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Confusing Graphic Design Terminology

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Misunderstoodterms made simple


Graphic design terms that noobs often gets confused.


It's so easy to get these terms mixed up.

The never-ending graphic design glossary

is a killer at times.

Well, I'm here to clear the air. Let's dive in!


Typeface vs Font

  • TYPEFACE

Different lettering styles.

Times New Roman, Helvetica,

and Arial are not actually fonts,

they're typefaces.

  • FONT

Variation of weights (light,

bold, and italic) within a typeface

family. Within a typeface, there

can be many fonts,


Tracking vs Kerning

  • TRACKING

A technique in typography that lets you adjust

the uniform space between groups of letters.

  • KERNING

To adjust the spacing within individual characters

in a word. A technique to make text look pleasing.


Backdrop vs Background

  • BACKDROP

It refers to a cloth or screen

at the back of an object. it is

often used in photography.

  • BACKGROUND

Anything that is behind*

something. A part of a design

or image that appears furthest.


EPS vs AI

  • EPS

Encapsulated Postscript is a

file format that saves flattened

vector graphics, but does not

support transparency.

  • AI

A file format that defines

Adobe Illustrator artwork. It

contains unflattened content

that can be edited.


Tint vs Tone

  • TINT

It is produced by adding white to a base colour,

thus increasing lightness. Base colour + white.

  • TONE

A greyed down colour becomes a tone, when grey is added to

colours it reduces the chroma of a colour. Base colour + grey.


Lettermark vs Wordmark

  • LETTERMARK

A Lettermark is a type of logo

consisting an abbreviation,

usually a company's initials

combined or even separated.

  • WORDMARK

A Wordmark is normally a combination

of letters or typographic treatment of the

name of a company, institution, or name

used for identification and branding


White Space vS Negative Space

  • WHITE SPACE

Space on the sheet of paper or

digital page where you give breathing

space for your design elements. It

can be any colour and not just white.

  • NEGATIVE SPACE

A deliberate attempt to leave

space around or within shapes

to create a meaningful visual

illusion,


It's so easy to get

confused by these

terminologies.


I hope this helps explain the differences.

Were there any that confused you?






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