Top 37 Slang For Design – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to the world of design, there’s a whole language of slang and terminology that separates the novices from the pros. Whether you’re a design enthusiast or a professional designer yourself, staying up-to-date with the latest design slang is essential. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top slang for design that will not only keep you in the loop but also make you feel like a design connoisseur. Get ready to elevate your design vocabulary and impress your peers with our comprehensive guide.

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1. Aesthetic

Refers to the visual appeal or attractiveness of a design or art. It focuses on elements such as color, composition, and overall style.

  • For example, “The website’s aesthetic is clean and minimalist.”
  • A designer might say, “This logo needs to have a modern and edgy aesthetic.”
  • When discussing a new product design, someone might comment, “I love the aesthetic of this smartphone, it’s sleek and elegant.”

2. UI

The user interface (UI) refers to the visual elements and controls that allow users to interact with a digital product or system. It includes elements such as buttons, menus, and navigation.

  • For instance, “The UI of this app is intuitive and easy to navigate.”
  • A designer might say, “We need to improve the UI to make it more user-friendly.”
  • When discussing a website redesign, someone might comment, “The new UI is much more visually appealing and user-friendly.”

3. UX

User Experience (UX) refers to the overall experience a user has while interacting with a product or system. It encompasses factors such as ease of use, efficiency, and satisfaction.

  • For example, “The UX of this website is excellent, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.”
  • A designer might say, “We need to focus on improving the UX to reduce user frustration.”
  • When discussing a mobile app, someone might comment, “The UX is seamless, it’s so easy to navigate and complete tasks.”

4. Wireframe

A wireframe is a visual representation of a design’s structure and layout. It outlines the basic elements and functionality of a digital product or system, often in a simplified and grayscale format.

  • For instance, “The designer created a wireframe to map out the website’s layout and content.”
  • A UX designer might say, “I’ll start by creating wireframes to establish the overall structure and flow.”
  • When discussing a mobile app design, someone might comment, “The wireframe shows how the different screens and features will be organized.”

5. Mockup

A mockup is a visual representation or prototype that shows how a design will look when it’s fully developed. It often includes realistic visuals such as colors, images, and typography.

  • For example, “The designer created a mockup of the website to show the client how it will look.”
  • A designer might say, “I’ll start by creating a mockup to visualize the final design.”
  • When discussing a product packaging design, someone might comment, “The mockup gives a realistic preview of how the packaging will look on the shelf.”

6. Prototype

A prototype is a preliminary version or model of a design, typically used to test and evaluate ideas before creating the final product. It can be a physical or digital representation of the design concept.

  • For example, a product designer might create a prototype of a new smartphone to test its usability and functionality.
  • A web designer might develop a prototype of a website to gather feedback from clients and users.
  • In the early stages of design, a graphic designer might create a prototype of a logo to explore different visual concepts.

7. Grid

In design, a grid is a structure of vertical and horizontal lines used to organize content and create a sense of order. It provides a framework for arranging elements and maintaining consistency throughout a design.

  • For instance, a web designer might use a grid to align and position text, images, and other elements on a webpage.
  • In print design, a graphic designer might use a grid to create a balanced layout for a magazine or brochure.
  • A logo designer might use a grid to ensure the elements of a logo are properly aligned and proportioned.

8. Typography

Typography refers to the art and technique of arranging typefaces to make written language readable and visually appealing. It involves selecting and combining different fonts, sizes, spacing, and other typographic elements.

  • For example, a graphic designer might choose a bold and modern font for a poster advertising a music concert.
  • In web design, a designer might use a serif font for body text to enhance readability.
  • A typographer might experiment with different typefaces and letterforms to create unique and expressive designs.

9. Color palette

A color palette is a set of colors chosen for a design project. It includes a range of colors that work well together and create a harmonious visual composition.

  • For instance, a graphic designer might create a color palette for a brand identity, consisting of primary and secondary colors.
  • In web design, a designer might use a color palette to establish a consistent visual style across different pages of a website.
  • An interior designer might create a color palette for a room, considering factors such as lighting and mood.

10. White space

White space, also known as negative space, is the empty or blank areas in a design that are intentionally left free of content. It helps create balance, focus, and visual hierarchy in a design.

