Design Glossary

Please let us know if you have questions about any of the listings below.

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ASP

Short for Active Server Pages. These are commonly used for creating dynamic content of a web page. Pages using ASP are created with programming scripts (eg; JavaScript) and integrated with the HTML of a page. The file extension will be .asp instead of .htm, for example index.asp instead of index.htm.

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Bandwidth

A measure of speed; the amount of data you can send through an internet connection in a given amount of time. The more bandwidth, the faster the connection. Think of it as a tube; the wider the hole, the more data can fly through it.

Banner Ad

A graphic advertisement placed on a web page, which acts as a hyperlink to an advertiser's web site.

Bleed

When a page design extends beyond the edge of the paper it is called a "bleed". The piece is printed on a larger size paper. Then the printed page is trimmed to the desired size.

Bookmark

A link to a particular web site, stored by a web user for future use and easy access. Website visitors can mark selected pages with a bookmark via their web browser and return to visit that page with a single click. Also called "favorites".

Browser

A software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Safari is a popular browser for Mac computers.

We recommend Mozilla Firefox browsers for security and convenience. It is worlds above the typical Internet Explorer and is very user friendly. It willeven import all of your stored data and bookmarks from Explorer for you. Click here for a free download.

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CMYK

Stands for the colors Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black. In print design, colors are defined as a percentage of each of these 4 colors. Then at the printer, images are recreated by utilizing those four inks on paper.

Content

All of the "stuff" that makes up a web site. This could be words, pictures, images or sounds.

CSS

Short for Cascading Style Sheets. An external file for adding style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing) to web documents. The benefit of this is simpler code (which leads to faster page load times) and ease in making changes. Instead of making all of your website headlines blue and extra large, and then when you decide you would rather the headlines be green, changing them all one by one (with risk of forgetting one or two) you can use a CSS file to let the browser know that ALL of your headlines should be large and blue. Then when you decide to make them all green, you make the change one time ot your CSS file and all of your headlines will be green automatically, throughout the site.

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Directory, or Index (as in Search Engine Directory)

A database of website locations created and edited manually by people. Sites are indexed by category making this feature the main difference to a Search Engine. Users can navigate through the categories to locate documents or information. This is very similar to the Yellow Pages. Real people enter your website information into their database and your site returns on their search engine results pages.

Dithering

In order to display a full-color graphic image on a 256-color monitor, computers must simulate the colors it cannot display. They do this by dithering; combining pixels from a 256-color palette into patterns that approximate other colors. For example alternating red and yellow pixels will give the appearance of an orange area. At a distance, the human eye merges the pixels into a single color.

DNS

Short for Domain Name Service. An Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Domain names are plain text (www.example-domain-name.com) and therefore easier to remember. The Internet however, is based on IP addresses (123.23.345.65) and are not so easy to remember. Every time you use a domain name, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address in order to then find the site you are looking for and return the resulting website in your browser.

Download

To transfer a file from a web server to a web client. Although most people think of the term download to mean only when you actually retrieve a file to your hard drive (like when you download photos that you receive in an email) the term also applies just to looking at images within a website, your browser must "download" them from the server where they are located in order to display them on your screen.

DPI

Stands for dots per inch. DPI specifies the resolution of an output device, such as a printer or printing press machine. Print resolution usually runs from 300-1200 dots per inch for best clarity. On-screen images appear crisp at only 72 dpi.

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FTP

Short for File Transfer Protocol. One of the most common methods for sending files between two computers. Anonymous FTP is a method for downloading files from an FTP server without using a logon account.

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GIF

(Pronounced with a hard G, like in gum, not like "Jiff") Short for graphics interchange format, a GIF is a graphics file format developed by CompuServe and used on the World Wide Web. One of the most common image formats on the Internet, a GIF is a compressed, supports color and various resolutions, but is limited to 256 colors. Typically a GIF is used for flat, illustrated looking images, like a limited color logo. Alternately, a JPG (pronounced J-peg) file can display unlimited colors and is typically used for photographic images.

Grayscale

An application of black ink that simulates a range of tones. In print design, a grayscale graphic image appears to be black, white, and shades of gray, but it only uses a single ink.

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Home Page

The top-level (main) page of a web site. The default page displayed when you visit a web site. Typically this page will be named index.htm or default.htm.

Hexadecimal/Hex Code

A numbering system which uses a base of 16. The first ten digits are 0-9 and the next six are A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are used to define color on web pages. View our hexidecimal web-safe color chart.

Hyperlink

A hyperlink, more commonly called a link, is an electronic connection between one web page to either other web pages. Clicking on a link will typically take you to another web page, either within the same site or on another website.

HTML

Short for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the code or language of the web. It is a set of tags that are used to define the content, layout and the formatting of the web document. Web browsers use the HTML tags to define how to display the text.

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Index, or Directory (as in Search Engine Directory)

A database of website locations created and edited manually by people. Sites are indexed by category making this feature the main difference to a Search Engine. Users can navigate through the categories to locate documents or information. This is very similar to the Yellow Pages. Real people enter your website information into their database and your site returns on their search engine results pages.

