Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hablas Designer?

“We’ll use the 72 dpi royalty-free jpg for FPO and then replace it with the vector-based art. Also, the press needs a CMYK, hi-res, 300 dpi pdf of the dieline with bleeds.”

Say what!

Often times, designers don’t realize that we’ve developed our own little language. We’ll ask for a certain type of file, or get into press-talk (lingo for the printer) and not realize that we’ve essentially just muttered complete gobblitygook to any regular human being! As this miscommunication seems to occur on a regular basis, especially with small business owners who are handling most aspects of the business’s PR and marketing, I’ve developed a glossary of common design-to-client phrases and vocabulary. I hope this will help when dealing with a graphic designer on your next marketing campaign!

1. DPI (dots per inch): DPI is the number of dots (or pixels - PPI) that fit horizontally and vertically into a one-inch measure. The more dots per inch, the more detail is captured and the sharper the image. In order for a regular sized image to print clearly, it should be at least 266 dpi.

2. High-resolution image: An image with a high level of sharpness/clarity. High-resolution images for printing purposes are usually 266-300 dpi.

3. Four-color process: The printing process that reproduces colors by combining, cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). If you look at printed material through a magnifying glass, you'll see that the printed image consists of dots in these four colors. These dots are printed on top of each other, next to each other or just close to each other, depending on the color and tonal values wanted. For example; printing a blue dot over a yellow dot will give you green.

4. FPO (For placement only): This refers to images or text used “for placement only,” to indicate how the finished layout will look. Copy is usually called “dummy text,” and will most often look Latin. Images can be as simple as shaded boxes, or may be represented by low-resolution photos or illustrations, which will be replaced with high-resolution images (see #2) prior to printing.

5. PMS (Pantone Matching System): Trust me, it's not what you think! The Pantone Matching System is used for specifying and blending match colors. It provides designers with swatches of over 700 colors and gives printers the recipes for making those colors. PMS colors are often used for logos and other 2-3 color jobs.

6. CMYK: CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, the four process color inks. Most graphic design jobs, such as brochures, posters, postcards, or media kits will be printed in CMYK.

7. Resolution: An agreement? Not in a graphic design world! When referring to digital images, the resolution of an image is an important factor in determining the attainable output quality. The higher the resolution of an image, the less pixilated it will be and the curves of the image will appear smoother. High-resolution images for printing purposes are usually 266-300 dpi. (See #1 & #2)

8. Royalty-free Imagery: This has nothing to do with a lower-class of images! Royalty-Free images are intellectual property, like photos and graphic images, that are sold for a single standard fee. These can be used repeatedly by the purchaser only, but the company that sold the images usually still owns all the rights to it. Kalico Design has been successful with incorporating high-quality, low-cost royalty-free imagery in most of our designs. However, we will always consult our clients prior to purchasing.

9. Comp (comprehensive): Nope, sorry, this doesn’t imply that it’s free! Comp's are made to show what a prospective design project will look like, for example; the layout of the image, use of color, the size, folding, trimming and the paper that will be used. It is also named a dummy.

10. Grayscale: Grayscale images contains black, white, no color and up to 256 shades of gray.

11. Pixel: A single speckle of Tinkerbell’s pixie dust! And, in graphic design terms, a pixel is the smallest picture element (used to display an image on a computer) that can be independently assigned a color.

12. Vector-based graphic: Vector graphics are drawn in paths. This allows the designer to resize images freely without getting pixilated edges. Most vector images can be scaled up or down indefinitely without losing a lot of detail or quality. Images such as logos or charts and graphs are often best when supplied as vector-based art.

13. White Space: No, this is not an 80’s hair band! In visual arts, white space is often referred to as negative space. It is that portion of a page left unmarked: the space between graphics, margins, gutters, columns, etc. The term arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes generally use white paper. A page crammed full of text or graphics with very little white space runs the risk of appearing busy, cluttered, and is typically difficult to read. White space is the designer’s friend—it allows the eye to have a visual break when scanning across a layout. Do not be afraid to use it!

14. Dieline: (No reference to Halloween here!) Dielines are used as a placeholder for assisting in the proper layout of a document that will be custom cut as part of the finishing process. A dieline is not printed on the final piece but is used to determine correct layout, cutting and folding. Dielines are typically used for projects such as pocket folders, envelopes, or other packaging.

I hope this brief list of common graphic design terms will help you during the next conversation with your designer. And remember, should we ever use a phrase or term that is unfamiliar, just ask us, we love to speak designer!

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