Leading on from our blog post ‘What is the difference between ‘kerning’ and ‘leading’? We bring you the next instalment of design terms to help you bust through the jargon your designer may throw at you. Here are our next 10 terms.

1. point size = this is simply a measurement very much like mm and cm. This refers mainly, in modern terms, to size of text and amount of line feed, however, in the not too distant past designers used the point as a measurement in place of mm as it was more accurate.

2. Pica = the pica is also a measurement. There are 12 points to a pica.

3. Ligature = this is the name designers use in typography to describe a special character that replaces two characters that don’t sit well together in text. For example fi or fl would be replaced with a ligature as in some text the ‘f’ would clash with the ‘i’ therefore a special character that looks similar to the fi would be used in place.

4. en dash = traditionally designed to have an equal width to that of an uppercase ‘N’ and is most commonly used as the dash between a set of dates, i.e 2014-2015.

5. em dash = Much like the N dash, the M dash is designed to have an equal width to that of an uppercase ‘M’. The M dash is used to mark an abrupt change of thought or transition within a passage of text, similar to that of parenthesis give me an example

6. ‘A’ size = This is a measurement for the most common paper sizes. There are many of these sizes and are not limited to ‘a’ sizes as there are also ‘b’ sizes amonst others. Here we will cover a few:

Russian-dolls-with-sizes grey


7. Bleed = Bleed is added to any colour that sits at the edge of a page. The bleed area is set beyond the page. The reason designers add bleed is to avoid any white gaps at the page edge after trimming. The trimming process can move up to 2mm so designers add about 3 – 5 mm bleed to allow for this movement.

8. Jpeg = the term “JPEG” is an acronym for the Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created the standard. In short it is a compressed image file, which takes up less memory space then a Tiff or EPS format.

9. DPI = is a measure of spatial printing or video dot density, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (2.54 cm). The metric alternative is dots per centimeter (dpcm).

10. Negative space = The area on a page that is left without images and words is referred to as negative or white space. This negative or white space is very important in graphic design projects.

Look out for our next 10 design terms.

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