Graphic design - an artwork glossary

Written on the 13 June 2012

You don't have to be a graphic designer to benefit from understanding basic design and artwork terminology.

Learn the jargon and youll be able to confidently create briefs for designers and ensure your document looks exactly the way you want. 


This is your designed document that will go into printing. It will usually require your written approval before entering the printing process.


This refers to the printed colours that extend past the edge of a page. To accommodate a bleed, your printers must print the bleed area larger than the final trim size. After this, the page is then trimmed through to the bleed area.


This involves packaging data in a way to save disk storage space, reduce file size and reduce transmission and download time.


This stands for dots per inch and refers to the resolution of the output device, like a printer.


By embossing an image, the graphic designer will add dimension, making the image appear as if it were carved as a projection from a flat background.


A file format, standing for Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs are widely used across the web and display up to 256 colours.


A file format for full colour and black and white images. Allowing more colours than GIF images, JPEGs or Joint Photographic Experts Group are also usually smaller in size.


An Adobe Systems file format, which stands for Portable Document Format. PDFs work across universal browsers, provided the computer has the Adobe plug-in.

Royalty-free images

These are images covered by intellectual property rights that allow the user to purchase them for a single, standard fee. They can be used repeatedly for an unlimited period of time as all rights are transferred upon purchase to the purchaser.


Referring to the colour intensity of an image. A high saturation image will appear to be very bright. A low saturation image will be more neutral. No saturation is referred to as a greyscale image.


This refers to a family or series of fonts. For example, the typeface Arial contains Arial, Arial Bold, Arial Italic and Arial Bold Italic.

By learning some basic graphic design terminology, youll feel more confident that your document will turn out perfectly. At Snap, our graphic designers are with you every step of the way to ensure your printed document is exactly how you imagine. Contact your nearest Snap Centre today.


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