Key terms every graphic designer should know



Setting up a grid enables you to get your composition right

The best way to describe a grid in graphic design is a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines used to organise and structure content. Whether you're working in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, setting up a grid enables you to get your composition right and balance your type and imagery.

Grids typically include a large header across the top of the design, with equally sized columns beneath, but there's no real limit on what can be created. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann is an essential read in this area.

Logo design

printed images on wall

Logos are powerful graphic tools, but they're just one part of the branding process

Logos are powerful things; a great logo works as an instant reminder of a company or product, and for designers they represent the challenge of distilling a brand's essence into a single graphic. The best logos can live for a long time, and a new logo design can be a jarring event for customers, as the familiar is replaced by something new.

Designing a great logo is by no means easy; follow our definitive guide to logo design for some tips – or check out the 10 best logos ever to see what can happen when you get it right.


sign for North Greenwich during Olympics in London

Taken by itself, Wolff Olins' 2012 Olympics logo attracted ridicule, but it was built to work within a much larger branding system

What logo design isn't, is branding. While the logo is often the stand-out part of a brand, there's much more to branding than a logo. A good brand identity is carefully built out of a number of elements, and the logo will reflect these elements and work within the brand system.

Creating or refreshing a brand can be a massive undertaking, involving a deep understanding of the brand's personality, how it's perceived, its history and function, and much more. Get a taste of what you’re in for with these 7 steps for creating a great brand identity.

Next page: Printing terms you should know

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Rob Carney

Rob is editorial, graphic design and publishing lead at Transport for London. He previously worked at Future Publishing over the course of several years, where he launched digital art magazine, ImagineFX; and edited graphic design magazine Computer Arts, as well as the Computer Arts Projects series, and was also editor of technology magazine, T3.