Decoding Designer Lingo

Designer speak can sound like gibberish to the uninitiated.  If you’re at the receiving end of ‘agency talk’, you might feel a little overwhelmed or confused.  “Just speak English” you might be thinking.  Here’s a list of the most common terminology and it’s translation:

‘We need to flush it differently’— translation: We need to change the alignment of the text.

‘Let’s make it breathe’— translation: Make it less crowded with more white space. And white space doesn’t necessarily mean ‘white’ it can be any background or colour.

‘Make it look flat’— translation:  Remove any 3D elements, like gradients or drop shadows.

‘Bring in an infographic’— translation: Bring in some graphics, icons or charts to visually express the data or information.

‘What’s the DPI/PPI of this?’— translation: You need to improve the resolution of your images.

‘We need to change the typeface/typography’—translation: Change the font.

‘Let’s create an identity’— translation: Create a whole look for a campaign or brand including the fonts, logo, colour palette, photography, icons, layout.

‘Can we change the grid?’— translation: The overall layout and arrangement of elements on the page need some improvement.

‘Send me over the native/source files’— translation: Send me your original digital artwork files, either in EPS or PSD format or as packaged Illustrator or InDesign file.  Packaged refers to the source file (InDesign or Illustrator) with the fonts and linked photographs.  They are saved in a zip file usually so it’s a ‘package’.

‘Let’s make it more commercial’—translation: Tone down the arty stuff and make it appear more on-trend, with a mass market appeal.

‘Adjust the leading’ – translation:  Leading is an essential design aspect that determines how text is spaced vertically in lines. For content that has multiple lines of readable text (like this blog), you’ll want to make sure the distance from the bottom of the words above to the top of the words below has appropriate spacing to make them legible.

‘Adjust the kerning’ – translation:  Kerning also adjusts space, but of the distance between two letters. Set too closely together, words are indecipherable; set too far apart, and they’re awkward to read. Worse yet, if some letters have wider spacing and others narrower, it can be frustrating for someone to read without fully understanding what’s wrong.

‘Use Lorem Ipsum for the mock-up’ – translation:  Lorem Ipsum is dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.  There are lorem ipsum generator sites that we use to copy and paste large portions of dummy text to populate designs for mock up purposes.  Why do we do this?  Because a design looks far more complete with actual content, even if it’s dummy content.

‘Revert’ – translation:   this is a change to the existing design that will have been created within the brief.  A revert is not a total redesign.

If you come across a phrase we’ve not listed here (and there are many), and want to know what it means drop us a line on sandy@bluejuicedesign.com and we’ll decode it for you.