If you've never worked with a designer before, you may be feeling like a deer in headlights. You don't know the lingo, you're not sure what your role is, you don't know what to do with your hands…

Design is a conversation and while every designer and process is different, there are a few things you can do that will keep communication open and smooth.


  • How to get exactly what you want, when you want it

  • What your designer needs from you

  • How to get a piece that is going to best serve your mission and your audience

Nicole YangComment
Designer Lingo 101: Digital

Since we're on our digital devices constantly, we're all relatively savvy when it comes to the tech-speak now. But, here's a quick refresher of what you need to know when it comes to digital design.


Red, green, and blue. These are the colors that are used to create all web and digital colors. It's the color profile/setting you'll want to select for any design made with the intention of publishing online, on mobile, or for video. RGB color profiles create brighter colors than CMYK, including neons.



The unit that screen size and display is measured by. All graphics and images on a screen are composed of pixels. Each pixel displays one color, therefore images or graphics with more pixels (aka higher resolutions) show more detail. Pixelation occurs when we begin to perceive the pixels in an image—a sign that the quality is low and an image with a higher resolution is needed. 


The number pixels that are displayed on a screen, measured by pixel width by pixel height. For instance, an HD display on YouTube is typically 1920 pixels x 1080 pixels.


Retina and High Definition (HD) displays have a higher resolution than standard displays. More pixels are squeezed onto a screen (becoming smaller pixels), showing twice the amount of detail than a normal display. Because retina and HD displays are becoming more common, we now create graphics at twice the resolution than we have in the past in order to display without pixelation. 



Stands for Portable Net Graphics. PNGs are the best image file type for digital displays. They're optimized for screen viewing and also support transparent backgrounds. 


Stands for Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs can store multiple images in a single file, creating those fun animated graphics that we all love so much.


Coming up next week: Designer Lingo 101 - Digital

Designer Lingo 101: Print

Designing for a printed product can be a little overwhelming when you have printers asking you for things you've never heard of. "Add a bleed?? That sounds dangerous!" Since they're working with sophisticated machinery, we have to level up our game and learn the lingo so that we can better understand how the printing process works and how we can get better finished products out of our designs.


The area around your design that artwork should extend to. Typically 0.25inches larger on each side of the document. Since printers can't print color to the very edge of the paper (like home printers can't), artwork is often printed on larger paper and then trimmed to size. Extending artwork to a bleed prevents white lines or gaps between artwork and the edge of the paper.


The area of the design that's final after the bleed has been trimmed off. Crop marks refer to the lines that tell printers where to trim. The trim size is the final document size.

Bleed Crop Trim.png


The material from which paper is made and can refer to the brand name, type, material, and/or color of paper. Printers will often call lighter text sheets "text stock" and heavier text sheets "cover stock." 

paper weight

All stocks are measured in paper weight, which corresponds to paper thickness. Usually measured in pounds (#) or grams per square meter (gsm). Copier paper made for home printers is typically 20#. Cardstock made for home printers is usually 80#.


The color profile that all print documents and images should be set to. All printers use cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink to create full color prints. In general, CMYK color profiles produce more muted colors than RGB and cannot support neon colors.


COLOR process

The process of printing CMYK artwork and using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to create full color prints. A four-color process refers to printing with all four ink colors.

Spot color

CMYK printing has its limitations and it's often hard to achieve vibrant colors through four-color process. To achieve brighter colors for important pieces of artwork, designers can employ spot colors, which refers to a Pantone or PMS color. The ink for spot colors is custom mixed and applied to printers, instead of relying on CMYK processes. 


The best file type for images used in printing. JPGs meant for print should be sized to 300 dots per inch and in a CMYK color-mode.

Coming up next week: Designer Lingo 101 - Digital

Nicole YangComment
Come Get Inspired!

One of the hardest things about growing your business is knowing how and where to invest in further education, resources, and tools. There's nothing worse than spending hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on a conference or workshop and walking away with little to no new information.

My biggest priority when I choose to invest in new resources and education is that I walk away with an actionable to-do list and further education to mull on and implement. 

Design is one of those things that's often difficult to teach, but it is SO IMPORTANT to me that we start knocking down the walls that do make it difficult to teach. I 100% believe that we can simplify how we approach design so that it becomes something we can all do.


I'm so excited that I'll speaking at The Inspired Retreat this month!

I'll be teaching attendees how to juice up their designs so they can get more out of them. My goal is to knock down some misconceptions about what design is so that we can approach it more simply and systematically.

Design should never be the thing that holds you business back, so let's learn what the real purpose of design in your business is and some small tools and tricks to refine what you're already doing.

You'll walk away from my workshop with:

  • A better understanding of how to use design in your business

  • A glossary of design terms that will simplify what you're trying to do
  • A plan to map out future designs.

I'd love for you to join me at Inspired! This is one conference that prioritizes useful information and ensures that their attendees walk away with an actionable plan for their business. There are only a few seats left, so register now. You can even take $200 off with my code: NICOLEYANG

Nicole YangComment
Designer Lingo 101: Color

In my opinion, color is the most fun and exciting part of a design! You might know all the colors of the rainbow, but when it comes to designing for print and for web, there are a few more terms that come in handy to get the exact color you're looking for.


Red, green, and blue. These are the colors that are used to create all web and digital colors. It's the color profile/setting you'll want to select for any design made with the intention of publishing online, on mobile, or for video.



Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (K). These are the colors that printers use to create all printable colors. It's the color profile/setting you'll want to select for any design made with the intention of printing.



Refers to a color on the traditional rainbow spectrum and how we identify it, regardless of its saturation or brightness. For instance, we identify both lavender and plum colors as purple, and both blush and burgundy colors as red.



The intensity of the color. High saturation colors are bold and vibrant. Low saturation colors are soft and pastel.



The light or darkness of a color. 



In terms of color, a noticeable difference in lightness/brightness and saturation/darkness between two colors. High color contrast increases readability and accessibility.

Color Contrast.png


Pairing two or more colors with similar saturation levels creates color-tension and makes readability difficult. Using high saturation clashing colors will also create color tension.

Color Tension.png


A palette using only one color or hue, regardless of brightness or saturation.


Coming up next week: Designer Lingo 101 - Print