Capture Blog

5 Things Designers Wish Non-Designers Knew

The design world is filled with lingo and “designer jargon” that can sound like a foreign language (and sometimes is — see No. 3). Unfortunately, it can create confusion and frustration between designers and the teams they work with.

To combat this frustration, and help your marketing office run more smoothly, here’s a list of the top five things we use (and have to explain) most often.

1. Image Resolution

There are two main image resolutions that designers use regularly: 72 pixels per inch (ppi) for digital and 300 dots per inch (dpi) for print. Resolution is generally more important with print. An image with a resolution of 72 will only have 72 dots per inch when printed, and will look very blurry. An image with a resolution of 300 will have 300 dots per inch, and will be much clearer. The higher the number of dots per inch, the more detail can be packed into a printed image. Photos can always be scaled down, but can’t be enlarged without losing quality. 

2. Vector vs. Raster

Which brings me to No. 2. Vector files are the preferred formats for logos and illustrations because they can be resized without losing quality. Raster images, however, cannot. When working with raster images, we can always make them smaller, but we can’t make them larger without creating a blurry, pixelated image. Vector files include .AI, .EPS, and .SVG. Raster files include .PNG, .JPG, and .TIF.

3. Lorem Ipsum = Placeholder Copy

Lorem ipsum, also called greeking (even though “lorem ipsum” sounds more like Latin and is really just gibberish) is frequently used as placeholder copy. Whenever a designer is creating a template or other design, but doesn’t have final content, lorem ipsum is used to show how content would look, instead of just looking at a blank space.

4. Flats (aka Mockups)

(Not those kinds of flats) Flats are used primarily for digital projects like websites or emails. Designers will create the initial design as a flat, or non-working mockup. Then, once the design is finalized and approved, we’ll move on to building the functional website or email. Creating flats first saves a lot of time. We’re able to get the overall design completed before building the final version, instead of building and rebuilding if changes need to be made.

5. Web-Safe Fonts

Web-safe fonts are fonts that come pre-installed with most operating systems. Because nearly everyone has Arial, Times New Roman and Georgia (as well as a handful of other fonts), they’re considered safe. Designers don’t have to worry about how those fonts will be viewed on different screens.

However, email clients, particularly Outlook and Gmail, are notoriously inconsistent with their support of HTML and CSS code (don’t even get me started on that mess). So designers are generally forced to stick to a small set of web-safe fonts to ensure consistent rendering across all clients. That doesn’t mean we can never use a beautiful font like Gotham; we just have to accept that many recipients will likely only see Arial as the fallback font.

By Sara Ekart, Creative Director, Capture Higher Ed

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