Glossary

Glossary

Learn more about common terms used in the graphic design industry that are also used frequently throughout our website.

These terms will help you understand more about graphic design, printing and more. If you're unsure of a term found on our website you should be able to find it here. If the word you are looking for is not listed below please feel free to email us and let us know so that we may include it. Don't fear, because if you don't know what something means then odds are you're not alone.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

A

Adhesive

Adhesives are bonding agents usually on the backside of vinyl decals that help create a bond to the application surface. Adhesives can either be solvent or water based. We primarily use solvent based adhesives and suggest the wet application method for vinyl decals as this provides a more fool proof application process.

Aliasing

Is an undesirable effect where an image or letter is characterized through a stair-step appearance. Aliasing only affects bitmapped or rastered images. Described by many designers as the results from jagged or saw-toothed low-resolution images and have been enlarged beyond their means. Also referred to as jaggies.

Alignment

A term used to refer to the positioning of text graphics along an imaginary reference line.

Antialiasing

Is a workaround solution for aliasing issues. See Aliasing above. The technique is used to diminish jaggies or pixilation in images by combining two adjoining pixels and making a new middle-ground version to weaken the pixilation appearance. Typically needed when resolution on bitmapped or rastered images are too small for quality prints. With antialiasing enabled in graphic software the jagged edges of images is reduced. Unfortunatly this also causes another unwanted blurry effect. Another common term used in the graphics industry is called oversampling. Vector graphics have no need for antialiasing because vector graphics are not based on pixels.

Ascender

The extended part of a lowercase letter that rises above the main body of text. For example the letters “b”, “d”, “h”, and “k” all have ascenders. An ascender is the opposite of a decender.

B

Back Liner

The back liner is also referred to as the carrying paper. The back liner is the part of a vinyl decal or window sticker that protects decal adhesive from contaminates. Back liners are usually coated with a silicone or waxy substance for easy removal. Back liners are also used for window clings. Because window clings are reusable we suggest keeping the back liner for storage when the cling is not being used.

Banner

The most commonly used material is a heavy weight vinyl technically known as PVC. The weights of the different banner substrates range from as light as 9 ounces to as heavy as 22 ounces per square yard, and may be double- or single-sided. We currently produce single sided banners on 13 oz matte material. Grommets can also be added in order to facilitate hanging of the banner. Banner hem tapes are also used to protect the lamination of the banner, fasten the hems neatly, and adhere to various surfaces. Large banners (which can be so large that they cover the side of a building) are printed on a special mesh material so that the wind can pass through them.

Baseline

An invisible horizontal line on which the feet or base of all textual characters rest. The baseline is also used for the proper alignment of type.

Bitmap

The collection of individual dots or pixels that compose an image for monitor display. Rastered images use bitmapping to produce photographs. Upon close inspection of a JPG, JPEG, GIF, and PNG you may notice individual dots that make up the image. Also known as rastered images.

Bleed

An image, graphic or photo that extends beyond one or more of the edge of a product or page and is later trimmed so that outcome is full color from edge to edge. In other words the color seems to “bleed” off the page. We use bleeds for products all the time. In fact if you create your own vinyl decal or car magnet and have artwork that falls off the edge of the shape we will use some of that “excess” artwork as a bleed. That way if the cutting process is off a little - we will have plenty of room and won’t miss our mark.

Body Text

Is a large amount of text; usually in the form of a paragraph or two. Also referred to as body copy.

C

Calender Vinyl

For the most part we use a calendar vinyl material for our window decals. Calendar vinyl starts out as a lump of PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride aka plastic). Pigments, plasticizers, and UV Absorbers are then added to the PVC lump of dough. This mixture is then heated and rolled through multiple extruders to form a thin sheet. Adhesive coating is then added to the backing. When ready a carrying paper is added for easy removal. The vinyl we use is 2.5mils thick (not millimeters). 2.5mils equals 0.0025 inches. One Mil equals 0.001” thick. MILS and millimeters are not the same thing. Calendered vinyl will have some memory and may conform to soft shapes. If you stretch calendered vinyl it may want to go back to its original shape but will never really go back as if nothing ever happened. Stretching calendar vinyl too much will ruin the vinyl.

