Glossary of Design Terms

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halftone

The technique that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots, varying either in size or in spacing. “Halftone” can also be used to refer specifically to the image that is produced by this process. Where continuous tone imagery contains an infinite range of colors or grays (much like the human eye perceives the world), the halftone process reduces visual reproductions to an image that is printed with only one (or 4) colors of ink. This reproduction relies on a basic optical illusion—that these tiny dots are blended into smooth tones by the human eye. Color printing is made possible by repeating the halftone process for each of 4 colors—Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The semi-opaque property of ink allows halftone dots of different colors to create another optical effect—full-color imagery.

hardcover

Also called hardback or hardbound. A book bound with a rigid protective cover (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper or sometimes leather). They sometimes have flexible sewn spines which allow the book to lie flat on a surface when opened, although most modern commerical books have glued spines. Hardcoves frequently come with artistic dust jackets.

headline

The most important line of type in a piece of printing, enticing the reader to read further or summarizing at a glance the content of the copy which follows.

Helvetica

A sans-serif typeface designed by Max Miedinger and Edouard Hoffman in 1957, considered to be one of the most widely-used sans-serif typefaces in the world. Helvetica is a neutral typeface with great clarity for use in a wide variety of signage. Helvetica variations include Swiss 721, Helvetica Textbook, Helvetica Inserat, Helvetica Rounded, Helvetica Neue and Helvetica World. Because of its ubiquitous nature it is both loved and hated by designers, as shown in the documentary Helvetica.

high res

Also spelled hi-res. A shortening of high resolution. This refers to images that are sufficiently large to be used in print art. Standard resolution for items which will be printed is 300 ppi thus if an image is 3000 pixels across it can be used for something which is going to be printed at 10″ across. If an image is only 500 pixels across, it would only be usable if made no more than 1.66″ across. Generally, hi-res images are 3000 pixels or more across.

hue

This is the quality of a color independent of it’s saturation (colorfulness) or its brightness. Whereas Red and Burgundy are different colors, they are the same hue, being different only in brightness (Red being brighter than Burgundy). Similarly, Navy and Steel Blue are different colors, but the same hue, being different only in saturation. Black, white or gray has no hue—these are “neutral” and do not contain a color, only brightness.

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