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Design jargon you need to know (and nothing you don’t)


Typography is all about making words look pretty. Here are some key terms to know:

  • Hierarchy: This is like the pecking order of your text. You want to make sure the most important stuff stands out, so users know where to look first.

  • Serif: The little feet on letters that add a touch of elegance. Think Times New Roman.

  • Sans-serif: Typefaces without the fancy feet, like Arial. Perfect for when you want a clean and modern look.

  • Script: Typefaces that mimic handwriting, like Brush ITC. Perfect for when you want to add a personal touch.

  • Display: Fonts that are made for headlines or logos. They have a lot of personality and are perfect for making a statement.

  • Body Copy: This is your main text, and it needs to be easy to read. Legibility is key!

  • Font vs. Typeface: Okay, this one is a bit pedantic, but just know that a typeface is the overall design, while a font is a specific style within that design.


Colours are the spice of life, and they're essential in design too. Here are some key colour-related terms:

  • RGB: This is the colour model used for screens, and it mixes red, green, and blue to create a whole rainbow of colours on your devices.

  • CMYK: This is the colour model used for printing, and it mixes cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to create colours that pop in the flesh.

  • HEX: This is like a secret code that represents a specific colour. It's commonly used in web design, and it's a handy reference to have in your brand palette.

  • Pantone Matching System (PMS): Think of this as the queen of all swatch books of colour. It's a standardised system that ensures your colours always look the same, no matter where you print them.

  • Colour palette: This is like a chef's spice rack. It's a selection of colours that work well together and can be used to give your brand a consistent and cohesive look.

  • Gradient: This is like a colour smoothie. It's a gradual transition from one colour to another, and it's perfect for creating a little visual interest.


Branding is like adding the finishing touches to a dish. Here are some key branding-related terms:

  • Logotype: This is like the brand's signature dish. It's the text component of a logo, and it spells out the name of the brand loud and proud.

  • Logomark/Brandmark: This is like the brand's secret ingredient. It's an abstract symbol or icon that represents the brand and gives it a unique identity.

  • Icon: This is like the garnish on top of the dish. It's a simple graphic symbol that represents an object or action, and it can help make key ideas stand out from a glance.

  • Style Guide/Brand Guidelines: This is like the recipe for your brand. It outlines the rules and guidelines for how your brand's visual identity should be used, and it helps ensure consistency across all platforms.

Did I miss anything? Shoot me a message if I can help you understand any other terms!

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