Camera-Ready

Artwork that is ready to be printed and requires no additional layout, positioning, redrawing, or typesetting.

Cap Height

The distance from the baseline to the top of capital letters.

Carrying Paper The back liner of a vinyl decal also referred to as back liner. Depending on the decal, your decal could be composed of four elements. The transfer tape (top layer), vinyl (second layer), adhesive (third layer), Carrying paper (aka back liner). Most liners are coated with either a waxy substance or silicone. The adhesive on the transfer tape is less tacky than the decal adhesive making it possible for the decal to be transferred from the carrying paper to the application surface on one swift move. Cast Vinyl

Cast vinyl, just like calendered vinyl, is also made from PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride, aka plastic). This method of creating vinyl also includes Pigments, Plasticizers, solvents and UV absorbers; however it is made from a liquid pouring process that provides advantages over the calendered vinyl. The vinyl is then heated in a series of ovens until the solvents from the mixture have evaporated. The result is a thin vinyl film. When ready this film can then have adhesive and release liners applied. Cast vinyls are flexible and conformable. Cast vinyl is often used for car and product wraps. In regards to eco-friendly vinyl materials Cast Vinyl is one of the worst. There are many kinds of vinyl materials, to learn about the most common variety see Calender Vinyl.

Character

Besides cartoon characters and the character of your personality we consider characters to be any letter punctuation, or symbol. Spaces are also often considered characters.

Clip Art

A general name given for pre-drawn artwork sold or distributed for clipping and pasting onto products. Good clip art should be well categorized and easy to search through.

CMYK Abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Key). The four process colors known as cmyk is often used in professional printing companies. Files sometimes need to be setup in cmyk for the colors to come out as expected. Computer screens use RGB colors to display color, therefore what you see on a computer screen is not necessarily what you should expect to see in a print, however results may be close. Color Chart

Also known as a color reference card is a sample set of color swatches used to accurately mix, match, choose, and communicate a particular color. Also see PMS (Pantone Matching System).

Color Gamut

This is the limit of colors that than be produced with the current number of base colors. The larger the color gamut the more vibrant and colorful the final results will be. Should not be confused with color pallet.

Color Matching System (CMS)

A set of colors or swatches sometimes in printed but often in computer programs used to compare, match, and specify different colors. Also see PMS (Pantone Matching System). The shorthand version of Color Matching System is CMS but should not be confused with Content Management System, which refers to something entirely different.

Color Separation

Many offset, silk-screening and foil printing processes require a separation of colors. Every image contains four main colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black). By separating artwork, intended to be printed, into four main colors printers can then print each color one at a time. This process of dividing full-color photographs into four separate components is known as color separation.

Color Swatch

Generally a piece of paper or cloth with a printed color used for matching another color printed on different equipment. Sometimes color swatches are stored digitally and can be used to describe a particular print setting for accurate results. Also see PMS (Pantone Matching System).

Color Wheel

Generally a circle shaped graphic showcasing color ranges organized from red to purple. Color wheels can be created in various forms and do not need to be in a circle or wheel shape. The color wheel is composed of Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary colors. Primary Colors = red, blue and yellow. (In printing; cyan, magenta, and yellow). Secondary Colors = Orange, Violet, and Green. Tertiary Colors = Colors produced by mixing two or more secondary colors, as in Green-Violet, Orange-Green, Violet-Orange, etc. See picture of color wheel.

Complementary Colors

The colors directly opposite of each other on the color wheel. For example Blue and Orange, Yellow and Violet, Red and Green are considered to be complementary color combinations.

Comprehensive Layout

Also referred to as a “comp” - a comprehensive layout refers to the design or layout in graphic design or advertising. Many times comps are viewed as a detailed draft of the final result. Comps will often show the exact placement of design elements in a form comparable to that of the final print.

Contour

The outside edge of combined design elements is often referred to as a contour. We will often contour cut custom decals.

Copy

Any handwritten or typed content that is meant to be formed into a document, design, or advertising piece. The term copy is used quite often in newpaper jargon and magazine companies. Copy can also refer to any other page element including illustrations, photographs, and more that will need to be prepared for publication.

Crop Marks

Cross hairs or vertical and horizontal lines printed on a substrate to indicate the proper place to start cutting. Also spelled as one word: cropmarks.

