Whether you use our design services or another provider we want you to be as informed as possible about your options. Below we will explain some design terms and features that may give you a better understanding during your next project.


301 redirect – A permanent redirect from one URL to another, usually from your old website to the new website. 301 redirects are also used to redirect traffic from old web pages to the new pages that have taken their place. (e.g.  “website.com/about-us” is now “website.com/our-company” on the new website.

404 – A page a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your website. Usually this is due to someone reaching a page that has been deleted or they have mistyped the URL. An effective 404 error page should communicate why the page doesn’t exist and what users can do next.

ALT attribute – Used to specify the alternate text that is displayed inside the image placeholder while the page is loading. ALT text plays a role in optimizing a website for SEO, ADA compliance and overall web accessibility.

Breakpoints – The points at which a website’s content will adjust to provide the user with the best possible layout to view content. In responsive design (see term below), breakpoints are often defined by device widths that are being targeted.  These are typically smart phone (usually at 320px and 480px), tablet (768px and 1024px) and anything above 1024px.

Call to Action (CTA) – Specific text, image, banner or button that uses persuasive, action-oriented words that urges a visitor on a website to act. CTAs are designed to move a visitor from one page to the next and persuade them to take an expected, predetermined action. (e.g. Download a Whitepaper, Register for a Webinar, Contact Us, Learn More, etc.).

Cookies – A small text file sent which includes an anonymous unique identifier and visit information that is sent to a browser from a website and stored on a visitor’s computer hard drive. This data can provide information about who visits the website, how often they visit, what parts of the site they visit the most and their preferences.

Content Management System (CMS) – A software system that is used to control the content on your website. This allows you to login into the “backend” of your website and edit the text and images. Some examples include WordPress and Drupal.  A CMS is designed to simplify the publication of website content, without requiring technical knowledge of HTML or the uploading of files.

Conversion – When a user takes a specific desired action related to online marketing and lead generation. This includes completing a web form, submitting a request for information, subscribing to a newsletter or making an ecommerce purchase.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the code that developers use to designate how a web page should be presented to the end user. It formats the look and feel of your website, and sets global styles for fonts, colors, images, menus, etc.

Domain – The name of the website that people type into a browser to visit it. For example, our domain is tooheywebdesign.com.

Favicon – A small icon image that is associated with a specific website, usually containing the company logo or a variation. The favicon is displayed in either the title bar or tab of the browser and also appears with bookmarks.

Hosting – The web servers where your website files are housed, served, and maintained. A web server is a computer running web server software connected to the Internet that allows visitors to access a website through an Internet-connected web browser or mobile device.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the markup language that is used to construct web pages and display content like text, images, video and links on the web.  It’s often used in conjunction with other languages that allow the web developer to add functionality, such as CSS, PHP and JavaScript. HTML code refers to the markup language that is used to build web pages.

Information Architecture (IA) – The information design, organization of content and navigation of a website. It typically includes a site map, wireframes for each page template and any necessary notations regarding navigation, content and features included on the site.

Meta Tag – An HTML tag that stores information about a web page, such as description, author, copyright, etc. Their function is to provide information about a web page and it’s content. Search engines use this information to categorize websites and display information in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Navigation – The navigational elements that appear on a website. While it primarily refers to the “menu bar” located at the top of a website or along either side, it can also include textual links at the bottom of the page.

Page template – A unique page layout for a website, specifically websites that are built using content management systems. On average, a website has 5-10 page templates. For example, the homepage and contact page of a website look different and contain different elements, therefore they are two different page templates.

Registrar – The company used to register your domain name. Some examples include GoDaddy or Network Solutions.

Responsive design – A website that adjusts to the screen it is being viewed on, whether desktop, mobile or smart phone. Media queries are used to figure out the resolution of the device the website is being displayed on. Then, flexible images, fluid grids and the site menu are adjusted to fit the screen.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Helping search engines understand the information on your website in order to rank higher in organic search results. This includes having title tags, meta descriptions and ALT tags for images on your website.

Slider – A rotating banner of images that is usually placed on the homepage of a website. It is a “slide show” type format that can highlight different content and include images or video.

