5 design terms everyone needs to know

Learning the design lingo is important for everyone because it helps everyone appreciate the design process. It is crucial to know what you are dealing with same way it’s important to know what you are buying when in a supermarket. Knowing the rules of the shop also helps make the design process smoother and you are able to appreciate each step during the progression of the design process. In the same way we carry our visa cards to the supermarket and don’t expect discounts for purchases, it is crucial to understand the perimeters within which design operates.

  1. Design brief

A creative brief is the core of the client service process and may lead to the success or failure of the creative output. The creative brief is a descriptive document that containing information about the client, what they do, how they do it and explains their requirements for the project. Our briefing process is aimed at collecting comprehensive information from the client in order to eliminate any ambiguities in the design process. We always urge our clients to take this step very seriously and not address it hurriedly in a bid to ‘get to the fun part’ because it is the basis of the entire project. It tells the story of the project – why it is to be undertaken and provides a strategic foundation on how it is to be undertaken and for whom it is intended.

It is this strategic input that enables us to provide an effective design solution to the clients business and not merely a decorative art piece.

  1. Design scope

The scope outlines the general aims and goals of the project design and lists the major deliverables and milestones.  Project scope management plan is a planning tool that documents how the project team will go about defining project scope, how the work breakdown structure will be developed, how changes to scope will be controlled, and how the work of the project will be verified and accepted. This document is important because it keeps everyone on their proverbial ‘side of the fence’. It contains the following crucial elements:

  • The project scope statement contains a detailed description of the project deliverables.
  • A process for creating the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS further defines the work of the project (as defined in the scope statement) by breaking down the deliverables into smaller pieces of work.
  • A definition of how the deliverables will be verified for accuracy and the process used for accepting deliverables.
  • A description of the process for controlling scope change requests, including the procedure for requesting changes and how to obtain a change request form.


  1. Logo vs. Brand

According to creative bloq, a great logo works as a reminder of a company or product, for designers they represent the challenge of encapsulating a client’s essence into a single graphic.

What a logo design isn’t, though, is branding. While the logo is usually the stand-out part of a brand, there’s much more to branding than a logo. A good brand identity is carefully built out of a number of elements, and the logo will reflect these elements and work within the brand system.

But creating or refreshing a brand can be a massive undertaking, involving a deep understanding of the brand’s personality, how it’s perceived, its history and function and much more.

  1. Resolution: DPI vs. PPI

Resolution is a measure of dots per inch (DPI) for printed works and pixels per inch (PPI) for digital work. If the resolution of an image is too low, your final product will come out looking grainy or pixelated. Even if you’re smart phone shoots 41 megapixels, trust your designer if he or she says the image won’t work (Rebecca Swift).

  1. Typography

This is the art of using typefaces to communicate. This skill encompasses both the typefaces and the negative space surrounding them. Typeface research is a process that takes up a lot of time during the design especially of logos and brands because the font selected sets the ‘mood’ and ‘feel’ for your brand.

You will want to know something about fonts because the two convey different feelings. Serif fonts have a line crossing the ending of a stroke and are sometimes described as having “wings” and “tips.” Serif fonts like Times New Roman make printed materials easier to read but can be difficult to read in online body copy.


Why you require professional book design

Are you thinking of publishing a book? If you are, and want to be successful at it, keep book design in mind. Many authors in Kenya try to cut the costs of publishing their books by eliminating graphic designers and laying out the book themselves and make a remarkable mess of their otherwise good books.

The goal of a professional designer in book design is to make the book appealing and comfortable for the reader. Because design covers all the parts of the book, from the cover to details like spacing, it can make or break a book, hence the need to pay careful attention to the otherwise easy to ignore details.

The following are 10 reasons why you need to hire a designer to layout your book for you:

  1. They will have the right tools

A professional and experienced designer will have the appropriate software suite to ensure professional results. While Microsoft office may do the job, it will not be the same at any level, when compared to a book designed on the relevant design software.

  1. The Cover design is your selling point

Professional designers understand how crucial the book cover is and the role that it plays in the marketing & sales process. They will know to make it simple but catchy, take into account essentials like readability, typography selection and size as well as the image to use in order to invoke interest and curiosity in a reader.

  1. Margins and spacing

Professional designers know all about spacing and its relevance in making a book an easy read or a messy collection of words. Tight margins will make your margins intimidating and cramped. In some cases, part of the text can be lost in the inside edge or “gutter”, which gives the reader a hard time reading. Your book will appear more inviting with roomy and nice margins around the text. The reader can hold such a book comfortably, and even have space for marks or notes. The inside margin should be larger to ensure words do not fall into the inside edge.

  1. The right typeface

A readable font is a typeface that is easy on a reader’s eyes, one that is not only attractive, but also comfortable, no squint and appropriate for the larger age bracket. Livelier fonts can be used for book covers, chapter titles and the title page.

  1. Use of appropriate font size and leading

Selecting the right font size is imperative, If you make it too big, you risk having a large print edition. If you make it too small, you might as well provide your readers with magnifying glasses. While there is no rule to this, the 11-point type is used in many modern books. Some fonts may look larger or smaller with different letter shapes. A professional designer will know to count the number of words or letters that can fit on one line.

Leading is the space between lines, or the distance from the bottom of one line to the bottom of the next line. Using an experienced designer means they are likely using professional tools like Adobe® InDesign® which ensures they will keep this consistent.

  1. Text justification

Text justification, as used in typography, means setting it so your text runs right up both the left and right-hand margin, making an even rectangle. All layout platforms and word processors have this feature. The idea is that straight margins make long chunks of readable. The uneven edge will not distract readers’ eye, allowing them to focus on word flow.

  1. Indenting the first lines of paragraphs

The beginning of a new paragraph should be easy to notice on a book page. If not, your text will look like a run on of a block of words. For book design, it is better to indent the first line of the paragraph.

  1. Use of running heads or footers

While running heads are optional, they are the details that make the design of the book appear complete. These are little headings appearing above the text block on each page. The heads anchor text and assist readers to navigate books. They typically contain mainly the author’s name and book title. There are times when chapter titles might be used instead. Headers are different on left-hand and right-hand pages.

  1. Marking scene breaks with blank lines

Changes of scene are common in chapters. The designer will show this using a single blank line between the paragraphs. This will assist readers to understand change in perspective. Alternatively, small ornaments may be created & placed at the center, widening the break. They will know to keep the breaks simple and fun to reinforce the theme and mood of the book.

With these steps, you can appreciate the need to have an experienced graphic designer lay out your book in a clear and consistent manner that will make your book a ‘grab and read’.




Laikipia Wildlife Forum – Guide

The Laikipia region of Kenya stands out as one of only a few places without any formal Protected Area status where is has been possible, across vast expanses of private and communal land, to consolidate wildlife habitats and to preserve their bio diversity, while managing critical natural resources sustainably for the benefit of all.

Against this background, the publication of this guidebook – the first comprehensive account of the natural history of Laikipia – is a particularly welcome development.

The design and layout of this book was both an interesting (because of the freedom to be artsy) and rewarding experience.

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FONNAP Natural History Guide

The Friends of Nairobi National Park embarked on the production of a comprehensive natural history guide, covering all the Park’s major habitats and their flora, as well as the fauna while chronicling the history of the Park and shedding light on the pressures and the conservation challenges facing the Park.

They came to us to put this guide together in a manner that would capture the attention of both old and young.

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