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Glossary of Terms


Acrobat is a program within a range of applications which were developed by Adobe. It is used to create and view PDF files. Acrobat Reader can be used to read the PDF files.


Advertising is simply a form of persuasive communication used to tempt potential customers into purchasing or consuming a service or product. This is often done through the use of media such as television, radio, magazines, the Internet and billboards.


A graphic design term specifically relating to the time when a computer monitor, printer or graphics file does not have a high enough resolution to represent a graphic image or text.


Alignment relates to the positioning of a body of text. Text is commonly positioned to the left, right or the centre of the page. In web design, alignment is often controlled by tables or Cascading Style Sheets.

ALT Tags

An attribute often used within the web world. ALT Tags provide visitors who do not wish to view graphic images within your web pages, with an alternative text which describes the respective image. ALT Tags also present themselves should a user hover over a graphic image when using Internet Explorer. ALT Tags have SEO benefits.

Animated GIF

A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) graphic file, consisting of two or more images shown as part of a timed sequence to give the effect of motion.


Animation is the process of creating a timed sequence or series of graphic images or frames to give the appearance of continuous movement.


Smoothing or blending the transition of pixels in an image. Anti-aliasing the edges on a graphic image makes the edges appear smooth, not jagged.

ASP (Active Server Pages)

A scripting language used to write dynamic web pages.

A banner is a graphic image, placed in an online or offline environment, used to promote a brand or generate sales.


A beveled effect, applied to a graphic image, gives the impression of a raised surface. This is achieved specifically through the use of highlight and shadow colors.

Bitmap Graphic

A graphic image which is composed of a pattern of dots. The individual dots are stored as data on a computer. An example of an animation which is formed using bitmap graphics is that of a GIF animation.

Bitmap Image

A graphic image stored as a specific arrangement of screen dots, or pixels. Web graphics are bitmap images. A graphic which is defined by specifying the colors of dots or pixels which make up the picture. Also known as Raster Graphics. Common types of bitmap graphics are GIF, JPEG, Photoshop, PCX, TIFF, Macintosh Paint, Microsoft Paint, PNG, FAX formats and TGA.

Bleed or Bleeding Edge

When a design extends to and off the edge of the paper, a 'Bleed' occurs. In print design, the artwork or block of color must extend off the page. The artwork is then printed on larger-sized paper, and trimmed down to the required size.


Bookmarks are used in the online environment just as they are used offline. When a webpage is seen to be of particular value to the user, he or she can opt to bookmark/add to favourites, in order for the individual to reference the resource at a later date.


A browser is a piece of software used to view, manage and access web pages by interpreting hypertext and hyperlinks. Examples of commonly used browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple's Safari and Google Chrome.

Cast Shadow

A cast shadow is similar to the concept of a drop shadow, with added emphasis on perspective. Cast shadows provide a realistic 3D effect and have the ability to be stretched, skewed and rotated to suit.


CMYK is a colour model often used in graphic design. It stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, and colours are defined as percentages of these 4 base colours. An exmaple CMYK abbreviation for the colour black would be 0-0-0-100. RGB is another colour model, typically used in display devices such as computer monitors.

Colour Cast

A colour cast is the process used to change the hue (colour) of a selected part of an image, whilst maintaining the saturation and brightness. An image which has a color cast is similiar in appearance to an image seen through coloured lenses.


Compression is a common technique used within the graphics environment. Essentially, computer files are packed into smaller files to improve the speed of transmission or to occupy less storage space.


A cookie is information passed from a web server to a web browser. The purpose of a cookie is to identify each user of a website, and potentially provide them with customised pages.

Corporate Identity

A corporate identity, within the Marketing environment, is the "persona" of the corporation which it is representative of. It is used to facilitate the attainment of business objectives and is manifested through branding and trademarks.


A standard term for a banner advertisement, which can refer to the design or format of a banner. It can also refer to the process of creating a design.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)

An HTML feature developed by W3C which provides web developers with the ability to separate the aesthetic elements of a web page from the content, by placing styling classes etc., into a separate file, referenced once, in the head of the HTML document.


A directory is similiar to a Search Engine with one major difference, it does not rely upon spiders or robots to gather it's listings. People are responsible for submitting websites to relevant categories within the directory.


