13 design agency words handy for clients to know


When you commission a project with a design agency, you may come across words specific to our field that you’re unfamiliar with but might not want to ask what they mean. Don’t worry, we’re always happy to explain but to get you started, this is a quick guide to some of the terms we use day to day:

1) “Did you have any styles you like saved on a mood board?”

When you first start a project, we ask if you have seen anything you like in terms of style or function as a visual reference point to understand what you do or don’t like. These mood boards can be pictures and samples cut from magazines and papers, a digital pin board on Pinterest or even an email with links online.

2) “And that will be your main CTA

CTA stands for ‘call to action’ and is the main prompt for your customers or users to do something, usually getting in touch, booking a demo or request a quote etc. It’s the main message that generates leads and responses to your material and builds your RoI.

3) “You’ll be able to log into the CMS and add your own news”

CMS stands for Content Management System and is the foundation of the websites we build at ifour. The content management systems we use allow you to access your website content, update and edit information and articles and add new content whenever you need to, from any web enabled device, meaning your website is always up to date and fresh as a daisy!

4) “So, what’s the hierarchy on that?”

The hierarchy is the order of importance for your messages and content on web, print and everywhere in between. By telling us the most important messages you want customers to know, we make sure that’s the first thing they see.

5) “Do you need a hi res or low res version?”

Hi res (or high resolution) are large, high quality images or files with an extreme level of clarity and low res are smaller, lower quality files that will distort or pixelate if expanded or blown up larger than their natural size. Low res are often used for websites or where only a small image is required.

6) “Do you need the logo as an EPS/vector file or a raster?”

If you looked at the two files side by side under a microscope, an EPS or vector file would be continuous lines and solid blocks of colour but a raster file would be dotty with spaces in between, like newsprint or a photograph is close up. This means EPS and vectors can be scaled and blown up to any size required (even a skyscraper if you want) but if a raster file is expanded larger than its original intended size, it will look distorted and dotty.

7) “Will there need to be a bleed on that?”

While it sounds like it might be violent, a bleed simply means that when printed, there is no margin or border around an image once its has been trimmed to size, so a design ‘bleeds’ or runs off the page. Adverts often require 3mm or 5mm bleeds.

8) “We’ve just received the dummy

Sadly we’ve not received someone being silly in the post! A dummy is a mock up or model of your final product, usually blank or without final copy or images to give a feel for your brochure, flyer or business card.

9) “How are you getting along with the website copy?”

Copy is a term we use to refer to the content, writing or text in a project (as in a copywriter, who could write the content for your brochure or direct mailer etc or body copy, which is the main chunk of text on a page).

10) “Have you thought about SEO?”

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is all about making sure your website is accessible, up to date, relevant and informative so search engines such as Google put you near the top of their results for particular search terms to help drive traffic to your site. Natural, organic or white hat SEO is the slow process of continually updating and amending your web content to push your site further up the rankings but the results last a long time. Forced, ‘quick fix’ or black hat SEO involves methods often disapproved of by search engines that can result in sites being reduced in rank or removed from search databases and ifour would never recommend them.

11) “We would suggest a PPC campaign for this event”

PPC (pay per click) is internet based advertising, and will feature your website link in the top or side bar of Google and other similar search engines when your chosen key words are entered, driving visitors to your website, great for a specific event, launching new products or as part of a wider marketing campaign.

12)  “We’ll send across the artwork

Artwork is the finished digital file, sent to the printers, usually as a PDF, so its not editable and no accidental changes can be made during the printing process.

13) “I’ll send over the proof for review”

A proof is the final version of a print job, sent either in hard copy on paper, card etc, or digitally as a PDF, prior to a project going to print. This is the last chance to check to make sure everything is sitting where it should be and looks perfect before you receive the final printed product.

So, now you know the lingo, if you need a new website or your branding need a brush up, why not email us at hello@ifour.co.uk,  call on 01892 541111, or book in a meeting with us in our design agency studio in Tunbridge Wells, Kent