AIFF (Audio Exchange File): This is an audio file format which was developed by Apple primarily for storing sound files on Macintosh computers. It is a larger file of higher quality than a compressed file such as an MP3.
ASCENDER: This is the part of a letter character that extends above the baseline.
BITRATE: A ‘bit’ is a small unit of data and ‘bitrate’ is the amount of bits processed during a given period of time. It can also be written as ‘bit rate.’
BLEED: This is a 3 mm area of an image that extends beyond the main parameters of the image. It is used when sending an image to the printer to allow for a slight shift of the blade when the image is being cut to size. If there were no bleed, you might see an undesired area of white at the edge of your artwork. A bleed is only necessary when you have an image in your design that goes to the edge of your layout. If it is simply white area, there is no need for a bleed.
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black): This term describes a color model and is also referred to as ‘full colour’ and ‘process colour.’ It is a combination of four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black and is used in standard color printing. CMYK is also used to describe the printing process itself. The apperance of colour in CMYK images can vary and each image may not always appear the same.
COLOUR HARMONIES: This term refers to the way in which certain colours combine to create a pleasing visual effect.
CROP MARKS: These are marks on pre-pressed final art that show the printer where the trim mark of the artwork is. In other words, it indicates exactly where the artwork should be cut to size after printing. The bleed and crop marks are interrelated. Essentially, if everything is set up correctly, the crop marks will guide the blade to cut off the bleed area from a printed document.
DESCENDER: This is the part of a letter character that descends below the baseline.
DPI (Dots per Inch): This is a measurement of image resolution. The higher the DPI (resolution) the better quality the image is. Higher DPI also results in larger file size.
DUOTONE: This is a two spot colour image that can create from a full colour or black and white image in a photo editing software. It is used when a document is restricted to being a two colour print job (perhaps for cost restrictions) and you wish to use photographic images. Duotones can also be used to create ambience. For example, an old black and white photo might have a sepia tone added to it.
EMBEDDED IMAGE: This is an image that is stored directly in a document rather than being link to as an external source file.
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript): This is a file format that is used in pre-press and printing.
FONT: This is a set of characters within a particular type family. Fonts for Mac cannot be used on a PC and vice versa. However, most font designers create a separate version for each. This is important if you are working on a Mac and give your printer PC fonts as they will not be able to use them.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): This is the method by which files are uploaded and downloaded from a hard-drive to a remote server or between computers on a network.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): This is a compressed bitmap file format commonly used for web. They are excellent for compressing most images but NOT photographs. They can also be used to make GIF animations online. Another key feature of GIF files are that you can make the background transparent on them which allows the background to show. In other words, your image will not appear in a white box and will stand alone against the web page background.
GIGABYTE (GB): This is a file that is a unit of storage equal to 1000 megabytes. When we work with video and sound files, they tend to be large files measured in gigabytes.
HOST: This is a company that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage their own websites. The user buys the web space package from the host company along with tools and scripts to help them to develop their website.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language): This is the standard computer programming language used to create web pages. If you open any website page and click on View Page Source in the control panel at the top of the browser, you will see a page open that contains text only. This is HTML and it provides the building blocks to a web page. It is the structural foundation of a website. What you see when you open a web page is the cosmetic façade.
HYPHENATION: This is how a word is divided between two lines by a hyphen. Hyphenation is used to control the kerning in a line of text. While hyphenation is useful, try to use it sparingly as its overuse results in illegibility and poor aesthetic.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): This is a compressed file format that works well with full colour photographic images as well as grey scale digital images. JPEGs are commonly used in web design and unlike GIF files can only be used as still images.
JUSTIFIED: This is when each line in a body of text is the same length.
KERNING: This is the adjustment of the amount of space between specific pairs of letter characters.
KILOBYTE (K): This is a file that is a unit of storage equal to 1000 bytes. When we work with web design, we tend to use small files that are measured in kilobytes.
LEADING: This is the term used to describe the amount of space between two lines of text. It allows the designer to control the density of text and is very important when designing layouts with type. It affects legibility and design aesthetic.
LOCK ITEMS: This is a way of securing items such as images and text in place on your layout so they can’t be accidentally moved around. There is a ‘lock’ function in most design software and you can refer to the individual software guide for advice on how to use it.
MEGABYTE (MB): This is a file that is a unit of storage equal to 1000 kilobytes. When working with print design, relatively large files that are measured in megabytes tend to be used.
MONOTONE: This simply means one spot colour. The term is mainly used to describe an image that is one colour. A monotone can be created from a full colour image using a photo editing software. A black and white image can also be given a different colour using this same technique, e.g. blue and white.