Site map – A document that shows a global, hierarchical view of a website’s pages and content. This is usually one of the first steps in a website redesign, as it is important to know what content is needed on a website before design begins. A site map can also be a web page that offers links to all the pages within a website.

User experience – The interaction a user has with an interface. From a planning perspective, the user experience is typically defined in wireframes, but every aspect of the web design and development process—from wireframing to copywriting to design to programming—affects the user experience.

Wireframe – A visual guide to show the content of a web page without any design elements. It suggests the structure of a page without any graphics or text. This helps to focus on the layout of content and hierarchy, without being distracted by the design.

WYSIWYG Stands for “What You See Is What You Get.”  It’s the interface inside a CMS that applies styles to text and graphics and allows the user to see what the content will look like. This allows marketers to edit content in their website without coding knowledge.


Alignment - The positioning and arranging of lines of text, images or shapes. Alignment can be left, right, centered or justified.

Bleed - The part of the page that will get trimmed off during the printing process. A document may have images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the edge, leaving no white margin. A document with bleed must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down.

CMYK - Also known as four-color process, this abbreviation stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key, which refers to black. This is a color model that refers to the four inks used in some color printing.

Concept - The end result of the creative process or a time brainstorming and experimenting with ideas. Clients and companies will often ask designers for a few concepts when creating a new logo or new design scheme.

Crop marks - The marks on the outside of the printed piece, used as guides for cutting the piece down to the final size.

Camera ready - A term for a document that is ready for reproduction or ready to “go to press.”

Die cut - A metal ruler that cuts shapes or holes in various types of materials. If you’re looking to print a document in an unconventional shape, you’ll likely need to use a die cut at the printer.

Export - To save a file in a format that is usable by most other computers and/or programs. Not everyone has design software so once a document is complete, you’ll have to export it to a PDF or other universal format.

Grid - A two-dimensional tool in design programs that features a set of horizontal and vertical lines to assist in structuring content.

Gutter - The space created by the binding of a book or magazine. A gutter is the inside margins or blank space between two facing pages.

Layers - A tool within design software that allows you to gather, organize and re-edit your work by providing access to the different tiers of information, photos and shapes within a document.

Margins - The space surrounding the content on your page. Margins are generally on the edges of the page and in between columns of copy and images.

Negative space - This is the space around the words and shapes in your designed piece. This space can be creatively integrated into the design of the overall work.

Orphan - Also known as a widow, this term refers to the words or short lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph. These words are isolated from the rest of the content, often causing an unwanted focal point.

Pantone system - A printing industry color matching system which utilizes the Pantone company’s number system for identifying colors.

Pica - A typesetting unit of measurement equaling one-sixteenth of an inch. InDesign and other design software use picas as a way to measure size and space.

Pixel - The smallest element of an image. Images are comprised of many minuscule pixels, providing a clear, high-quality image to the viewer.

Proof - A copy of what your materials will look like. This is also known as a mockup and may be printed for review or emailed to your client for review prior to printing.

Raster image - An image made up of individual pixels. Altering the dimensions of a raster image may result in a blurry image since you’re simply shrinking or stretching the pixels themselves. Raster image file extensions include .JPEG, .GIF and .BMP.

Resolution - A measure of dots per inch (DPI) for printed works and pixels per inch (PPI) for digital work. It’s best practice to use at least 300 DPI for printed work and at least 72 PPI for digital pieces.

RGB - This abbreviation stands for red, green, blue. It’s a color mode for all images shown through an electronic display, such as a computer or television.

Sans serif - A style of typeface in which there are no small lines at the end of each character. Common sans serif typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, AvantGarde and Verdana.

Slug - Optional space a designer can display within a document that is not part of the final product. This space may include helpful notes, copyright or suggestions during the proofing process.

Typography - The art of using typefaces to communicate. This skill encompasses both the typefaces and the negative space surrounding them.

Vector graphic - An image made up of paths and curves (vectors) rather than a grid of pixels. Unlike raster images, these are able to be enlarged without losing image quality. Vector graphic file extensions include .EPS, .AI, .SVG and .DRW.

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