CroppingThe vertical or horizontal removal of unwanted sections of an image.

D

Descender

The opposite of ascender where as the portion of lowercase letters that extends below the baseline of a textual character - as in “g”, “j”, “p”, “q”, and “y”.

Die

A die is a form or mode that is used to punch, block, stamp or cut out a particular shape or product.

Diecutting

The process of using a die mold or cast to punch, stamp or knockout a final product.

Digital Proof

A digital proof is an electronic version of something that needs approved. Our design tools will provide a digital proof for your review just before you add your item to your shopping cart. We will also sometimes send a digital proof via email if changes are necessary.

Dither

The addition and creation of a new pixel placed between two current pixels. The color of the new pixel in question is determined by a combined version of the two adjoining pixels. Dithering is often used to eliminate unwanted jaggies. Also see Pixilation or Aliasing.

DPI

(Dots per inch) is a unit of measurement used to describe the resolution of printed output. All images have a DPI except vector images. Common desktop laser printers output at 300 dpi while medium-resolution printers output at 600 dpi, and Image setters output at 1270-2540 dpi. We currently print at 600 dpi. We suggest images have 300 dpi at full size without enlarging the image. We will sometimes print images with lower a dpi but 300 is recommended. Most images you’ll find on the internet will be 72dpi, which is standard for screen or monitor viewing.

Down Sampling

Also known as downsampling is the process of creating a copy of a file with less data. This is done to save on file sizes and improve refresh rates when needed.

E

Engraving

The process of creating a cut pattering through etching into a surface. Engraving is often done manually by hand but can also be done with electronic equipment. We currently do not offer engraving services. None of our products are currently engraved.

F

Flush Right

Is a term that describes a paragraph orientation. Flush right has text aligned to the right side.

Flush Left

Is a term that describes a paragraph orientation. Flush left has text aligned to the left side.

Font

A font is a different set of character sets that cover the entire alphabet and often numbers from 0-9. Different fonts have different looks and can be used to express different feelings. A scripted font may carry a feminine feeling while a thick and heavy font style may have a masculine feeling.

Four-Color Process

Is the process of printing four colors independently of each other. This process is kind of like magic in the sense that each color alone does not look like much but when combining all four colors together full color images and photographic results can be seen. These four colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK)

G

GIF

Pronounced JIF (kind of like the peanut butter brand). Is the file extension for Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs are image files that are compressed to reduce transfer time. Gif files are often used for animated images without sound. GIF files support transparent backgrounds through a simple binary transparency while png files use an alpha transparency. Gif files are limited to 256 colors and are not ideal for printing. PNG is an improved version of the GIF file.

H

Halftone

A series of small dots of varying size and density that makes up an image. Halftones are often used in the silk-screening process to imitate gradients. Upon close viewing halftone dots are visible but when viewing from further distances these dots blur to the eye and create a faux gradient or drop shadow. This optical illusion creates a continuous tone. Older comics show great examples of halftones in use.

Hickey

Defects in printing caused by unwanted particles like lint, dust and other debris. These particles are usually attached to the substrate or printing plate during production.

I

Ink Holdout

Most ink will penetrate and saturate a piece of paper. Some paper types with a higher ink holdout prevent ink from penetrating the surface of the paper. This ability of paper to prevent ink from penetrating into its surface has many uses. Some of our papers used on our production process use a specialty paper with a high ink holdout.

J

Jaggies

Jaggies or aliasing is a term that refers to an unwanted stairstep or pixilation effect from low resoliton images.

Justification

Is a setting applied to lined of text so that they line up on the left and right. Without justification lines of text would appear ragged on one side or the other of a paragraph.

Justified

Similar to justification except both sides of a paragraphs are lined and smooth. No ragged appearance on either side. Also known as justified text, justified type, and justified composition.

JPEG

Is short for Joint Photographics Experts Group. This group is the creators of the jpeg and jpg file format. This file format uses a lossy compression method that allows millions of colors unlike the GIF file format. With JPEG and JPG files creators can lower the quality from 100 down to 1 for smaller file sizes. The smaller the setting the lower the quality and smaller the file size. A happy medium of quality vs file size is best for the internet while a setting of 100 is best for printing. There is a newer JPEG standard called JPEG2000 with better compression and other capabilities but this isn't in wide use yet.

