Let’s be honest! Graphic designers speak a language of their own, difficult to understand for most average terrestrials.
Probably your jaw drops when you hear terms such as: “vector format”, “crop mark” or even “ampersand”..
Impress yourself and your colleagues by adopting the correct terminology. You discover them in our short (to be continued) glossary of graphic design and printing terms.


Ampersand is the rather attractive name given to the glyph “&”.


To print an image that has no margin when trimmed, a bleed must be used. A bleed is a printed element that exceeds the format of the medium.

Clipping path

Sometimes called a deep etch, a clipping path is an outline created, very often around an image, to remove the background.

Crop Marks

Marks printed on a document showing the lines along which it should be cropped.

Flat plan or flats

Schematic plan of all the pages of a document or magazine, allowing it to be viewed quickly.

Foot margin

The foot margin is the space between the bottom of the page and the lower edge of the composition.


The white space between columns of text and/or images in a page layout. The gutter makes the contents of the layout more attractive and readable.

Head margin

The head margin is the space between the top of the page and the start of the composition. Margins are also known as white space.

House (or corporate) style guide

A house or corporate style guide is a document containing all the graphic codes and rules used for a particular brand. It ensures your brand’s graphic consistency and style.

Inner margin

The margin is the space between the composition and the interior of the document. In a magazine it is the space between the composition and the binding.


Justified text is aligned with the left and right margins of a column or page.


In typography, leading, also called line spacing or interline spacing, refers to the distance between the baselines of the successive lines of characters.


In typography, letterspacing, also referred to as character spacing or tracking, refers to the spacing between the letters of a word.

Lorem ipsum

The lorem ipsum is a filler text used in visual presentations and page layouts to simulate a text. This text is used to check the page layout of a document in the absence of the client’s finished text.

Outer margin

The outer margin is the space between the composition and the exterior of the document.

PANTONE or PMS (Pantone Matching System)

Pantone is a standardized colour matching system. Each colour has its own reference number in a library of samples called the Pantone colour chart. Pantone inks, which are used in professional printing, are predefined, so there are no surprises with the rendering of your favourite colour. Use of pantones is referred to as solid colour printing.

Register marks

Also called cross marks or position marks, these are print marks that help printers to lock down the colour plates correctly. These marks are visible on PDFs intended for printing.


Partial or total area of a document, uniformly covered by a layer of ink.

Type size or font size

Type or font size is the vertical measurement of a letter, from top to bottom, calculated in points.


The vector format is an image format composed of vectors. These vectors are mathematical formulas based on Bézier points and curves. This format has the advantage never to be pixelated, whatever the medium used.

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