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A visual language that is built on fundamental principles and elements

Vector Images

An image made up of paths and curves rather than a grid of pixels. File extensions include .EPS, .AI, .SVG, and .DRW

Raster Images

An image made up of individual pixels. File extensions include .JPEG, .GIF, and .BMP

Dots per inch (DPI)

A term to describe the measure of sharpness within an image. It is best to use at least 300 DPI for printed work

Complementary Colors

The colors that are opposite of each other when viewed on the color wheel

Analogous Colors

Colors that are adjacent to one another on the color wheel. Examples of Analogous colors include: red violet, red and red orange

Triadic Colors

Triadic colors are three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel. One colors dominates, the second supports, and the third accents

Pixels per inch (PPI)

A measurement of the resolution of a computer display. At least 72 PPI is used for digital work


CMYK is a four-color printing process made up of cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black)


RGB stands for red, green and blue. The 3 colors of light typically used to display images on a digital screen


Pantone is developed by Pantone Corporation. It is a professional color company. Pantone is the proprietary color system for blending colors and is widely used. The colors in this system cannot be mixed in CMYK



Bleed area is located outside the edges of a document. Imperfections in the trimming process can’t be noticed when printing a color or a image outside the page’s edge

Die Cut

A metal ruler that cuts shapes or holes in various types of materials


A gradual change from one color to another


An additional area beyond the bleed where production notes such as a job number or printing date can be place. It is trimmed off before the final delivery of the document


The artistic arrangement of type in a readable and visually appealing way


The adjustment of space between two characters in your type


The visual arrangement of design elements according to importance


The part of certain lowercase letters (b,d,f,h,k,l,t) that extends above the x height


The portion of the letter that extends below the baseline of your font


The positioning and arranging of lines of text, images, or shapes. It can be on the left, right, centered, or justified


A recognizable graphic design element, such as a name, symbol or trademark, representing an organization or product.



The arrangement of elements are different on both sides of an axis


The elements are arranged in the same way on both sides of an axis


The degree of intensity and vividness of a color

Focal Point

Areas of interest, emphasis, or difference within a composition that capture and hold the viewer’s attention


A very short line (one word, or the end of a hyphenated word) at the end of a paragraph or column


A single word, part of a word or very short line, that appears at the beginning of a column or a page


A framework made up of evenly divided, intersecting columns, and rows


The space around the edge of a page

Negative Space

The areas of a design that are not filled with content. It is also known as “white space”


The degree of difference between two juxtaposed elements. Examples of contrast are dark or light, thick or thin, or rough or smooth


The actual tactile surface of a design or the visual tactility of your design



The change of size of an object while keeping its shape and proportions intact


An imaginary horizontal line upon which the base of each capital letter rests


A typesetting unit of measurement equaling one-sixteenth of an inch


The smallest element of an image

Ratio of the Golden

Expressed mathematically as 1:1.618 is used to construct the golden rectangle. It can be split into a perfect square and a rectangle the same aspect ratio as the original rectangle


The position and space given to the placement of elements in a composition

Graphic Design

The art of arranging pictographic and typographic elements to create effective communication.

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