Words Your Graphic Designer Wish You knew

Everyone can be creative, especially when it comes to your marketing! The more you know what look and feel you want your project to have, the better your project will likely turn out. The best way to ensure that your project comes out printed correctly is to work with your graphic designer. These creative professionals know the strict industry standards and can bring the technical necessities to your creative design.  Here is a quick reference for the terms your designer will likely bring up while working on your project.


Words Your Graphic Designer Wish You knew

Inspiration Sheet: Think of this as a collage of the things that inspire you. If you know you want your look and feel to reflect that of a race car, but you are selling healthy salads, let us know by pulling designs you find and sharing these images with your designer. It is easier to start a design with a general direction, than no direction at all.

Mock-up: The mock up is like a rough draft. It should not be viewed as the final design, yet more of a road map to where the design will lead. If you have an idea what your design should look like, it never hurts to create your own mock up using Publisher or Word and then passing this along to your graphic designer. However, these basic programs will not distinguish the final quality of your project, it’s best to let your designer use design software tools to complete the final layout.

Proof: The proof is what your final printed material will appear like. Often times, when you view the first proof of a project, it is important to pay attention to the elements that are present and decide what, and if, to edit from there. Your designer may not have emphasized a point you wanted to stand out more, or they need to call attention to a detail of the copy you provided. While designers can be good at guessing what the most important things are, they are also not mind readers so it is helpful to give them feedback. A good project can go through several revisions before reaching the final. A project cannot move into production without a proof approval by the client, so it is important to respond to proofs as swiftly as possible to keep your project moving along.

Grid: The grid is an invisible set of guides that designers will draw to make sure the elements on your printed piece are aligned. While there are years of research behind using a grid, the best grid will be invisible to the untrained eye. Uses of grids include making sure you have the proper amount of negative space to help call out attention to certain elements of your design, and lining up the baselines of your headings across multiple text columns.

Typography & Font selection: Most companies with a solid marketing strategy will define exact typefaces (fonts) that are to be used in their marketing materials. This can be as specific as defining the exact point size of headings and sub-headings in your materials. An example would be “Times New Roman Bold Italic 15 pt” (of course, you probably don’t want to use fonts as common as Times New Roman). Other font considerations include determining if you want to use a sans serif font or a serif font. While most people don’t want to take the time to learn the difference between what this means, it is good to keep in mind terms like “Classic, Modern, Retro” – think of the feeling you get when looking at a certain font and the feeling you wish your marketing materials to convey.

Typesetting: How much space do you have for your copy? Typesetting can be one of the most time consuming tasks for any graphic design project. Making sure your copy will fit on an 8.5×11″ sheet of paper can involve things like Kerning your type – adjusting the space between letters, and Leading– adjusting the space between lines of copy. If you have a lot to say about your product and are trying to fit it on a single sheet, it doesn’t make sense to take your font size down to 5 pt to make it all fit. For a single sheet, I recommend cutting down what you are saying to only the necessities of the message. If you can’t do this, it is probably time to reconsider and create a multi-page brochure so that you can include all of your copy while presenting it in the best readable manner.

Resolution: Ever see picture that looked fine on your computer screen, but came out blurry when you printed it? That is because print resolution is different from web display resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels your image has, usually measured in Dots Per Inch (dpi). For print, all of your photographs should be 300 dpi at the size they are intended to print. Not sure about this? The best thing to do is hire a professional photographer or send your camera raw files to the designer. They should be able to show you the largest size a photo can print without losing its integrity.

Vector: Vector images are created using design software and usually have an .eps file extension. Your company should have a vector version of your logo, if you are using .jpeg files, it is probably time to pay the professionals to create a vector logo for you. This allows the designer to scale your art to any size, and never lose the print quality. This means your artwork will look the same if it is printed for business card size, or for a 10 foot wide banner.

Hero Graphic: The hero graphic is considered to be that main focal point on your graphic materials. It will take priority on your website or your brochure and will help convey the mood of the message you are creating. A designer can spend more time creating this piece than working on the whole of your printed projects because it will be the main focal point, the thing that grabs your reader’s attention. This can be very different depending on what you are marketing. It is always a good idea to consider a concept for your piece and determine what this hero graphic should be prior to starting any project. Remember, you do not have to come up with a concrete idea–leave that work to your designer.

Bleed: Bleed is the extra piece of your design that designers build in so that you can have color go to the edge of your sheet. If you want a flyer with a bright yellow background and the finished size is 8.5×11″ that means your print file will need to include .125″ of extra yellow to ensure that the color will go to the edge of the sheet after it has been cut. The file size then would be 8.75×11.5″. The designer will put crop marks on your file to show the cut line of where the piece should be cut, so there is no confusion when your print file goes into production.

Color Palate: Your business should set a standard guide for corporate color use in your marketing materials. If you need help doing this, talk to your graphic designer. This can be very specific like saying the corporate blue should never be in use more than 25% above the use of our corporate green color. Picking Pantone swatches as well as CMYK builds (standardized color indicators) for your printed materials is important to help keep your brand consistent across all of the marketing materials you create. Color characteristics to consider if you are starting off fresh include “Cool, warm, complimentary.” It is not a bad idea to do some color theory research prior to making these calls.

Graphic Standard Guide: a corporation is an individual as much as you or me. How a corporation wishes to communicate its messages is up to the executives in charge. The best brands in the world create a rigid set of rules to follow when creating marketing materials, as this helps their brand recognition in the eyes of consumers. A corporate identity system helps identify everything we have discussed in this blog. It should layout appropriate logo uses, varying color combinations and acceptable use of negative space surrounding your logo. It also identifies the fonts you use on your materials, as well as how photographs and imagery are used in the brand to keep a consistent look. Even if your company has less than 10 employees and you consider yourselves to be far outside the corporate world – it is imperative that you create a graphic standard guide for your company!

There are many more words your graphic designer probably wishes you knew, but I hope this quick reference gave you some ideas about your company’s communication graphics!

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