10 Designer/Web Terms I Wish Everyone Knew

By | Design

1) Landing page

There are many different uses of this term which clients have often found to be very confusing. An article on Unbounce couldn’t have put it any better: “In the purest sense, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. However, when discussing landing pages within the realm of marketing and advertising, it’s more common to refer to a landing page as… Click To Tweet Now, you’re probably thinking ‘Really? A landing page is separate from my home page?’ Yes! The reason why this is important to understand is because a true landing page can be extremely useful for marketing your product or service and getting quality potential customers to your website. This is because landing pages can direct the user’s focus away from all the distractions a usual homepage would have and keep them focused on a special giveaway, offer, sign-up, or product you would like them to click on.

Unlike a homepage, landing pages are most commonly used for segmented audiences, meaning you would not send everyone who googled your service to this page (i.e. everyone who googled “Graphic Designer”); for this purpose, we would want to send them to the actual homepage because it is designed to give a generic overview of your product/service. For a specific type of user, on the other hand, (i.e. someone who googled “Logo Designer for cheap”) we would want to send them to a landing page that would relate to their unique interest (i.e. I would send this user to a landing page highlighting a special on logo designs and a call-to-action to call/email me or view my portfolio for more info).

2) Placeholder

I will commonly catch myself using this term without realization that it is not fully understood by the non-designer. A placeholder could be an image, object, or text placed within a design or web page in lieu of the actual content; a temporarily-placed item with the intent of having it be replaced with the correct item in the future. As you can imagine, this word can cause an upset between the client/designer relationship if it is not understood… “WHY ARE THERE PICTURES OF HORSES ALL OVER MY WEBSITE?” “Sir, they are only placeholders.”

3) Lorem Ipsum

“WHY IS THERE LATIN ALL OVER MY BUSINESS CARD???” Another common question every designer has heard (and silently chuckled about). Lorem Ipsum is a language created for use as a placeholder, used by us designers when we have not yet been given or placed the actual content within a design or web page. No, it is not Latin, Slovak, Spanish, Greek, or any other language you may have thought it was.

4) White Space

A very important aspect of design. To put it as simply as possible, white space is the area surrounding any object within a design in order to give that object priority or room to ‘breathe’. This term is harder to describe to the non-designer because it is commonly under-appreciated by someone that has not studied the principles of design. Just trust us on this one 🙂

5) Bleeds

This term pertains to designs that are going to be printed. As designers, we create bleeds around all edges of a design document that give the printer extra room (usually about 1/8th of an inch extra on all sides). The printer will ultimately be trimming the bleeds off as excess/unneeded paper. This is important to understand for anyone sending items to print because it also makes you realize that a printer will need a sheet of paper 1/4th of an inch wider and taller than what is actually required in the finished size. For example, printing an 8.5 x 11 inch design with bleeds would require the printer to use an 8.75 x 11.25 inch sheet of paper. Sometimes, depending on where you are getting your designs printed, a printer will not require bleeds. This sometimes can lead to lower-quality printing but still gets the job done! TIP: When hiring a designer for anything you will be printing, research what printer you’d like to use BEFORE the project begins. Ask your selected printer if they’d like the designer to create print-ready files with or without bleeds and also obtain quotes for different sized printing options, deciding on a final size BEFORE the designer begins the project. Re-sizing after a design is complete could add hours to design time that we don’t want to charge you.

6) High-Resolution

Most non-designers have some idea of what this means, but do they REALLY understand it? Designers will ask for high-resolution photos in order to maintain quality both within web and print designs. This means that the photo is large in size and high-quality (300dpi+ to be exact, but we won’t get too detailed here).

7) Responsive

This is a term used to describe the functionality of a website across all screen sizes – desktop, mobile, tablet, you name it! Responsiveness is often confused with a ‘mobile website’ which is, in fact, quite different. The difference is that, with a mobile website, there is a completely separate site when someone views on a mobile phone versus what they would see on a desktop. This also means that in-between sized screens such as a tablet do not see a correctly re-sized page but rather a desktop view that could be cutting things off or resizing the page oddly. Responsive websites, on the other hand, will resize the same website instantly when the screen size is adjusted. You can see this happen if you click and drag the size of your browser on your desktop to be super skinny or wide.

8) Body Copy

Body copy refers to the larger chunks of information/articles found on your website or printed collateral.

9) Tagline

Much like the term ‘landing page,’ the use of tagline varies dependent upon context. Within the design/advertising realm, Cambridge University puts it nicely: “a short, easily remembered phrase that a company uses in its advertisements…so that people will recognize it or its products: Writing a tagline is a good way to add character to your brand.” A tagline in this sense is the same phrase used again and again throughout designs for a brand – it is not meant to be a single-use title or phrase.

10) Hierarchy

When a designer refers to Hierarchy, they are talking about the importance of each item within a design – and how that importance corresponds with the rest of the items in the design. For example, in many designs you see there is the largest text found within a main title, second largest text for a sub-heading, and finally the smallest text for the body copy. Each piece in relation to each other should have consistent and easy-to-understand levels of importance.