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Social media design tips

Your digital presence is important to you.

And since design is the foundation of an attractive digital presence, it’s essential to understand the elements of design to help portray the appropriate image for your business.

Chances are you will be seeking the consult of a professional graphic designer to assist you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be well-versed in common graphic design terms.

Learning the design language will diffuse any confusion between your vision and the final product; and overall cultivate a meaningful, professional relationship.

Luckily, Pagemodo’s Cover Photo Creator and Post Designer tools easily help you design like a pro for your social media profiles. But for everything else, here’s a categorical guide for talking the talk with graphic designers:


The Process

  1. Wireframes: A basic layout that doesn’t yet have design elements.
  2. Comps: Usually when the design goes digital.
  3. Prototype: Meant to give a close idea of the working product.

The Look

  • Bleed: Allowing a design to go beyond the edge of the page so there is no margin.
  • Grid: Used in print and digital to help align elements to create consistency.
  • White Space: The area left empty to bring focus to other elements on the page.
  • Gradient: Fading from one color to another, or opaque to transparent.
  • Padding: The space between a border and the object inside of it.
  • Margin: The space between a border and the objects outside of it.

The Letters

  • Leading: How lines of text are spaced vertically, also known as line height.
  • Kerning: Adjusting the spacing between characters in a word.
  • Typography: The art of arranging type elements in attractive ways.
  • Font: A collection of characters, punctuation marks, numbers, and symbols.

The Web

  • Below the Fold: Refers to the area of the page that a user must scroll to see.
  • Responsive: A web design that adjusts the layout for different screen sizes.
  • Resolution: The number of dots per inch; 72dpi for web, 300+dpi for print.
  • Web Colors: Colors used on the web, represented by 6-digit hexadecimal codes.
  • Web Safe Fonts: Fonts that most users likely have, like Arial, Georgia, or Times.

The Acronyms

  • CMYK: Cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), usually used for print.
  • RGB: Red, green, and blue, generally used in digital.
  • DPI/PPI: Dots per inch / pixels per inch in design, also called the resolution.
  • UI: User interface, or the actual appearance of the design
  • UX: User experience, or the flow and behavior of the design.

The Files

  • JPEG: Join Photographic Experts Group, best for images with gradients.
  • GIF: Can be static or animated, often used in web design.
  • PSD: The format of files that come directly from Adobe Photoshop.
  • PDF: Portable Document Format. Ideal for sending materials to be printed.
  • PNG: Portable Network Graphics. Supports transparency and good for the web.

Now you should be fluent in the tricky language of design. So go forth and converse with any digital designer you may meet!