MP3: This is a compressed audio file format. It is very popular in web use as the file size is small and easily uploaded and downloaded. The sound quality is lower as it is a compressed file.
OUTLINED FONT: This is a process whereby a font is transformed into an object during the pre-press process. As an object, the character is no longer an editable font. It is now a character shape and no longer contains the information that defines it as a font. For example, a digital square drawn on a page is an ‘object’ shape. An outlined font is also an ‘object’ shape. This protects the artwork from being distorted by font substitution which occurs when a different system (e.g. the printer’s computer) doesn’t have the same fonts used in the original artwork and automatically substitutes them with their own system fonts.
PANTONE COLOURS: These are a series of numerically defined standardized colour reproduction systems. They are used by designers to specify the use of an exact colour in a design layout. Pantone colours are also known as spot colours and are separate from CMYK.
PDF (Portable Document Format): This is a file format that is used to save still visual documents in a format that is readable on any computer system. It is a fully self-contained file that should display the document correctly and accurately regardless of the hardware, software or operating systems used to view it. For this reason, it is very popular with printers as designers can save their artwork in PDF format and send it to the printer without having to worry if the fonts will be replaced or images distorted.
PIXEL: This is the smallest element of a screen image. If you zoom in closely to an image, you will see that it is made up of many small coloured squares. Pixel images cannot be blown up more than 30% without loss of quality. One cannot create pixels that are not already there in an image.
PRE-PRESS: This term is used in the printing and publishing industries to describe the process of how final artwork is prepared to go to press.
PUBLISH (A VIDEO FILE): A designer works on an editable version of a video project in the editing software. When they have finished editing, they must make the file into a format that is deliverable on other platforms, e.g. the internet or TV. To do so, they ‘publish’ the file which means that the file is made into a single uneditable unit that can then be exported. Examples of these are .flv or Shockwave® files.
QUICKTIME: This is a flexible file format that allows users to create layered video and audio content for web, DVD and other multimedia platforms.
RGB (Red, Green and Blue): This term describes a digital or analogue colour model with a combination of three colours: red, green and blue. This colour format is always used when designing for TV screen or for web.
RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication): This provides summaries for frequently updated web content. For example, a podcast might come with an RSS which would give a brief description of it.
SANS SERIF: This style of font doesn’t have serifs (small structures on its outer edges). These fonts are commonly used in headings to draw attention to a text. A commonly used sans serif font is Arial.
SERIF: This is a style of font that has small structures (serifs) on its outer edges. These aid legibility and are used in large bodies of text such as books and newspapers. A commonly used serif font is Times New Roman.
SERVER: This is a computer programme that delivers content (e.g. websites) on the World Wide Web through the use of HTML (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).
SHADE: A colour shade is a measure of how much black has been added to the original colour resulting in a darker colour. For example, terracotta is a shade of orange.
SPOT COLOUR: This is a pure or mixed colour that is used during the print process in a single run. They are used in order to get an exact colour match and are considered an additional colour when combined with CMYK. An example of their use would be when printing a company logo and the colours must be 100% accurate. Spot colours can be determined by using a Pantone book which is a visual reference library.
STREAMING: This term is used to describe how digital data (e.g. video or sound file) is simultaneously being played while also downloading. It allows the user to start viewing or hearing the item immediately. The drawback is that it can result in a choppy delivery.
TIFF (Tag Image File Format): This is a stable uncompressed image file format that is commonly used for print. It is high quality and a larger file size.
TINT: A colour tint is a measure of how much white has been added to the original colour resulting in greater lightness. For example, pink is a tint of red.
TRACKING: This is the adjustment of the amount of space between selected letter characters in a line or block of text.
TRAPPING: This is the process whereby text is checked before being printed to make sure that white or pale text will appear clearly against a dark background. It is acceptable to ask the printer to check this for you and it is advisable to request this. If the trapping is off, the negative result can be that the dark background area of your image will bleed into the finer light areas and obscure them. This will result in a poor quality finished product.
TRITONE: This is a three spot colour image that the designer can create from a full colour or black and white image in a photo editing software. It is used when a document is restricted to being a three colour print job that may also incorporate photographs.
VECTOR: This is a geometrical mathematically generated image created on software such as Adobe Illustrator. Vector graphics are perfect when smooth, clear lines and definition are required, e.g. when designing a logo. Photographs are NOT vector images; they are pixel images. One advantage of a vector image is that it can be resized without any loss of quality. One can blow a vector up to the size of a house and it will still be clear and sharp. Also, vector images are generally smaller files than pixel images.
WAV (Waveform Audio Format): This is an audio file format commonly used to store data on a PC. It is a larger file of higher quality than a compressed file such as an MP3.