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Design Industry Buzzwords 101

All industries have buzzwords - terms and phrases specific to that industry that are gibberish to those outside the industry. These terms facilitate production workflows within industries but can make clear communication with clients difficult, particularly highly tecnical terms.

TFG believes that educating our clients about these “mysterious” design industry terms leads to better relationships, production workflows, and end products.

We will be posting definitions specific to both the graphic design and website design industries since we provide both types of services.

Whether you are a prospective client or just stopping by, we hope that you will find these definitions useful in your next design encounter.

pixel  The basic unit of the composition of an image on a television screen, computer monitor, or similar display. The information stored for a single grid point in a digital image. The complete image is a rectangular array of pixels.

.gif  Graphic Interchange Format. A digital image format generated specifically for computer use. Its resolution is usually very low (72 dpi, or that of your computer screen), making it undesirable for printing purposes.

.jpg  Stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A JPEG (or JPG) file is created by choosing from a range of compression algorithms that trade image quality for size. The JPEG format is one of the image file formats supported by browsers. In addition to its wide use as a digital format for web images, .jpg files are commonly used to package commercial stock photos.

.eps  A scaleable vector format that allows resolution independent resizing of vector images. EPS files are created with the Postscript language favored by printers because it enables files to print faster. It combines a postscript description of an illustration with a PICT preview for the screen. This format does not compress files - generally it makes them larger. It is best used to import graphics into professional page layout programs such as InDesign or Quark Xpress or for packaging/delivering press files.

font/typeface  A font is a set of printable or displayable text characters in a specific style and size. The type design for a set of fonts is the typeface and variations of this design form the typeface family. Thus, Arial is a typeface family, Arial Italic is a typeface, and Arial Italic 10-point is a font. In practice, font and typeface are often used without much precision, sometimes interchangably.

The height of characters in a font is measured in points, each point being approximately 1/72 inch. The width is measured by pitch, which refers to how many characters can fit in an inch. Common pitch values are 10 and 12. A font is said to be fixed pitch if every character has the same width (eg. Courier New). If the widths vary depending on the shape of the character, it is called a proportional font (most fonts are proportional fonts).

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