Do you understand what your designer is talking about? Or are there just some terms you never fully grasped?

If  you are working in tech, own your own business, or have ever created your own website, app or print materials, you have likely worked with a designer. I sure wish that I had a bit of education the first couple of time that I had worked with designers! I decided to ask a couple of designers here at 729Solutions what they wished everyone knew when heading into their first meeting with them. Now you, too, can be prepared next time you hire a designer!


Here are 15 design terms we think you should know:

  • Mock-up – a scale model of a design, meant for design evaluation before you begin to physically build something out.


  • Wire Frame – Represents the skeletal framework of a website, usually extremely basic and is usually done before a mock-up to help give direction to the overall design.


  • Style Guide/Sheet – A style guide establishes standard style requirements to ensure consistency within a document, or across all aspects of a business.


  • Copy – Referring to branded written material that might be included in a design.


  • RGB vs CMYK – Web design uses red, green and blue to create colors (RGB), while  print design uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). Our designer Bob wrote a great blog post about why it’s important to understand the difference.


  • Deep Empathy – Design that is used to connect with a user on more than just a visual level.


  • Responsive – “Responsive” refers the the way a website displays. This is dependant upon what kind of device is used to view the website. Check out Bob’s blog post going in depth about responsive design!


  • Flat Design –  Simplicity and functionality. In “Flat Design” there is no dimensional depth. Bright colors, primitive shapes, and icons (the basics of graphics) are used.


  • Above the Fold – The section of the screen that is first displayed when visiting a website. All content that appears without scrolling the page is considered to be “Above the Fold”.


  • White Space – Or “Negative Space,” is the space between the design elements. This space helps to deliver a clear and easy user experience while also being aesthetic.


  • Comps – Or “compositions”, is where decisions regarding the design aspects of color, typography, imagery, and interactions are made.


  • Hierarchy – The idea that the visual arrangement of design elements signifies importance. A headline may appear big and bold, while an image caption may appear smaller and lighter in color.


  • Color Theory – The study of how colors make people feel and respond is referred to as “Color Theory”. Read our Designer Mel’s blog post expanding on color theory.


  • Resolution – The amount of detail in an image. A higher resolution image will display better and in more detail, where a lower resolution image will usually appear blurry or pixelated. Bob goes in depth about resolution in this blog post.


  • Rule of Thirds – The theory that if you divide an image with two vertical and two horizontal lines, the areas where the lines meet will become focal points.


Now that you have a basic understanding of these design terms, you will definitely be able to keep up in your next meeting, and maybe even impress your designer!


This blog post was written with help from Mel and Bill, two of our awesome designers here at 729.


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Check out these other blog posts!

CMYK, RGB & Spot Colors


Using Color In UX Design Can Influence How Your Users Feel



729 Solutions is one of the oldest custom development shops in the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley. Our team is made up of developers versed in every programming language from basic HTML and CSS to Java, Python, and Ruby. We are project managers that can streamline the process, ensuring your project gets done quickly and within budget. We are designers who make you ‘look' good. We are proud of the projects we take on and the quality of work we provide.

We are engineering amazing technology every day.


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