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Glossary » Graphic Design

struts and springs

a graphical way of representing layout constraints, used in some UIMS to handle the layout specifications for widgets. Struts and springs allow a programmer to specify minimum and maximum widths, proportions of the screen, alignment, and so forth.

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a set of user preferences that collectively determine a cohesive custom appearance to an interface. A theme may specify properties such as a color scheme, set of fonts, style of imagery, sounds, and interactive behavior.

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thumbnail sketch

(graphic design) a small, rapidly-drawn sketch, used to explore visual ideas, focusing on rough layout issues. A general design approach is to quickly draw a large number of thumbnails as a way of brainstorming and exploring design variations.

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a semi-transparent window that contains tools to choose from, usually brought into view temporarily to access tools without significantly obscuring content information below the toolglass.

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tree diagram

a visual way of representing hierarchies, commonly used, for instance, for representing organization charts. Also useful for displaying file systems and sitemaps for websites. A tree diagram represents the hierarchy by displaying each object in the hierarchy as a box…

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a diagram for representing hierarchical structures (trees). A TreeMap displays the hierarchy as a series of embedded boxes, where each box contains its children, usually by alternating at each level between laying them out vertically and laying them out horizontally.…

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the design of letterforms, and the selective use of appropriate type (in appropriate fonts) for the display of text. Typographers often specialize in the design of fonts and of logos, but typography plays a role in any context in which…

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user interface design

the overall process of designing how a user will be able to interact with a software application.

User interface design is involved in many stages of product development, including: requirements analysis, information architecture, interaction design, screen design, user testing, documentation,…

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Venn diagram

a common diagram used in set theory. Each set is represented as a circle (or other bounded region) and labeled with a capital letter or word. Any member of the set that is specifically denoted (which is optional) is represented…

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visual brainstorming

the process of generating a variety of graphical alternatives to a visual design problem, such as generating thumbnail sketches for a screen layout or various alternatives of an icon to represent an abstract concept.

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visual interaction design

(VID) design of interactive systems with an emphasis on the visual or graphic elements. Strongly influenced by the graphic design perspective, visual interaction design integrates concerns with how users provide feedback to visual systems and how the flow and interaction…

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visual programming language

a programming language whose interface is graphical, as opposed to the most common textual languages (such as C, Lisp, Java, etc). The idea is to improve the comprehensibility of the code by choosing an optimal notation, not one which is…

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web-safe color palette

a set of 216 colors which display correctly on 8-bit monitors for both Macintosh and Windows machines. Each platform has an 8-bit color palette of 256 colors, but they only overlap for 216 of those colors. When colors that are…

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a location for dropping objects, from which those objects can later be retrieved or selected. For instance, a color well can have a “color chip” dropped into it, which then can be dragged out or just selected to color an…

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white space

(graphic design) the use of blank space on a page to help reinforce the structure of the page and avoid cluttered graphical elements. Blank space (not necessarily white), when used conscientiously, can help improve the organization and comprehensibility of a…

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