A Basic Guide to Brand Designer Lingo


Have you ever heard a designer say something to the extent of, “The tracking and kerning of the font needs to be adjusted so that it works better with the primary logo as well as the logo marks. We also need those in 300 dpi jpg’s and 72 dpi png’s.”

And it goes on...

Designer lingo is definitely a thing, and it can be like designers are seemingly talking a foreign language. You kind of get what they’re saying, but not really. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We get that a lot of times as well. Industry jargon (or lingo) can be intimidating because of how unfamiliar it is to people outside the industry. That’s why we hire lawyers, accountants, designers, and others who specialize in a particular industry - because they know (or at least should) what they’re walking about and doing to provide you with the best service/product possible.

We are big fans of simplifying things for our clients so that they’re easy to understand. So we thought that we’d provide a little insight into some brand designer lingo.

01. Logo types

Primary - this is the official logo and the face of a brand identity.

Secondary - this is a variation of the primary logo that is put together differently. However, it still retains prominent elements from the primary logo for consistency and cohesiveness.

Mark(s) - this is a brand identity symbol or icon that represents the brand.

All these logo types should contain elements that carry through each to maintain consistency and cohesiveness from one visual brand touch point to the next (which leads to our next lingo definition..) 

Brand Touch Point -  any outlet that your brand interacts with your audience.

02. File Types

Vector - artwork that has been created in vector based programs (like illustrator) to create shapes, lines, type, etc. that can be scaled infinitely without loss of its crisp quality

.pdf - Portable Document Format. This is a file type most commonly used in digital formats and for printing because they both appear the same. These can be editable or not depending on the preferences of the author. They are commonly used for proposals, various branded resources, print ready documents for clients, as well as documents for digital distribution.

.jpg (or jpeg) - This is a compressed image file format used most commonly for imagery for print and digital outlets. They can come is various sized and resolutions (which we’ll explain later). JPG is short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, who developed this format.  

.png - PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics and is a raster graphics file format. This file format is one that does not require a background like jpg’s and can be saved with a transparent background. In the brand design industry they are most commonly used to save logos in various brand colors without having to worry about any sort of background color.

.ai - this is simply a vector file format from Adobe Illustrator that can be edited.

.psd - this is an Adobe Photoshop file format that can be edited.

.indd - This is an Adobe InDesign file format that can be edited.

.eps - This stands for Encapsulated PostScript which is another vector file. When opened of your computer, they resemble .pdf’s, but they can be edited in vector based programs. 

03. Resolution

dpi - also known for Dots Per Inch. It is just that - how many color dots are in a square inch. The higher the dpi, the higher quality the image and visa versa. DPI is a printing term that refers to the actual number of physical dots of ink in a printed document. It is the density of the dots that make up the printing. That is why for printed material the typical recommendation is 300 dpi, which will print a high resolution image that will come out clean and crisp. 

ppi - stands for Pixels Per Inch. These are the number of square pixels that make up an inch of a digital screen.  The higher the ppi, the clearer the image. 

Ok, that’s it for this round, but there is plenty more where this came from. Stay tuned - more to come in the near future. Also, if there is any other lingo you think would be helpful for the next round, please comment below.