Web Designer Lingo You Should Be Up to Speed on Before Hiring a Designer

Getting a website designed can be an educational experience, to say the least. If anything you need a bit of education before hiring a web design firm because without it, you’ll never be on the same page. The most important thing to wrap your head around is the lingo or the jargon as its often referred to. By understanding the lingo you’ll be able to describe effectively what you want and understand what the web designer is trying to communicate.

We have compiled a list of the most basic yet essential web design lingo that you should familiarize yourself with before hiring a company to design your website.

What are Vectors?

You may have learned about ‘Vectors’ in math class when in grade school. But these vectors are a whole lot different. When a web design company refers to “vector graphics” what they mean is a graphics file which has the ability to be scaled up to maybe a thousand times its size. Vectors are made by mainly stretching strokes from one end to the other. While triangles and squares are some of the basic shapes but vector graphics are used to create an array of images most notably icons, logos and even infographics.

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Bitmap files?

When a web designer says, they sent you a “bitmap file” what they mean is a low-resolution file. All mockups are in bitmap format because they have a small footprint but offer enough information to the viewer to decide if or not they like the graphic. But unlike a vector file bitmap files cannot be scaled up beyond their pre-defined resolution.

CMYK colors

It’s an abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key or Black. The CMYK color scheme is used for mostly designing printable graphics like brochures. The four primary colors make up the overall colors when the images are printed out. Various combos of the colors help to create various others. So, you’re not just strictly limited to these.


Unlike CMYK, RGB is composed of three primary colors i.e. Red, Green, and Blue. All digital graphics use the RGB color model because our computer monitors use these three main colors to transmit a spectrum of colors. So, RGB is therefore mostly used by web design companies.

Responsive design

When a web designer or a design firm asks if you want a responsive design what they mean is if you want the design to be tablet and mobile friendly. The increasing number of tablet and mobile usage has meant that it’s a good idea that your website is responsive that way it looks great across all devices.

Do you want a ‘flat design’?

It may sound like a bad idea and wonder why the web designer asked you in the first place. However, flat design is a philosophy that promotes functionality and yet simplicity. It’s flat because there is no dimensional depth to it. The design elements appear to be so close that you can touch them.


It’s a pretty hard word to spell, but web designers tend to use it a lot, because it’s important. This is another design type which is the exact opposite of flat design. Think the old iOS design which was filled with real life graphics like a newsstand, compass, etc. But as of late this design style has been losing interest.

A mockup

A web designer or a design firm will ask if you received a mockup and if you approve of it. What they mean is a real size design model of how the website will look. This is a near-identical look to the website once it’s coded and uploaded. Obviously, it will be hard for you to critique the design and ask for elements to be added if you haven’t seen the mockup!