A

Alignment

The lining up of elements to achieve balance, order, and a more logical layout. There are also four common types of typographical alignment – center, left, right, and justified, each with their own time and place for application.

B

Brand

A collection of concepts, ideas, and emotions that encapsulate your company’s values and ethos. A brand is a mix of all the fine conceptual details that make up the company, from the content the brand promotes, the way employees talk, the words used, the values upheld, etc.

Brand identity

The visualization of your brand (see definition above) in a way that represents the values, content and ethos of the company. This can include things like a logo, business cards, letterheads, uniforms, packaging design, etc.

C

CMYK

CMYK or ‘Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key’, is a colour model that is used for print purposes. CMYK is a subtractive colour, this means that we begin with white and end up with black. So, as we add more colour, the result turns darker.

Contrast

The degree of difference between two juxtaposed elements. Some other common types of contrast are dark vs. light, thick vs. thin, rough vs. smooth, etc.

CSS (Cascading style sheets)

Code that defines how to display HTML elements in externalstyle sheets that enable you to change the appearance and layout of all the pages in a Web site by editing one single file.

F

Favicon

The image located at the top of each browser tab or window. Every website can have its own favicon, which is short for favorite icon. The small icon will also appear in search histories, next to bookmarks and on browser tabs and desktop icons.

Flat design

A simple, graphic style common in user interface (UI), software and Web design. The flat style contrasts with skeuomorphism, a design approach that seeks to bring real-world effects to the items that are represented.

G

Gradient

A gradual change in colour from one tone into another. Two common types of gradients are the linear gradient where each colour sits on opposite sides of the frame, and a radial gradient where one colour sits in the middle, and another at the edge.

Grid

A framework made up of evenly divided, intersecting columns and rows. Grids help designers to align and arrange elements in a quicker, neater, and more consistent way.

H

Hex

A hex is a six-digit number used in HTML, CSS, and design software applications to represent colours.

I

IA (Information architecture)

This means how a website, app or other digital platform is structured, so it looks at things like how sites are labelled, its search function and its databases. Like building blocks-based architecture, its about the structure and the build, just in a digital way.

K

Kerning

The adjustment of space between two characters in your type. Kerning is s common design term and usually aims to achieve a more proportional and pleasing balance of space between each character.

M

Margins

The space around the edge of a page. By increasing or decreasing the size of your page’s margins you can create a more calming or a more tense design respectively. The example below has larger, more open margins.

O

Opacity

The degree of transparency an element has. The lower the opacity, the more transparent an element is.

P

Pagination

Dividing information into separate sequentially numbered or linked pages.

Palette

The selection of colours that you choose to use for your design.

Prototype

A preliminary model or archetype of a web page or website used to demonstrate or test the user experience and various task flows.

R

Responsive

Responsive design aims to create sites and other digital platforms that give an optimal viewing experience across all platforms. This usually means the layout adapts to the screen size, so a site that looks great on a desktop computer will also function in a way that is more friendly for devices when viewed on a mobile or tablet, with scrolling or panning that makes sense on that particular screen.

RGB

RGB or ‘Red, Green, Blue’ is a colour model that is used for on-screen purposes. RGB is an additive colour, meaning that when mixing colours, we start with black and end up with white as more colour is added.

S

Saturation

The degree of intensity and vividness of a colour. For example, a low-saturation colour may appear pale and faded, whereas a more heavily saturated colour may appear more vibrant and colourful.

Scale

The change of size of an object while keeping its shape and proportions intact. Large scale can create drama, and smaller scale can create fine detail.

Stock Photo

A professionally shot photograph available online for licensing. Stock photos are usually used in lieu of hiring a photographer, or if a designer cannot access the images they need from their own inventory of photographs.

T

Typography

The visual art of creating written words.

U

UI (User interface)

Every visual element a user might interact with on a technological device, including the computer itself, as well as apps and websites.

UX (User experience)

User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

W

White Space

Also called ‘negative space’, white space refers to the areas of a design that are not filled with content. White space is an important design element as it helps to let a design ‘breathe’, helps avoid overly complicated designs, and keeps designs looking clean.

Wireframe

A website wireframe is a visual guide representing the framework of the site, allowing you to visualise the structure and function of the site. The wireframe will usually include the key elements of a page and where they sit (such as header, content objects and branding). It shows how elements such as side bars and navigation bars are grouped, as wells as headings and images. The functional and graphic elements are separated, allowing digital design teams to use the wireframe to look at how users will interact with the site.