Design Jargon for beginners


CMYK = Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (K) — this is the four colors used in offset printing. Each color is traditionally printed on a separate color plate, with a different screen rotation. When layed or printed on top of each other it forms a dot pattern seen in printing. Think Lichtenstein prints where pictures are made up of dots. The dot pattern can be seen with a tool called a loupe.

The CMYK model is based on the light-absorbing quality of ink printed on paper. As white light strikes translucent inks, part of the spectrum is absorbed and part is reflected back to your eyes.

In theory, pure cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) pigments should combine to absorb all color and produce black. For this reason these colors are called subtractive colors. Because all printing inks contain some impurities, these three inks actually produce a muddy brown and must
be combined with black (K) ink to produce a true black. (K is used instead of B to avoid confusion with blue.) Combining these inks to reproduce color is called four-color process printing. We recommend the CMYK model for all, full-color images.


RGB = Red Green Blue. Which is used in screen (web, presentations, LED light shows/projections or anything not printed on an offset printing press)

The RGB color model is an additive color model in which redgreen and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.

The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers, though it has also been used in conventional photography. Before the electronic age, the RGB color model already had a solid theory behind it, based in human perception of colors.

RGB is a device-dependent color model: different devices detect or reproduce a given RGB value differently, since the color elements (such as phosphors or dyes) and their response to the individual R, G, and B levels vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, or even in the same device over time. Thus a RGB value does not define the same color across devices without some kind of color management.

Typical RGB input devices are color TV and video cameras, image scanners, and digital cameras. Typical RGB output devices are TV sets of various technologies (CRT, LCD, plasma, OLED, quantum dots, etc.), computer and mobile phone displays, video projectors, multicolor LED displays and large screens such as JumboTron. Color printers, on the other hand are not RGB devices, but subtractive color devices (typically CMYK color model).

SPOT Color

A spot color is custom mix of ink/color that is printed on it’s own color separation plate. It can also be a varnish or gloss plate.

More Jargon coming soon….

UX Design Notes:

UX Design is all about iteration, and design that thinks about humans first. The different problems that a design can solve and ways that people interact that will make the best product.

  1. user research
    qualitative and quantitative. what the competition has and doesn’t have
  2. analysis
    looking at data and desciding on direction
  3. design (wireframe)
    does it fit on a mobile device?
    does it work in touch mode?
  4. prototype
    implementation of idea. do people understand and want to use it?
  5. user testing
    evaluating user feedback


What is a wireframe? It’s a skeletal 2D model using lines boxes to represent an image or set of images which displays the functional elements of a website or page / app, which is typically used for planning a site’s structure ad functionality.

A tool  for communication of a mockup.

Why spend time wireframming?

It’s easy
  • anyone can do it
  • even advanced wireframing techniques are easy to pick up
User testing
  • can show high or lo-fi frames to get users to understand your idea early on
  • participants can still behave the same way as the would with the real product
  • Return on Investment can be in the millions of dollars. Better to learn on paper before sinking money into rebuilding it.
To communicate ideas
  • its easier to show than to tell
  • doing the thing is the thing, not talking about doing the thing.
To try new ideas
  • it’s cheap & easy to try wild things
  • you can try multiple ideas, because your first idea may not be the best idea.
To narrow down ideas to the best one
  • you can see why some ideas may not work
  • can stat to visualize concepts and interaction problems and make solutions
  • you can get feedback quickly and easily.