IP Address

Short for Internet Protocol Address. A unique number identifying every computer on the Internet (example 209.133.245.2). Domain names are plain text (www.example-domain-name.com) and therefore easier to remember. The Internet however, is based on IP addresses and are not so easy to remember. Every time you use a domain name, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address in order to then find the site you are looking for and return the resulting website in your browser.

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JPEG / JPG

Pronounced J-Peg. Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Graphic formats for storing compressed images. It is widely used on the Internet and other digital applications. A JPG can display unlimited colors and is typically used for photographic images. Alternately, a GIF is used for flat, illustrated looking images, like a limited color logo.

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Kerning

The horizontal spacing between the letters in a word.

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Leading

Pronounced LEDD-ing and not like the opposite of following (LEED-ding). The vertical spacing between lines of text in a paragraph.

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Meta Tags

HTML tags inserted into web pages or documents to describe the document. These are located in the non-displaying portion at the head of a Web page, so site visitors do not see this content on your web page. Meta tags contain useful information about the page - title, description, keywords, etc. They are used to send this vital information to the search engines and spiders.

Mouseover

A popular special effect for web graphics, generally programmed in JavaScript, that changes color of text or a graphic image when you place your cursor over it. Mouseovers can also be used to trigger navigation changes and pop-up windows.

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Raster

Raster images are made of pixels, or little "dots" of color, like a photo taken with a digital camera. The benefit of a raster image is that you can get a more realistic image, like a photo. The major drawback with a raster image is scalability. If you greatly enlarge a digital photo and print it out, it will be blurry. The dots just get bigger and bigger to fill the larger space, and you can see it losing resolution. Another drawback is the potential added expense of printing. This kind of image is printed by "process printing"- which means a printer uses 4 inks (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black- hence the CMYK term) in different percentages to make up the colors in the design. This is fine in full color projects, like a color brochure, since you will be paying for full color printing anyway.

RGB

Stands for the colors Red-Green-Blue. In web design and design for computer monitors, colors are defined in terms of a combination of these three colors. This is because a monitor displays things using three different colored lights - red, green and blue. Everything you see on your screen is made up of those lights shining in different proportions of red, green and blue, which make all colors that can be seen on a standard computer monitor. In contrast, print designers typically define colors using CMYK, or Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, the colors of the inks they use which then combine in different proportions to make all of the colors you see in a full color magazine image.

Resolution

The resolution of an image describes how fine the dots are that make up that image. The more dots, the higher the resolution. In print projects, you will need at least 300 dots of ink per inch to display a clean, crisp image. When displayed on a monitor, the dots are called pixels, Since they are light shining out through the monitor, they require less of them to become a clear image. 72 dpi is enough to create a crisp online image.

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Sans Serif

A style of typeface that means "without feet", or the little "ticks" or "tags" at the ends of the letter strokes. Common sans serif typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, AvantGarde and Verdana. Sans serif fonts are typically reserved for headlines in printed materials.

Search Engine (or Search Spider or Robot)

A program that performs searching documents for specified terms or phrases and returns a list of the documents where those terms were found. The most popular search engines today are Google, Yahoo, MSN, AllTheWeb, Excite, Lycos, AOL, HotBot, and Altavista.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an act of creating a website with targeted keywords and meta tags that catch the "eye" of search engine spiders or robots, thus increasing the the number of visitors to a particular web site by adding appropriate keywords and phrases, and such ranking high in the search results. The higher a web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that your site will be found by a search user. For general and competitive web sites it takes a lot of professionalism to tweak the web site in order to be well optimized and search engine friendly.

Serif

A style of typeface that has little "feet", "ticks" or "tags." Common serif typefaces include Times Roman, Garamond, and Palatino. Serif fonts are easier to read in printed materials due to the "feet" that visually connect one letter to the next. Because of this increased readability, it is commonly used as body text in print, and as accent or headline text online.

Spam

A curious canned lunch meat originally created for war-time meals. Just kidding. Online, spam refers to the practice of indiscriminately sending unsolicited commercial messages or advertisements to email users in bulk. Today, spam comprises some 80 to 85% of all the email in the world, by conservative estimate. It is illegal, based on the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The name comes from "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing"

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URL

Short for Uniform Resource Locator. An address referring to an individual web page element or web document on the Internet.

Upload

To transfer a file from a local computer to a remote computer. In web terms: to transfer a file from a web client to a web server. (see also Download).

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Vector Graphic

A graphic image drawn by mathematical calculations of lines and shapes. These usually look more like an illustration or drawing with "flat" colors, rather than like a photograph. The drawback is limited “realism” - a more drawing-based look, but there are many advantages. First, it can be scaled to any size imaginable without loss of resolution (getting blurry) because the software just recalculates the lines and shapes into a larger scaled shape. Another benefit is that you “tag” each part of a logo with a specific color. Future marketing pieces can also be tagged with the same color and the printer will use those specific colors of ink, creating stronger branding consistency.

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Web Server Error

A message from a web server indicating an error. The most common web server error is "404 File Not Found". You can create custom 404 Error pages so that visitors see your site's error page instead of the browsers default 404 page.

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