Glossary of Design Terms

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tablet and stylus

A hardwire device consisting of a flat, rectangular pad which allows you to input images into your computer by drawing on it with a pen-like instrument called a “stylus” as though you were working on paper. Also called graphics tablet and commonly referred to as a “Wacom” based on the fact that this is the leading brand for such tablets.

template

A pre-developed page layout in electronic or paper media used to make new pages with a similar design, pattern or style. A template can exist for a one-page item, such as a poster or dust jacket, or for a multi-page publication, such as a magazine or brochure. A template involves repeated elements mostly visible to the end-user/audience. Using a template to lay out elements usually involves less graphic design skill than that which was required to design the template. Templates are used for minimal modification of background elements and frequent modification (or swapping) of foreground content. Compare to grid.

Three DS Max (3DS Max)

A modelling, rendering and animation program developed and distributed by Discreet. It is one of the leading 3D software packages and is primarily used in visual effects and video game development.

thumbnails

A miniature rough layout of a design or publication, showing a possible treatment of headlines and body, or the order of chapters, sections, etc. When a series of thumbnails are done for each page of a publication, it is commonly referred to as a “snake”. Thumbnail can also refer to a small preview image generated by a computer program to show the general layout or content of a page, layer or channel.

tracking

Also called letter spacing or inter-letter spacing. The uniform spacing between a group of characters or an entire line of type. Tracking is normally used to compensate for problems caused by small or large type, but is also useful in changing the perception of text. Text spaced very far apart could have a completely different meaning for the reader than text spaced very close together. TRACKING versus TRACKING.

trade paperback

A standard-sized or large-sized paperback book (typically 6″ x 9″, give or take an inch). If it is a softcover edition of a previous hardcover edition, and, if published by the same publishing house as the hardcover, the text pages are normally identical to the text pages in the hardcover edition and the book is usually the same size as the hardcover edition. The only difference is the soft binding (cover and binding style).

Trajan

An all-caps display face commonly used in movie and book titling. Because of its overuse in movie titles and movie posters, it is sometimes referred to as the “movie font” although its use far predates movies. The original characters were designed from the letters carved into the Trajan Column in Rome, erected in the first century AD. It is a beautifully designed display face that is classic, timeless and dignified at the same time.

triadic harmony

Also called triadics or triads. This refers to the color two spaces to either side of the key color’s complement. When using triadics, you are dealing with just spots of color in a picture.

trim size

The final size of a printed item, after it has been trimmed. The trim size of a piece is indicated by the crop marks and should also be included in the specification sheet for the job.

type family

Also called font family. The complete set of characters of a typeface design in all its sizes and styles. A typical font family contains four individual fonts: roman (regular), italic, bold and bold italic. Large families may also have light, small caps, display, semibold, extrabold, extralight, condensed, extended, etc. Examples of large type families are Helvetica Neue and Minion Pro.

typeface

The term describing a type design of any size, including weight variations on that design such as light and bold, but excluding all other related designs such as italic and condensed. As distinct from a type family, which includes all related designs and a font, which is one design of a single size, weight and style. Thus Baskerville is a type family, whereas Baskerville Old Style is a typeface and 9pt Baskerville Bold Italic is a font. With computers replacing metal type, the term font no longer signifies a specific size, making typeface and font closer in meaning. However, typeface is more properly used as the term for a subfamily (Helvetica Condensed) where font is more properly used to specify one design within that subfamily (Helvetica Condensed Oblique).

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