Learn 39 common design terms below

A B F H J K L M O P R S T V W Z

A

Aesthetic Usability Effect

Users perceive aesthetically pleasing design as more usable, even if usability issues exist, therefore, a better design can mask usability problems.

Alignment

How the layout of elements are lined up with one another (e.g. center, left, right, justified).

B

Brand

The conceptual representation and perception of an entity’s mission, values, and ethos.

Brandmark

A symbol that is used as the company’s logo, as opposed to the company’s name.

Brand Identity

The visual components that represent an entity, such as a logo, website, and marketing materials.

F

Fitt’s Law

The time necessary to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and the size of the user’s intended target, therefore design elements (buttons, hit area, etc.) should be prominent and close to the user.

Flat

A simplistic and modern design using open spaces, bright colors, and two-dimensional illustrations.

H

Hick’s Law

The time consumed by users to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of available choices.

Hierarchy

The arrangement or order of content that represents the level of importance.

J

Jakob’s Law

Users prefer new digital experiences to work similarly to other sites and systems that they know and trust.

K

Kerning

The amount of space between two type characters.

L

Law of Common Region

User Interface (UI) elements are perceived as groups if they share a common area with defined boundaries or borders.

Law of Prägnanz

The human brain will perceive and interpret disparate or complex images as the simplest form possible.

Law of Proximity

Objects that share proximity to one another are perceived as being part of a related group or section.

Law of Similarity

Humans tend to perceive varied and complex elements as a complete picture, shape, or group.

Law of Uniform Connectedness

Connected elements are perceived as more related than elements without connections to the group of selection.

Leading

The amount of space between lines of type.

Legibility

The quality of type readability.

Logotype

When the company’s name is used as the logo.

Lorem Ipsum

The filler text used as a placeholder until the real text is added.

M

Miller’s Law

An average person can only keep 7 items (plus or minus 2 items) in their immediate working memory.

Mock-Up

A representation of a design project showcasing the look and feel of the final outcome used to demonstrate and approve the work.

Mood Board

A visual representation of an idea or feeling using a compilation of images, colors, text, shapes, videos, or other content and objects used to organize or present a project, also known as an Inspiration Board.

O

Occam’s Razor

The hypothesis that the option with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

P

Palette

The color selection used for a design project.

Pareto Principle

For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, aka the 80/20 Rule.

Parkinson’s Law

The time to complete a task will grow until all of the allotted time is consumed.

Peak-End Rule

Users will judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, not the average or the total sum of their experiences.

Postel’s Law

Be very generous in the types of feedback and requirements you receive from users and be highly selective in what you implement as a result of the feedback.

Pull Quote

A quote or excerpt picked from the text and emphasized as a visual element.

R

Raster Graphics

Pixel-based graphics or images with limited size flexibility, also known at Bitmaps.

S

Serial Position Effect

The established belief that users have a propensity to best remember the first and last items in a series.

T

Tesler’s Law

States there is a certain amount of complexity which cannot be reduced, also known as The Law of Conservation of Complexity.

Tracking

The amount of space between all characters of a word or section.

Typography

Arranging type in a visually appealing style to further communicate the idea or meaning.

V

Vector Graphics

Scalable graphics or images comprised of mathematically calculated lines, points, and curves.

Von Restorff Effect

When a group of similar objects are presented, the object with the most differentiating qualities will be recalled most vividly, also known as the Isolation Effect.

W

Widows

A word at the end of a paragraph that appears by itself at the top of the following page or column.

Z

Zeigarnik Effect

Humans recall more vividly uncompleted or interrupted tasks more than successful or completed tasks.

Further Reading on Website Design & Branding