  • For example, a minimalist poster might use white space to draw attention to a single word or image.
  • In web design, a designer might use white space to separate different sections and make the content more readable.
  • A packaging designer might use white space to create a sense of elegance and simplicity in the design of a product label.
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11. Responsive

Responsive design refers to a design approach that allows a website or application to adjust and adapt to different screen sizes and devices. It ensures that the content and layout remain user-friendly and visually appealing across various platforms.

  • For example, “This website has a responsive design, so it looks great on both desktop and mobile.”
  • A designer might say, “We need to prioritize responsive design to provide a seamless user experience.”
  • When discussing web development trends, someone might mention, “Responsive design is essential in today’s mobile-first world.”

12. Flat design

Flat design is a design style that emphasizes simplicity and minimalism. It uses clean lines, bright colors, and a two-dimensional appearance, avoiding elements that create depth or texture. This style often focuses on user experience and functionality.

  • For instance, “The new app update features a flat design, making it more visually appealing.”
  • A designer might say, “Flat design is popular because it reduces visual clutter and improves usability.”
  • When comparing different design styles, someone might comment, “Flat design is a stark contrast to skeuomorphic design.”

13. Skeuomorphic

Skeuomorphic design refers to a design style that imitates real-world objects and materials. It incorporates visual elements that mimic the appearance and behavior of physical objects, such as buttons that look like real buttons or textures that resemble real materials.

  • For example, “The old iOS design heavily relied on skeuomorphic elements, like the notepad app that looked like a real notepad.”
  • A designer might say, “Skeuomorphic design can create a sense of familiarity and make digital interfaces more intuitive.”
  • When discussing design trends, someone might mention, “Skeuomorphic design has fallen out of favor in recent years, with a shift towards more minimalistic styles.”

14. Gradient

A gradient in design refers to a smooth transition between two or more colors. It can be a gradual shift from one color to another or a combination of multiple colors in a smooth blend. Gradients are often used to add depth, visual interest, and a sense of dimension to designs.

  • For instance, “The logo incorporates a gradient that goes from blue to purple.”
  • A designer might say, “Gradients can create a sense of movement and bring life to a design.”
  • When discussing UI design, someone might mention, “Using subtle gradients can help indicate interactive elements and provide visual hierarchy.”

15. Hierarchy

In design, hierarchy refers to the arrangement and organization of elements in a way that guides the viewer’s attention and establishes a visual order. It involves using different visual cues, such as size, color, and position, to prioritize certain elements over others and create a clear structure.

  • For example, “The headline stands out due to its larger size and bold font, establishing hierarchy within the layout.”
  • A designer might say, “Hierarchy is crucial for effective communication and guiding the viewer’s focus.”
  • When discussing UX design, someone might mention, “Establishing a clear hierarchy helps users navigate and understand the interface more easily.”

16. Call to action

A call to action is a prompt or instruction given to the audience to encourage them to take a specific action. It is often used in marketing and design to guide users towards a desired outcome.

  • For example, a website might have a button that says “Sign up now” as a call to action to encourage visitors to create an account.
  • In an email newsletter, a call to action could be “Shop now” to direct readers to a specific product or promotion.
  • A social media post might include a call to action such as “Tag a friend who needs to see this” to encourage engagement and sharing.

17. Above the fold

This term refers to the portion of a webpage that is visible without scrolling down. It originates from the newspaper industry, where the most important headlines and stories were placed in the top half of the front page, which was folded in half when displayed.

  • For instance, a designer might place a key message or call to action above the fold to ensure it is immediately visible to visitors.
  • When discussing website design, someone might say, “The above-the-fold content should capture the user’s attention and entice them to explore further.”
  • A web developer might optimize a page’s load time to ensure that the above-the-fold content appears quickly for a better user experience.

18. Parallax

Parallax is a technique in web design where background images move at a different speed than the foreground content as the user scrolls. This creates a sense of depth and adds visual interest to the webpage.

  • For example, a website might have a parallax effect where the background image scrolls at a slower rate than the text and other elements, giving a 3D-like effect.
  • In a discussion about web design trends, someone might mention, “Parallax scrolling can create a more immersive and engaging user experience.”
  • A designer might use parallax to tell a visual story, with different elements moving as the user progresses down the page.

19. Serif

A serif is a small decorative line or stroke that is added to the end of a letter’s main strokes in a typeface. Serif typefaces are characterized by these small lines, which give them a more traditional and formal appearance.

