5 Fundamental terms in graphic design as a costumer

5 Fundamental terms in graphic design

As a customer you should know
5 Fundamental terms in graphic design

5 Fundamental terms in graphic design

5 Fundamental terms in graphic design

Publicidad Supra often have to handle different challenging scenarios, from creating a corporate image to trying to adapt all the philosophy of a company to a digital or physical support. In our day to day, the designers are accustomed to use a lexicon and a few technicalities that our clients tend to ignore and many times can pose a difficulty added to the design process. In this article we want to enumerate five of the fundamental terms and its meaning.


This is the first step when start your design proyect. The support is the place where we are going to see our design besides other technical aspects that deppends on it. We can divide it basically in 2 types: the digital support and the physical support.

The digital support is any display, projector or electronic visual system.

The physical support It is any area in which we can print our design, in small format (visiting card, brochures, magazines) or big format printing (posters, rollup, marquee, billboards, etc.) Has to be taken into consideration the multitude of printing materials, today you can print virtually on any material.

At the time of adapt a design is better to adapt a physical support to a digital support since the scaling of elements from large to small not entails a loss of quality, while the increase of size implies a degradation of the image. It can appear blurred and unintelligible.


The final use of the image defines its kind of file types and basically can divide them in 2: bitmap file types (photographs) and vector file types (images formed by geometric objects defined by mathematical attributes).

The bitmap file types are more known .jpg, .png, .gif or .tiff and can be used both in web design and for printing but it is good to know which are the most suitable for use in different supports. For digital supports such as web o video screens, the more appropriate formats are .png and. gif. For physical printing formats is right use .tiff and .jpg, though this also may use for digital supports. The format .jpg is, therefore, the more flexible and versatile as their possibilities of optimization and their compression/quality relation make it the best bitmaps format.

The vector graphics they are perfect for creating logos and fonts and allow the adaptation to large sizes from the most tiny size without the loss of bitmap quality. They use extensions such as .eps, .ai, .svg, .crd or .fh. For web it is used the vector file .svg and for printing support the most standard formats are .eps. The others files correspond to a special software creator of graphical vectors such as Adobe Illustrator (.ai), Corel Draw (.crd) or Freehand (.fh).

Between them there is the most famous archive .pdf. it takes the name from the initials of Portable Document Format. It is a container file that can included bitmap images, vector or both graphics. It is one of the most common file types because it allows the perfect content reading and viewing for any design even multimedia and web. It is the file type usually used for printing purposes, and for digital media when is configured correctly.


In graphic design the size matters. It is not the same when you want to visualize an image on the web or on a billboard. When we talk about file size we mean the quality itself. It is a little complicated to explain, when we have an image huge it does not means that we can print it in a large format all the times, sometimes the image is small, but we can use it perfectly for printing. Size, therefore, is directly related to the resolution and is the correct proportion of size and resolution, It will result in a correct display on the chosen support, without loss of quality in printing or excess weight in digital.

But also it is related to the different spaces within the supports to define the final image size. Digital supports are usually measured in pixels (px) and hardware in centimeters (cm).


The resolution is another important aspect to keep in mind when developing our design. A low resolution can be valid for show a digital image in a screen but not for printing since it can appear blurred.

The minimum resolution for a digital image is 72 dpi (pixels per inch), but if you want to print it the image should be at 300 dpi (dots per inch). Esto solo ocurre en formatos de mapa de bits (jpg, png,tiff, etc.). This only happens in bitmap formats (jpg, png, tiff, etc). For logos is recommended to use a vector graphic format that does not lose quality no matter the file size.


When we speak of color not only referring to the names of colours which, in our day to day, acquire the most unusual names such as #ffffff or C7M99Y100K1. The space of color is the ground of game of our designs. For digital support use: RGB, for printed support use: CMYK.

The RGB color space is defined by the three chromaticities of the red, green and blue.Those primary colors can reproduce full range chromatic light applied in monitors, TVs, projectors and screens is, therefore, the color system used when we work on web design, mobile, and video.

The CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black). These 4 inks, combined in percentages create all the chromatic range. The use of the four inks printing generates good results with greater contrast.

A computer monitor mixes shades of red, green, and blue light to create color pictures. A CMYK printer instead uses light-absorbing cyan, magenta and yellow inks, whose colors are mixed using dithering, halftoning, or some other optical technique. Similar to monitors, the inks used in printing produce a color gamut that is only a subset of the visible spectrum although both color modes have their own specific ranges. As a result of this items which are displayed on a computer monitor may not completely match the look of items which are printed if opposite color modes are being combined in both mediums. When designing items to be printed, designers view the colors which they are choosing on an RGB color mode,their computer screen, and it is often difficult to visualize the way in which the color will turn out post printing because of this.

We hope this small glossary help you to a better understanding of the basic technical aspects of computer graphic design, either from the creation of a logo, flyer, catalog, business card, brochure, magazine, poster or billboard, to a website, animation or a corporate video. Later on we will see a comprehensive overview the creative aspect of graphic design.