In order to display a full-color graphic image on a 256-colour monitor, computers must simulate the colors it cannot display. This is achieved through the process of dithering which is combining pixels from a 256-colour palette into patterns that approximate other colors. At a distance, the human eye merges the pixels, resulting in a single colour. Up close however, the graphic image appears pixelated and speckled.


The DNS, or Domain Name System, translates URL text addresses (ie., into a numeric Internet address which specifically relates to your server.

Doorway Page

A Doorway Page specifically relates to a web page which is created for Search Engine Positions.


Stands for Dots Per Inch, specifying the resolution of an output device such as a printer. Print resolution usually runs from 300-1200 dpi on a laser printer.

Drop Shadow

A drop shadow is an effect applied to an image to give the impression of depth.


The application of two colors to provide richer tones than a monotone can provide. A good duotone image can simulate a wider range of the color spectrum than two colors separately.


Relates to the process of saving a file to an alternate format. This is often done in order to compress files or prepare files for the web. Examples of exported files are GIF or JPG files which originated as a PSD (Photoshop) file.


An E-Zine or Ezine, is simply an electronic magazine, often made available through a web site.


Feathering describes the process used to dissipate the edge of a graphic image, resulting in a blurry looking boundary.


A term used within the online marketing environment which describes a web site's ability to be found via the search engines, directories or other online resources.


Flash is a versatile vector graphic animation software program developed by Macromedia. Often embedded into websites, Flash animations have the ability to provide users with tutorials or promotions relating to their product range or services.


A font is a complete set of characters in a particular size and style of type. This includes letter set, the number set, and also the various special characters such as punctuation.


In animation, a frame is a single graphic image in a sequence of graphic images.


Stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows for individuals to copy files from one computer to another via the Internet.


A numbering system which uses a base of 16, comprising numbers 0-9 and letters A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are used to apply colour to web pages. An example hexadecimal number is #FFFFFF, which represents white.


HTML is an abbreviation of Hypertext Markup Language. It is a text-formatting system used to create web pages which can comprise copy, images, sounds, frames, animations and more.


Hue is the actual colour of an object. It is measured as a location on a colour wheel, and is expressed in degrees.


A hyperlink is an electronic connection which is established from one webpage to another. Hyperlinks can be internal, for example, they can connect pages from the same website together, or they can be external, providing a reference to a valued page outside of the Sitemap. Hyperlinks are the fundamental factor relating to Google's PageRank algorithm.

Image Map

An image map is a single image which comprises multiple, clickable hyperlinks. They differ from navigational buttons in that navigational buttons contain a single image and a single link.


Interlacing is a process which has web usability at it's core. Rather than making users wait a lengthy period of time before the download of a large image, interlacing speeds up the loading time by providing the web page with a partially loaded image to display.


An interstitial is a web advertisement which appears in a separate browser window.


JavaScript is a scripting language developed by Netscape. It is used to enhance web pages by providing animations and dynamic content in terms of graphics and navigation.


Abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. File format for full-colour and balck-and-white graphic images. JPEG images allow more colours than GIF images and are usually smaller in size.


The horizontal spacing between the letters in a word.


The vertical spacing between lines of text.

Lossless Compression

In graphic design, lossless compression refers to a data compression technique where the file quality is preserved and no data is lost. Lossless compression is commonly used on GIF images, but can only reduce file size to about half of its original size.

Lossy Compression

A term coined by graphics programmers to refer to a technique of shrinking file sizes by giving away some precision of detail. JPEG is an example of a file that is compressed in this way. By reducing the quality of the image prior to saving the file, you can make the file smaller. Many photos can take a loss of fine detail before it becomes noticeable on a webpage.


Abbreviation for Lines Per Inch.


A masthead is a graphic image placed on top of a web page which is used to tell the user what page they are on. This image often contains images such as corporate logos, text and image maps.


Meta-tags are HTML tags that can be used to identify the creator of a web page, what HTML specifications a web page follows and the targeted keywords for each page. Meta-tags are extremely important within the realm of Search Engine Optimisation.


A form of communication combining text with graphics, page layout, video, audio, animation and so forth.


Accepted and proper behaviour on the Internet, particularly in terms of email and newsgroup posts.


If you have a connection to the Internet, you are said to be online.

Online Marketing

Online Marketing is a form of advertising specifically through the use of the web and/or email. Techniques include affiliate programs, search engine optimisation, banner advertising, directories, participation in forums, email advertising, online press releases and blogs.


An email marketing term which describes the process of an email recipient requesting to receive email related to a specific topic of interest.