JPG

Another file extension also known as JPEG.

K

Kerning

Is the reduction or increase of spacing between certain character combinations. Also known as letter spacing this helps improve the space between characters. Kerning is usually use for aesthetic reasons.

Kiss Cut

To cut through the top layer but not the backing paper. All of our vinyl decals use the kiss cut method. We cut through the vinyl but do not cut through the carrying paper.

Knockout

A leftover space in a letter or document that is not to be printed. The inside of letters, like a, b, d, g are good examples of a knockout. The term knockout is used to describe any area that does not print. This includes text, photos, clip art, and more. When designing through most of our design tools you’ll notice a checkered background. The checkered background represents a knocked out area or area that will not print.

L

Laminate

To bond plastic film to substrates through heat and pressure. Many laminates are applied to printed materials for sun and weather protection and expand life expectancy. We currently do not laminate any of our products. Though lamination can add lifespan to products, we find that they can also affect the quality of a decal.

Landscape

The horizontal orientation of a page. This format provides a longer width than height and is ideal for scenic photographs. Landscape is also known as the opposite of Portrait.

Leading

Also knows as Line Spacing. With leading (pronounced “led-ding”) With leading (aka Line Spacing) you can increase or decrease the spacing between one line of text and another. Line spacing is a term more commonly used for websites; whereas leading is more common in printing. Since we’re a company who fits both categories we felt it was important to include both terms.

Letterspacing

Also commonly known as tracking. With letter spacing you can adjust the space between textual characters for tighter or looser text. Letterspacing is a term more common to the internet while the term tracking is used more often for printing. Since we’re an online company that prints your designs we have included both terms in our glossary.

Line Art

Artwork either hand or computer drawn that contains shapes and lines without gradients, halftones or drop shadows. Pen/ink drawings are often considered line art. Line art is more commonly seen in black and white.

Low-Resolution

Raster or bitmapped images all have a resolution setting. The resolution of an image can either be high or low depending on the intended use of the image. Images used for computer display can be low resolution while in printed form higher resolutions are needed. A low resolution for printing would be considered to be anything under 150 dpi (dot per inch). The human eye cannot see individual dots at 72dpi, however printing and screen resolution is not the same. Prints at that low of a resolution do not look good. We recommend 300 DPI (dots per inch) at full size for best results. For instance - if the final size of your image is 3”x3” and has a 300 DPI resolution your print will look very nice. However if you had the same image but wanted it to be enlarged to a 9”9” size you can expect your resolution to drop to 100dpi (not suitable for a quality print). We would consider an image having low resolution if it was under 300dpi. You can find the resolution of your image by right clicking on the image file and choosing properties and then details. In some cases the dpi of an image is low but the physical size of the image is much larger than needed. When resizing the image for a smaller size the resolution will go up.

M

Magenta

One of the four process color inks used in multicolor printing. Magenta it is the red component used in many types of color mixing. You can read more about Magenta through CMYK

Margin

Any deliberately unprinted edges on a page. Typically used on the left or right side of the page and around paragraphs of text. Margins are used not only for aesthetics and readability, but also to provide room for post printing processes. We suggest at least ¼” margin from the edge of any decal, sticker, magnet or static cling for safe trimming; unless your plan is for a full bleed.

Miniscule

We will sometimes use the word miniscule to refer to something that is really small. Also another term for a lowercase letter.

Monochromatic

Artwork that uses a single color in multiple tints and shades.

N

Negative Space

In graphic design, negative space, also known as white space, is the area not occupied by images or text. Negative space is a valuable resource and can help draw attention to something important. Many people feel a strong desire to fill “empty” space with something but we suggest avoiding this temptation and instead use the negative space to your advantage.

O

Oblique

Another term for italic text that is leaning or slanting to one side.

Offset Printing

A term describing the most common form of lithography (a printing process in which the image area and the non-image area coexist on the same plane, rather than from raised or etched type) in which a printed image is transferred first to a rubber blanket, and the blanket then transfers (or “offsets”) the image to the paper or other surface. Also referred to as Offset Lithography.

