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Graphically (mis)Understood

June 23rd, 2011

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As PR professionals we’re experts at pitching the media and have no problems with words. We’re trained to write press releases, white papers and website copy, and can quote marketing buzzwords at the drop of a hat. But we trust our graphic design teams to, as many PR professionals like to put it, “make it look pretty.”

But ask any PR professional and they’ll be sure to tell you that there’s often miscommunication and ­­misinterpretation at this crucial stage.

Saying, “those words look too tight” might seem simple enough to understand, but it turns out that it’s actually quite a vague suggestion. The “tightness” could be in the kerning (the space between the letters) or the leading (the space between the lines of text).

It’s hard to explain exactly what you mean when there’s no manual to help you bridge the gap.

Well, there is now.


Our agency created this handy graphic design vocabulary book so that when it comes to turning our ideas into reality, we’re all on the same page. And because we’re all visual people, each definition comes with an illustrative diagram showing what the term means.

Some of the terms are ones that we use often without fully understanding what they mean. Others explain concepts we use all the time but are never able to fully explain. And some terms are just completely new to us.


If you want to make the colors in your presentation “pop” a bit more, tell your graphic designer to pick colors with more contrast. Want the image to extend to the edge of the page without any white spaces around the edge? Then you want a full bleed.



You may know which term you mean, but does everyone else? Efficient communication and mutual understanding is always important. The best way to make communication easier is to become familiar with the language that’s specific to your audience. It might take you an extra 15 minutes to learn the terms now, but you’ll end up saving many more hours in the future.

Now, we’re all speaking the same language.


Make it Crystal Clear: When has inefficient communication needlessly complicated a project?

Posted Under: Art & Design, Public Relations
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One Response to “Graphically (mis)Understood”

  1. Doug says:

    Simple, informative and helpful.
    Also like the inefficient communications comment, as projects are sometimes complicated enough, even without continuous explanations from all parties.

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