid premixed ink colours (for example, green, brown, light blue, etc.) used when the areas to be coloured are not adjacent. Spot colour separations can be indicated on the tissue cover of the mechanical, or made with overlays.
Spread
In a double-sided document, the combination of two facing pages, which are designed as a unit. Also, the adjacent inside panels of a brochure when opened.
Stroke weight
In a typeface, the amount of contrast between thick and thin strokes. Different typefaces have distinguishing stroke-weight characteristics.
Subscript
A character slightly smaller than the rest of the font, set below the baseline used in chemical equations and as base denotation in math, and sometimes as the denominator of fractions.
Superscript
A character slightly smaller than the rest of the font, set above the baseline, used for footnote markers and sometimes as the numerator of fractions.

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T

Tabloid
A page that measures 11" x 17”, most often used in portrait orientation for newspapers. Not to be confused with an 11" x 17" spread, which is made up of two letter-sized pages.
Text wrap
The spatial relationship between blocks of text and graphics, or between two blocks of text. A text wrap may be rectangular (most commonly), irregular, or arbitrary.
Thumbnails
Miniature pictures sketched as first design ideas, like thinking on paper or on screen.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
For digital gray-scale halftones, a device-independent graphics file format. TIFF files can be used on IBM/compatible or Macintosh computers, and may be output to PostScript printers.
Track
To reduce space uniformly between all characters in a line in typography. As opposed to kerning, which is the variable reduction of space between specific characters.
Typeface
The set of characters created by a type designer, including uppercase and lowercase alphabetical characters, numbers, punctuation, and special characters. A single typeface contains many fonts, at different sizes and styles.

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V

Vector graphic
Vector graphics are drawn in paths. This allows the designer to resize images freely without getting pixelated edges, as is the case with bitmapped images. The vector format is generally used for in printing while the bitmap format is used for onscreen display.

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W

White space
The areas where there is no text or graphics in designing publication: essentially, the negative space of the page design.

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