Frequently Used Terms in Web Design and Graphic Design

There are a LOT of abbreviations and terms in web design as well as graphic design. It can be very confusing, and sound like random gibberish if you’re not familiar with all the words. Sometimes is still sounds like gibberish if you know them. I’ve started a list of frequently used terms and their layman definitions.

If you have a question about something not on this list, or something still is unclear, please ask!

Terms In Web Design:

  • URL: Uniform Resource Locator – basically where a particular file is found such as
  • SSL Certificate – Secure Sockets Layer –  the short answer is it is what allows encrypted information to flow between a website and browser. Critical when using sensitive information such as credit card, passwords, and other personal information, it’s also good practice to install on all websites. It also gives a slight boost to your SEO score – and may become even more important in the future.
  • Search Engines – services such as Google or Bing that go out and find the sites/answers you are searching for
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization – This is the process that allows people searching for you to find you. It’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing, but requires ongoing monitoring as well as updated strategies to match the evolution of your business as well as changing standards by Search Engines.
  • HTTP and HTTPS  – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (Secure) This is basically the method through which servers and browsers talk to each other.
  • WordPress – I primarily use WordPress to create.  It is the most popular website building tool, and as such has many robust tools, plugins and themes to use with it. In addition I will also use CSS and JS to further customize.
  • ThemesThemes are basically what is used to translate the WordPress software into what you see on the screen.
  • Plugins – Plugins are additional tools/software to bring additional functionality to WordPress.  They can be related to security, to sharing to Social Media, to just additional formatting options. Some are free, some have costs. Like WordPress and Themes, they do need to be properly maintained, an out of date plugin can cause problems on websites.
  • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets modify the look of a website – such as colors, fonts, layout, etc.
  • JS – JavaScript is in short a programming language used with web browsers.


Graphic Design Terms

  • Logos – A logo is a symbol, design, or stylized text that represents a company. Ideally it should be distinct and readily recognizable so customers can identify a company at a glance.
  • Trademark – can be a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination that uniquely identifies one company from another.
  • Servicemark – the same as a trademark, but in regards to a service. Companies such as restaurants and retail stores would use this instead of companies that sell a specific product they produce.
  • Copyright – Until otherwise transferred or licensed the copyright of artwork belongs to the person/agency who created the work (graphic, text, photograph, etc). Unauthorized use can bring a hefty fine from the copyright owner.
  • DMCADigital Millennium Copyright Act. The legislation that clarifies copyright both domestically and how webmasters need to respond to notifications of copyright violations. There is a lot more to this act, but this is the short answer 🙂
  • Stock Photos/Graphics – images you can license for use for a specific purpose. Pricing can vary widely depending on how the image is used, expected number of viewers, if you have exclusive use, and the quality of the image.

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