  • For instance, Times New Roman is a commonly used serif typeface that is often associated with formal documents such as academic papers.
  • In a discussion about typography, someone might say, “Serif typefaces are often used for body text in print because they enhance readability.”
  • A designer might choose a serif typeface for a logo or branding to convey a sense of elegance or tradition.
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20. Sans-serif

A sans-serif typeface is one that does not have the small decorative lines or strokes at the end of the main strokes of the letters. Sans-serif typefaces are often seen as more modern and clean compared to serif typefaces.

  • For example, Arial is a popular sans-serif typeface that is often used for digital content and displays.
  • In a discussion about web design, someone might mention, “Sans-serif typefaces are commonly used for headings and titles because they have a bolder and more contemporary feel.”
  • A designer might choose a sans-serif typeface for a minimalist design or to create a sense of simplicity and clarity.

21. Whitespace

Whitespace refers to the empty or negative space between elements in a design. It is used to create visual breathing room and improve readability and clarity.

  • For example, a designer might say, “I added more whitespace between the paragraphs to make the text easier to read.”
  • In a discussion about website design, someone might comment, “The effective use of whitespace can make a website feel more modern and sleek.”
  • A graphic designer might explain, “The use of whitespace can help draw attention to important elements in a design.”

22. Visual hierarchy

Visual hierarchy refers to the arrangement and presentation of elements in a design to indicate their relative importance. It helps guide the viewer’s eye and directs their attention to the most important information.

  • For instance, a designer might say, “I used bold typography and larger images to create a clear visual hierarchy.”
  • In a critique of a website, someone might comment, “The lack of visual hierarchy makes it difficult to understand the main message.”
  • A UX designer might explain, “By establishing a clear visual hierarchy, we can improve the user’s understanding of the interface.”

23. Responsive design

Responsive design refers to the approach of designing and developing a website or application that automatically adjusts its layout and content based on the user’s device and screen size. It ensures the optimal viewing experience across different devices.

  • For example, a web designer might say, “I implemented responsive design techniques to make the website look great on smartphones and tablets.”
  • In a discussion about user experience, someone might comment, “Responsive design is essential for providing a seamless experience across devices.”
  • A developer might explain, “By using media queries and flexible grids, we can achieve responsive design without the need for separate mobile and desktop versions.”

24. Minimalist design

Minimalist design refers to a style that embraces simplicity and uses only the essential elements to convey the intended message. It focuses on clean lines, ample whitespace, and minimal ornamentation.

  • For instance, a graphic designer might say, “I love the minimalist design of this logo – it’s clean and timeless.”
  • In a critique of a website, someone might comment, “The minimalist design makes the content more easily digestible.”
  • A product designer might explain, “Minimalist design is about removing unnecessary elements to create a more focused and intuitive user experience.”

25. User-centered design

User-centered design, also known as human-centered design, is an approach that prioritizes the needs, preferences, and behaviors of the end user throughout the design process. It involves understanding the user’s goals and designing with their needs in mind.

  • For example, a UX designer might say, “We conducted user research to inform our user-centered design approach.”
  • In a discussion about product development, someone might comment, “User-centered design leads to products that are more intuitive and user-friendly.”
  • A designer might explain, “User-centered design involves iterative testing and feedback to ensure the final product meets the user’s needs.”

26. Contrast

In design, contrast refers to the difference in visual properties such as color, size, texture, or shape. It is used to create visual interest and hierarchy in a design.

  • For example, a designer might say, “The contrast between the bold headline and the subtle background gives the design a dynamic look.”
  • When discussing accessibility, someone might point out, “High contrast between text and background is important for readability.”
  • A designer might critique a layout by saying, “The lack of contrast between the elements makes it difficult to distinguish the important information.”

27. Alignment

Alignment in design refers to the positioning of elements relative to each other or to a grid. It helps create order, balance, and visual harmony in a design.

  • For instance, a designer might say, “The left alignment of the text creates a clean and organized layout.”
  • When giving feedback on a website, someone might suggest, “You should align the logo with the navigation menu for better visual balance.”
  • A designer might explain, “By aligning the elements to a grid, we achieve a more cohesive and professional look.”

28. Emphasis

In design, emphasis is used to create visual dominance or focal points. It helps guide the viewer’s attention and highlight important elements.

  • For example, a designer might say, “The use of bold typography adds emphasis to the headline.”
  • When discussing a logo, someone might point out, “The color red is used to create emphasis and evoke strong emotions.”
  • A designer might critique a layout by saying, “There’s too much emphasis on the secondary elements, which distracts from the main message.”