In graphic design, the outline refers to the outer edge of text or a graphic image. If the outline is feathered, then the effect is generally referred to as a glow.


Stands for Portable Document Format, and is a file type developed by Adobe. Users are able to browse multipage documents page by page. PDF files can be uploaded to and distributed throughout the web.


Abbreviation for Hypertext Pre-Processor, and is an open source, server-side scripting language used to develop website applications.


A software extension that provides added capabilities to the browser for purposes such as viewing, hearing or saving specially formatted files. Most plug-ins are available via the creator's web page for downloading.


Stands for Portable Network Graphics format. PNG is used for lossless compression and displaying images on the web. The advantages to PNG is that it supports images with millions of colours and produces background transparency without jagged edges. The downside to PNG file formats are two-fold: they will often fail to display in older browsers, and they are comparatively larger in file size that GIFs.


Stands for Pixels Per Inch. PPI specifies the resolution of an input device such as a scanner, digital camera or monitor. Web page resolution is 72 pixels per inch.


A search request submitted to a database. A common example of such a query is that of a search request made to a search engine (Google, MSN, Yahoo for example). The search query results in query results if successful.

Quick Time Video

Quick Time Video is the Apple technology that allows video, digitalised sound and music, 3D and virtual reality to be viewed on a web site. It is available for both Macintosh and Windows operating systems.


RGB stands for the colours, Red-Green-Blue. In web design and any design for computer monitors for that matter, colours are defined in terms of a combination of these three colours. For example, the RGB abbreviation for he colour blue is 0-0-225. In contrast, print designers typically define colours using CMYK.

Rich Media

Typically, a web site or banner ad that uses technology more advanced than standard GIF animation. Rich media banners include: Flash, Shockwave, streaming video, Real Audio/Video, pull-down menus, search boxes, applets that allow for interactivity and other types of special effects.

Royalty Free Photos or Images

Photos, graphic images or other intellectual properties which are sold for a single, standard fee and may be used repeatedly by the purchaser are said to be Royalty Free. Typically, the company which sells the images own the rights to the image even after sale, but they are allowed for use only by the purchaser.

Sans Serif

A style of typeface which means 'without feet'. Common sans serif typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, AvantGarde and Verdana.


The colour intensity of an image. An image with high saturation appears very bright. An image with low saturation will appear very dull. An image with no saturation is also referred to as a greyscale image.

Screen Font

A part of the font suitcase (of Adobe Type 1 fonts), describes the shape of each character to the operating system so that the font can be seen on a computer screen.

Search Engine

A Search Engine is a program which searches documents for specified keywords or keyword phrases. A search engine has two parts, a spider and an indexer. The spider is the program which fetches the documents, and the indexer reads the documents and creates and index based on the words or ideas contained in each document.


A style of typeface which is said to have 'little feet'. Common serif typefaces include Times Roman, Garamond, and Palatino.


A software program that search engines use to crawl the Internet. The spiders follow all the links which they are permitted to, logging the content and structure of each web page.


A thread is a series of messages which relate to the same topic in a discussion group or newsgroup.


A thumbnail is a smaller verison of a graphic image.


A typeface contains a series of fonts. For example, Arial contains the fonts Arial, Arial Bold, Arial Italic and Arial Bold Italic.


Typography is the art of type design, modification of type glyphs and arrangement of type. Type glyphs, or characters, are created and modified using a variety of illustration techniques, whilst type arrangement is based upon the selection of typefaces, point size, line length and spacing.


A URL is the abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator and is an address referring to a document on the Internet. It is essentially the address of an individual web page element or a web document on the Internet. The syntax of a URL consists of three elements, (a) the protocal - or the communication language, (b) the domain name and (c) the path name of the file to be retrieved.


A USP is an abbreviation for Unique Selling Point.

Vector Graphic

A graphic image drawn in shapes and lines, called paths. Illustrator and Freehand, two graphic design software packages, created vector graphics. They are usually exported as bitmap images.


A series of framed images put together in order to simulate motion and interactivity.

Web Site

A web site is a collection of electronic pages containing text, graphics and multimedia effects such as sound files, videos and animation files. Web sites are commonly used to enhance the identity of a corporation within the online environment.


Abbreviation for What You See Is What You Get.


Abbreviation for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language and is a hybrid of XML and HTMl. Web pages designed in XHTML should look the same across all platforms.


Abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language.

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