P

Palette

The range of colors used in a project, graphic program, or painters board. Also see PMS, Color Chart or Color Matching System. If your design uses Red, Green and Blue then those three colors are considered your palette.

Pantone

Is a brand-name for a popular color matching system. Pantone is also considered to be a series of printed color swatches used to match and identify specific colors. Commonly used in the graphics industry to ensure proper color printing. See our standard color Pantone comparison.

PDF

Is a shorthand for Portable Document Format. This file format was developed by Adobe and was created to help capture formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications. PDF files make it possible to send formatted documents to a variety of people without having to worry about file extensions or multiple programs to view and print the file. They also help to display the file on computer monitors or printer as they were intended. Adobe Reader is needed to view a PDF formatted file. PDF files can contain both rastered (aka bit map) and vector data.

Pixel

The smallest point or dot in a bit mapped image. See the following image for example.

Pixilation

Is the process at which individual pixels can be seen. Pixilation is the result of a low resolution image and has the appearance of jagged edges or stair steps. It is also a term to describe something that is behaving in a strange or whimsical way. We will always refer to pixilation as the visual results of a low resolution image.

PNG

A file format abbreviation for Portable Network Graphic. PNG (pronounced ping as in ping-pong) is a file format for image compression that, is likely to replace the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). It provides a number of improvements over the GIF format; including but not limited to transparent backgrounds. PNG files are not intended to replace the JPEG format.

Point Size

Is an unit of measurement commonly used to specify type size. There are 72 points in an inch.

Portrait

Any rectangle shaped page viewed in vertically. In other words the height of the page is greater than its width. The reverse of portrait would be called landscape.

PMS

Stands for Pantone Matching System.

Pre Production

The process of setting jobs to go through production. This often involves cleaning up artwork, making sure the colors, size and quantity settings are correct and adding any cut marks needed. This is the point in our process where we find issues with customer’s orders and will contact them for new artwork and suggestions about moving forward. In some industries this is known as prepress duties.

Primary Colors

Any set of colors within a particular color system that are the most basic colors for that system. All other colors can be produced from the primaries, but the primaries cannot be produced by combinations of other colors. Primary colors often and usually include Red, Blue and Yellow.

Proof

Digital and Physical Proofs are individual runs involving one or two copies of a large quantity run. This helps ensure that the final output will be correct. We do not provide free proofs and suggest that customers order a quantity of one as a physical proof before ordering a larger quantity. Digital proofs are provided to customers just before adding their order to their shopping cart. Proofs help highlight typos, positional errors, layout problems and color issues. NOTE: we do not spell check and are not responsible for misspelled words. The digital proof is your opportunity to make sure your order is exactly as you want it.

Process Colors

In many printing industries an image or colored artwork can be separated into 4 colors. In offset printing process these four colors are produced into a printing plate and then combined to form a full color image. In modern printers plates are not made but software still separates the different colors. The modern printer will then print all 4 colors at the same time. In some cases some printers are now using 6 or even 8 colors. The addition of Light Cyan and Light Magenta are quite common and helps extend the color gamut for more vivid results. The separation of these four colors are known as Process Colors and sometimes interchangeably called CMYK.

Proportional

Relates to the height and width in relationship to normal formatting. With proportions locked the changing of a width will also change the height prospectively. If proportions are not locked and the width is changed then the height will not change. This will skew the results and look un-proportional to other elements in the design.

Q

Quantity

The amount of something or total of all parts combined.

Quality

The good stuff.

Quantify

The measurement of quantity based on quality compared to value.

Quantitative

Involving the measurement of quantity or amount.

R

Raster Graphics

Another term for bitmapped graphics also known as bitmap images and considered to be the opposite of vector. Rastered graphics have a maximum set resolution while vector graphics do not.

Registration

The orientation relationship between multiple colors printed in the same location. A poor registration will show a shift in colors while a good registration will show one color directly on top of another color. Registration issues are not only related to the printing colors but can also relate to the process of print to cut processes; where the cuts are shifted slightly. We work hard to ensure accurate registration but an error tolerance of at least 0.015625” (1/64”) is something we consider tolerable.

Res

An abbreviation for resolution.

