26 Jan Design Terms That Are Commonly Misused
Not everyone who dabbles in design is a designer, which should come as no surprise. Everyone has a range of experience in the field with a range of understanding how the design process, and everything involved with it, works. Part of becoming an even better designer, though, is making sure that you understand standard design terms. So, if you’re looking to up your game in this area, read on to see how many of these vocab words you might be misusing.
Can You Read Me Now?
A big part of design is font, or typography. When choosing fonts for your site, you have to make sure that they’re legible— or, is it “readable?” There’s a difference! Legible means that “you can easily tell each letter from the one beside it” whereas readable is “the ease in which someone can read your copy.” It seems as if there really isn’t a difference, and though it’s slight, there is a distinction. An easy example is when looking at a script or handwriting-like font: it is likely legible, but not readable. You know there are different letters, but you may not be able to distinguish them.
On a similar note, font is often misused (even in the above paragraph). In conversation, many people talk about what “font” they would prefer, and list things like Arial, Times New Roman, etc. However, the proper term for these is “typeface,” not font. Font actually refers to the “weight” of the letters: italics and bold, for example. You can have a typeface with font, then, if you’re using Times New Roman and bold the letters. This is why, behind the scenes, the design terms used are “font family” and “font weight” in order to distinguish the two.
Hue, Wireframe, White Space, and Other Design Terms
This one may seem a little nit-picky, but it’s another common misuse of terminology. Hue is the accurate term for what we usually call a “color.” Technically speaking, a hue is something like blue, whereas a color is a shade of that hue: dark blue, light blue, royal blue. You may not ever be quizzed on this (or any of the other design terms), but it’s certainly interesting to see how often we all confuse one word with another, particularly when their meanings are fairly similar.
One term that may be a little more complicated than the others is wireframe and how it is often swapped out for “mockup” or “prototype.” As you’ve likely guessed, these words aren’t interchangeable. A mockup is usually the state of your site where “none of the content works, it’s probably all placeholder and filler,” etc. This is often what is sent for review to clients in early stages of design and development. A wireframe is probably something you haven’t encountered unless you’ve done some designing of your own: it displays “the layout of the page, but not what it actually looks like.” It’s more bare-bones than a mockup.
Finally, the difference between white space and “negative space.” You may hear a client saying that they want more “negative space” on the page, but that isn’t what they mean. White space is intentional, whereas negative space is “within shapes and content.” You might have negative space between letters or pieces of a logo, for example, whereas white space is the margins and breaks around and between text. You likely add and remove white space all the time with margin and padding settings, but negative space isn’t paid quite as much attention. Again, it’s only a slight differentiation, but it matters!
If you need some help to better understand these and other design terms, then get in touch with Eyler Creative. We will work with you to develop and execute a marketing strategy tailored specifically to your business’s needs.
We are a digital creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland with an excellent team of marketing managers, creative designers, developers and programmers all working together with one common mission – to deliver the absolute best client experience and solutions to reach your goals. We’d love to work with you on your next project.