How to speak ‘designer’

Close up of brainstorms on workdesk

Confused by design jargon and tech-talk? Don’t know your .eps from your css?

When working with designers, it can sometimes feel daunting when faced with specific terminology if you’re not in the business yourself. Our WonDesigners never want to make you feel confused or overwhelmed, so we’ve but together a (very small) jargon buster for you to get to grips with some commonly used creative lingo!



CMYK vs Pantone

CMYK is an acronym for the pigments/inks used in colour printing. The C stands for Cyan, M – Magenta, Y – Yellow and K is for black. Every colour is made up of different percentages of these inks, so to ensure designers match your brand colours you may be asked for a “CMYK colour reference”. For example…

cmyk breakdown

NOTE: There may be some colour variation depending on the paper and print quality.

Pantone colours (also known as spot colours), however, are even more accurate as they are ink specifically made for precision. Each colour has its own name and when printed, will look the same every time. Pantones are great for printing logos on branded materials, however, they are often more expensive to use.



EPSs are files often used for high quality printing. They can be scaled from a postage stamp, right up to billboard size and not lose quality which is great for logos and graphics. JPGs on the other hand, do lose quality when scaled up to a certain size, however, most high-quality photographs (300dpi for print/approximately 1MB in size) work well at large sizes. To check the quality of your image, you will need photo editing software, such as Photoshop.



When a printed product is finished professionally, it is printed on a large sheet, which is then trimmed to size, so when designing for print we need to take this into consideration. The cutting machines may have tiny inaccuracies (often just a few millimeters) so we add ‘bleed’ to the document to account for this. Bleed is a small border (usually 3mm – 10mm, depending on the size of the print) where we want images or colour to run off the edge of the finished page size. This ensures that if there is a slight slip on the trimming machine there are a few more millimeters of colour on each side, removing the chance of a thin line of paper being seen.

Crop marks are for the printers to know where to trim the document and are not printed.



RGB Colours

RGB is an acronym for the coloured light used on screens to make up other colours. The R stands for Red, G – Green, B – Blue. Any images or graphics used for digital purposes should be converted to RGB (not CMYK) to be displayed at a more accurate match. Similar to CMYK inks, each individual colour light has a value to make up a new colour, for example: R200 G56 B102.


responsive websites

Responsive Websites

Having a responsive website is more important today than ever. Customers and consumers now have internet access on such a variety of devices, including phones, tablets, desktop computers and even watches, all with a different screen size. A responsive website means that, regardless of what device the viewer is using it will look well-designed, legible and function properly.


UX and UI Design

User Experience design (UX) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product (often a website) by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product. As designers, we understand what works for different platforms for different target audiences and consider strategy and content, wireframing and testing as well as analysis. Use Interface design (UI) is the look and feel of interfaces, including branding, graphic development, interactivity, design research and more. Both work very closely together to achieve an attractive and comprehensive website.



SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of increasing a website’s organic position on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) such as Google. SEO is an ongoing process. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, websites are constantly being updated and new competition is entering the market every day, meaning that SEO needs constant monitoring and optimisation.

“A number 1 position in Google’s SERP receives, on average, 18.2% of all click-through traffic, whereas a number 2 position receives just 1.1%.”




Serif/Sans Serifserif sans serif

Serif typefaces are typefaces with serifs! But what is a serif? A serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. These have more of a formal or corporate feel. Sans Serifs are typefaces without these lines (from the French word sans, meaning “without”). Sans-serifs tend to look more modern and informal, so it is important to bear this in mind when designing for your target audience.

Script fonts

Script fonts tend to look as though they have been hand-written with a natural flow of a pen. These font look lovely at large sizes but we don’t recommend the use of them for smaller, body copy as it can look quite busy making it harder to read.



Brand Guidelines

Having a guideline document is very useful when wanting to ensure consistency across your brand. The document consists of instructions on the look and feel of your brand, how to use your logo, colour references and palettes, brand fonts and styles as well as any design elements which can and cannot be used. These guidelines can be as strict or as flexible as you’d like, but are an important tool for any business that wants a strong brand.


Call to Action (CTA)

On adverts, posters, flyers, web buttons or anything that you require the viewer or reader to do something (i.e. Call, book, click etc), a call to action is required. Whether that be in the form of a button or short sentence, such as BOOK NOW or Contact us for more information. This information needs to be clear and accurate and is usually placed at the bottom of the document as a closing item. Forgetting this can lead to an ineffective campaign!


As designers, it’s our job to know these terms and technicalities and take them into consideration when working on your project. This knowledge ensures that we can present the best quality artwork for your needs. You’re in safe hands!