Learn to speak the language of design

Learn to speak the language of design

Don’t know your anchor point from your airbrush or your leading from your logo design? Then it might be time to take a crash course in the language of design. Here’s a quick glossary of the key terms to take on board and when you might need them:

Anchor Point:

Let’s say you’re attempting to design your own logo in Photoshop or InDesign and want to manipulate a shape. You’re going to need an anchor point, which appears along the line at the beginning of a path (we’ll get to those later), on every curve and the end.


This is the part of the page that will be trimmed during the printing process. Avoid placing anything too close or outside the bleed!


This stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black and is a colour model used for those working on designs that will be printed. So if you’re creating a new logo that needs to be printed out on business cards be sure to check this box before exporting.


This acronym stands for dots per inch and is used to measure the sharpness of an image. The higher the DPI, the higher the quality of the image.


When you’re finished with a design you need to export the file to save it as a format other programmes can open.

Focal point:

This is the part of the page you want the viewer or reader’s eye to be drawn to.


It’s imperative that you set up a grid on whatever project you are working on, to ensure you get the composition and layout right.


This is a colour space that stands for hue, lightness and saturation.


This is when you make a line of text a certain length, simply by spacing out the characters.


Another space related action, this is when you modify the horizontal space between letters.


This tool is very important when it comes to logo design and enables you to place multiple images of text boxes over each other allowing you to gather and organise artwork.

Master page:

Every project has a master page that allows you to create a constant layout, which includes elements such as page numbers and headers. It saves you lots of work if you’re working on a brochure or leaflet.

Negative space:

This is the white space on the page that doesn’t feature any images or text. Many designers leave this blank for a clean, minimal effect.


When cutting out images to delete or move you will create a path, this allows you to see where you are drawing and uses anchor points, as noted above.


This colour model of red, green and blue is best reserved for images that will only be used online and viewed on a computer monitor.


This term refers to the art of arranging type, making it more pleasing to the eye. It applies not only to the font used but also the letter size, line spacing and how it is arranged on the page.


Vectors are most commonly used for logo design and allow a designer to expand or reduce the image in vector form without losing any quality.

And there you have it – most of the basic design terminologies you need to know to tackle your logo design or brochure layout yourself! Now it’s time to get on the computer and start playing with your design!