29. Scroll

Scrolling refers to the vertical movement on a webpage or within a document. It allows users to view content that extends beyond the visible area of the screen.

  • For instance, a web designer might say, “The website has a smooth scroll feature that enhances the user experience.”
  • When explaining a functionality, someone might say, “To see more images, simply scroll down the page.”
  • A designer might suggest, “We should add a scroll indicator to let users know there’s more content below.”

30. Scrolljacking

Scrolljacking refers to a design technique that overrides the default scrolling behavior, often by using JavaScript, to create a unique scrolling experience. It can include effects such as parallax scrolling or fixed-position scrolling.

  • For example, a web developer might say, “The website uses scrolljacking to create a captivating storytelling experience.”
  • When discussing user experience, someone might point out, “Scrolljacking can be frustrating for users who are accustomed to the regular scrolling behavior.”
  • A designer might suggest, “Instead of scrolljacking, we should focus on creating a smooth and intuitive scrolling experience.”

31. Responsive typography

Responsive typography refers to the practice of adjusting the size, spacing, and layout of text to ensure optimal readability and legibility across different devices and screen sizes. It involves using CSS media queries and other techniques to make text adapt to different viewing conditions.

  • For example, a website might use responsive typography to increase the font size on mobile devices for better readability.
  • In a design discussion, someone might say, “Responsive typography is essential for providing a seamless reading experience on all devices.”
  • A designer might explain, “By using fluid typography, we can ensure that the text scales proportionally on different screen sizes.”

32. Motion design

Motion design is a discipline that combines graphic design principles with animation techniques to create visually engaging and dynamic graphics. It involves the use of movement, transitions, and effects to enhance the overall user experience and convey information effectively.

  • For instance, a motion designer might create an animated logo for a company’s website.
  • In a conversation about user interface design, someone might mention, “Motion design can help guide users’ attention and provide visual feedback.”
  • A designer might say, “Motion design adds a layer of interactivity and storytelling to static graphics.”

33. RGB

RGB stands for Red Green Blue, which are the primary colors of light. In the context of design, RGB refers to a color model used to display colors on electronic devices such as screens and monitors. It represents colors by combining different intensities of red, green, and blue light.

  • For example, a designer might specify a color using RGB values such as (255, 0, 0) for pure red.
  • In a discussion about digital photography, someone might say, “RGB color spaces allow for a wider range of colors than traditional printing methods.”
  • A graphic designer might explain, “Understanding RGB is crucial for creating digital designs that accurately represent colors on screens.”

34. CMYK

CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow Black, which are the primary colors used in the four-color printing process. In design, CMYK refers to a color model used for printing purposes, where colors are created by combining different percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks.

  • For instance, a designer might convert an RGB image to CMYK before sending it to a print shop to ensure accurate color reproduction.
  • In a conversation about graphic design for print media, someone might mention, “CMYK is the standard color mode for professional printing.”
  • A print designer might explain, “CMYK allows us to reproduce a wide range of colors on paper by using a combination of ink percentages.”

35. Color scheme

A color scheme, also known as a color palette, refers to a set of colors chosen for a design project. It involves selecting colors that work well together and convey a desired mood or message. A color scheme can consist of a few or many colors, and it helps create visual harmony and cohesion in a design.

  • For example, a designer might create a monochromatic color scheme using different shades of blue.
  • In a discussion about branding, someone might say, “Choosing the right color scheme is crucial for establishing a brand’s identity.”
  • A web designer might explain, “A well-designed color scheme can enhance the user experience and make a website more visually appealing.”

36. Iconography

Iconography refers to the use and design of icons, which are small visual representations of objects, actions, or ideas. Icons are commonly used in user interfaces to quickly convey information or perform actions.

  • For example, a website might use a shopping cart icon to represent the “Add to Cart” action.
  • In a design discussion, someone might say, “The iconography in this app is intuitive and easy to understand.”
  • A designer might suggest, “Let’s create a custom iconography set that aligns with our brand identity.”

37. Focal point

In design, the focal point refers to the main point of interest or emphasis in a composition. It is the element that draws the viewer’s attention and guides their eyes.

  • For instance, a designer might say, “The large headline serves as the focal point of this magazine cover.”
  • In a critique, someone might comment, “I think we need a stronger focal point to anchor the design.”
  • A photographer might explain, “By placing the subject off-center, I created a stronger focal point in the composition.”