Resolution

Resolution is measurment related to bit mapped images (aka raster images) helps hint at the quality of an image and can help determine if the image will produce a good result or not before printing takes place. Images with a 72dpi (dots per inch) resolution is suitable for computer screens but not printing, due to the different mediums (print vs screen). Resolution is not a factor with vector images. Many digital cameras with a high megapixel count can produce images with high resolution depending on camera settings. You can calculate the resolution of your image if you know how tall and wide your image is and how many pixels there are in both directions. A 3000x2000 pixel image will produce an image 41.6”x27.7” at 72dpi. Remember 72 DPI is usually one inch in size by default. You can compress your 3000x2000 pixel image down to 10”x6.6” and have a resolution of 300 DPI. We suggest at least 300 DPI for best results.

RGB

A well known abbreviation for Red, Green, Blue. Computer monitors, TVs and other screens use these three colors to generate images while most printers uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK).

Rough

Is similar to a proof but in reality is a couple grades below a proof. Roughs can be a sketch or enhanced thumbnail of a design or layout that depicts a somewhat accurate representation of the final size and position of all design elements. Roughs are usually drawn on tracing paper by hand. The next step up from a rough is a comprehensive layout and then digital proof and lastly a physical proof.

S

Sans Serif

Sans means without. You can refer to your cheeseburger order as sans pickle if you don’t want pickles on your burger. Sans serif means without serifs. To fully understand what sans serif means you need to learn what a serif is. Serifs are lines crossing the free end of the stroke in textual characters. Helvetica or Arial are fonts great examples of sans serif fonts. See the following image for example of a sans serif font. The opposite of a sans serif based font would be a serif based font; for example Times New Roman.

Serif

Textual characters that have tabs or marks at the end of a stroke. Typefaces that have serifs are common in books and large paragraphs of text where the eye needs direction and focus. Messages that are quick and made to grab attention are usually Sans Serif because it’s easier to read at a quick glance; think of a stop sign compared to a thick novel. See the following image for example.

Squeegee

We use the term squeegee in at least two different forms – nouns and verbs. A squeegee is a firm plastic tool with a straight edge for pushing out air and moisture from underneath vinyl applications. We prefer squeegees with a soft enough edge that it can help conform to the decal and surface but firm enough that air bubbles and moisture have no other option than to move out of the way. To squeegee a decal is the action of using a soft, yet firm, straight edged tool and push out all air bubbles and moisture.

Stairstep

An alternate term for jaggies or the effect of aliasing and low resolution images through unwanted printing results. A higher resolution and programs that allow for anti-aliasing options will help to eliminate the undesired stairstep look.

Subscript

Text with a smaller than normal character point size that is positioned below the baseline. Subscript is also sometimes called inferior. The opposite of superscript.

Substrate

Is a professional term that refers to any surface that is to be printed on.

Superscript

Text with a smaller than normal character point size that is positioned above the baseline. Superscript is also sometimes called superior. The opposite of Subscript.

Swatch

Another term for color swatch. Think of paint swatches when selecting paint for a wall.

SWOP

Stands for Specifications for Web-Offset Publications. SWOP is a set of standards for color proofing and was developed by a joint committee to ensure that colors are reproduced consistently among different publishers and publications.

T

Tags

A piece of code attached to a specific text or image that provides instructions for its content. For instance a picture of an apple might have the following tags: Apple, Red Delicious, Macintosh, Fruit, Food, etc,.

Template

Templates are general starting points for something greater or more specific. We use templates for products with different themes and niche categories to help get customers started on their design. Our templates are helpful when customers feel stumped for an idea or are not sure where to get started. Templates can also be described as a layout, background grid, image, or shape used to indicate where page elements go. Templates are often used to define a possible layout.

Text Wrap

Also known as word wrap. This wrapping process is basically the return of text to a new line.

Thumbnails

A small, crude sketch of a proposed design or layout. Sometimes considered to be a smaller version of the full size item. Many times thumbnails are created in masses during a brainstorming session or the brain dump phase of design. We use thumbnails often in customers shopping carts so they know more about which design is which. Quality thumbnails will often have a larger version that can be viewed when clicked.

