When communicating with a client, it’s the graphic designer’s job to make the experience as painless as possible—especially when using terminology that sounds foreign to people outside the field.

Sometimes, however, these foreign words slip out, so here’s a list of some common terms and what they represent:

CMYK: CMYK = Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black), is used for printing purposes.

RGB: RGB = Red, Green, and Blue is used for digital purposes.

Kerning: The adjustment of space between two characters. The primary goal is to have proportional spacing between each letter. Set too close, the words became hard to read; set too far apart and the words appear disconnected. 

Tracking: Is the adjustment of spacing between the entire This will change the space equally between each letter.

Leading: The space between vertical lines of type. Too tight leading will make the type overlap, making it hard to read. Too loose will make the type appear as if disjointed.

Widows and Orphans: 

  • Widow: A single, lonely word that is left stranded at the end of a paragraph or column. The problem: widows leave too much white space between paragraphs or at the bottom of a page.
  • Orphan: The last line of text or a word that doesn’t fit in the current column of text, making the line flow to the beginning of the next column. The problem: This creates bad alignment and disrupts the flow.

Hyphen (-): 
This is used for compound words. No spacing is used between the words and hyphen.

En Dash (–): Is used to represent a span or range of number, dates, or time. En dash has no spacing whatsoever.

Em Dash (—): A form of punctuation mark. It can take place of commas, parentheses, or colons. The em dash is typically used without spacing on either side.