TIFF

A less common file format for distributing high quality scanned images or photographic images. TIFF is an abbreviation for Tag Image File Format. Tiff files can be saved without compression resulting in large file sizes. This is one of many reasons we do not allow tiff file uploads through our design tools.

Tint

A shade or variety of color. Tints are small uniform dots printed to create a lighter version of a color. Dots become smaller and less frequent for lighter colors. Halftones are similar in that they can also provide a tinted appearance but are created with variable dot sizes ranging from large to very small.

Tracking

With tracking you can increase or decrease the spacing between characters. Tracking is also often referred to as letterspacing. Tracking (Aka letterspacing) helps save space and sometimes enhances a fonts appearance – that is depending on the intended use.

Typeface

Many fonts have different versions or effects like bold and italics. These varieties are known as a typeface and can greatly change the default appearance of a font.

Type Family

Groups of typefaces created by common design characteristics. Each member may vary by weight (bold vs. regular) and width (expanded vs. condensed) and may have related italic versions. Type Family and Typeface are often confused as you can see.

Typescript

Refers to fonts with a handwritten appearance. Typescript has also been referred to as any original handwritten or typed document from which type will be set.

Typography

Typography is a true art form. Without typographers we would have no written language and communication between people would be difficult. This form of art is the process of font creation, font recognition and the paring of fonts to form an engaging document. Many quality typographers won’t even need photographs or artwork in order to generate something entertaining. When working with typography designers will utilize placement, lettering spacing, weight, scale, multiple font selections and more to ensure proper communication and emotional impact. The best typographers will work with aesthetic appeal and can transform a font into something entirely different.

U

Unit

We refer to units when considering quantities of an order. Because we do not have minimum quantity limits on many of our products one unit equals one piece. Units can also be referred to as a quantity of measurement between characters or design elements.

V

Vector

Graphic files primarily composed of mathematical shapes with a fill color. Because vector graphics are shapes derived from mathematical equations vector images can be enlarged or shrunk without losing quality. Vectors are often used to communicate with printers and plotters to control shape and scale. Many professional printers may require a vector graphic for best results. In fact – some printing technologies still require vector data. Printing technologies like silk-screening, embroidery, and engraving are just a few examples of when a vector graphic may be needed.

Vignette

A slow gradation of color until the image or shape fades into the background. See the following image as an example. Many movies or photographs will use a vignette to trigger the viewer into recognizing a memory.

Vinyl

Most vinyl is made from a petroleum based product. There are some plant based vinyl options available that don’t use petroleum. We currently use the petroleum variety and will continue to research our options until we find something more earth conscious and has similar budget equality. There are many varieties of vinyl that can be used for professional graphics and decals. To learn more about vinyl material options see Cast Vinyl or Calender Vinyl.

W

Watermark

Watermarks are common when companies attempt to copyright something that belongs to them. Often a faint image or shape that is applied to an image, artwork, or paper to help ensure that others know the item is protected under copyright or patent laws. The following image shows an example of a watermark. Many stock photography companies utilize the watermark feature heavily.

Weight

All graphical elements have “weight” to them. Dark colors, large graphics and highly contrasting images are good examples of weight. When creating a design layout the largest, darkest and highest element on the hierarchy tree will often have the heaviest weight.

White Space

White space is often referred to as negative space in which areas in your design where nothing is present. White space (aka negative space) is a powerful tool if used correctly. White space helps bring attention to something important and can help give weight to the important elements. See the following example of white space in use.

Word Wrap

Also known as text wrap. Word wrap (aka text wrap) is a feature that automatically relocates a word to the next line of text when it will not fit on the current line.

WYSIWYG

A common abbreviation for “What you see, is what you get.” Our design tools often use the WYSIWYG model. The only time this may not be accurate is based on size and colors. Sometimes the design tool is not capable of displaying your size at full scale. Computer monitors range in settings and quality, therefore the color you see on your screen is not necessarily the exact same color you will receive. In many cases the printed color will vary in a few shades and will not come out looking completely different. In other words if you order something that is red it should not look blue when you open your package.

X

x-Height

Is known as the height of the lowercase letter “x” and represents the most important area of a font because this is where the eye usually travels when reading. Also known as Corpus Size. Most curved letters like c, s, and o exceed the x-Height slightly.

Y

None.

Z

None.