Terms can be gatekeepers to knowledge. When you know an industry’s jargon, you have access to the topics the language describes and is being used to describe. For many, branding, marketing, design and business vocabulary may be foreign. Knowing this, we have created this page as a resource, with listed definitions of standard terms within our field. We hope this improves your experience as a client and empowers you to have more productive, empathetic and understandable conversations with your marketing and design teams. Skip to all terms, or use our table of contents to navigate this article.
Table of Contents
This term’s origin is French, and it directly translates to studio: meaning an artist’s workshop. An atelier is a private studio headed by a professional creative. In this context, assistants, students, and apprentices can work together to produce visual art under the lead creative’s name or supervision.
Business-to-business, or B2B, is a transaction involving a producer and a commercial purchaser. B2B refers to enterprising activities conducted between companies rather than between a company and an individual consumer.
A body font (sometimes called a paragraph font) is the typography selection a designer has determined for use in more extended writing, such as articles or letters. Ideally, in branding, you should pick something legible and easy to read at smaller sizes. as your body font for all documents.
Brand collateral is a set of creative assets designed to help promote your business. Collateral is the extra stuff that does not make up your brand identity but is created from it. This may be a physical asset (like stationary, business cards, brochures, or flyers) or digital (like websites, powerpoints, showreels, or social media banners). Your collateral should serve a specific purpose for each format and align with your visual and verbal identity.
Brand perception is the sum of consumers’ feelings, thoughts, opinions, and beliefs about your business. Put simply, it is what people believe a brand stands for rather than what the brand claims it stands for.
Brand positioning refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of consumers and how it is distinguished from your competitors' offerings. Your positioning is how your brand compares concerning similar businesses.
A brand strategist is a professional who assesses and develops the positioning strategy for your business. Their job is to create visual, tonal, and marketing recommendations to best align your product or service with the people most likely to buy it.
Brand strategy is the long-term plan developed by a brand strategist to achieve consistent recognition and association of your business with its visual elements. A successful brand strategy will allow consumers to identify your business without directly mentioning the product or service you provide.
Branding is the process of assigning meaning to a business in the minds of consumers by organizing the business into recognizable and identifiable visual and vocal elements. Branding takes a product or service from just an offering to a defined concept with benefits, characteristics, and personality.
A buyer persona is a research-based fictional character depicting the typical person likely to buy your offering. A buyer persona is used to judge the types of demographics who are likely to purchase from you and, therefore, how you can tailor your approach to suit them.
An in-depth and detailed examination of a particular case within a real-world context. In branding, case studies are often used to examine how business’ achieve their goals through the strategic use of visual, auditory, and sensory marketing elements.
Colour theory is a collection of rules and guidelines that helps designers communicate a particular message to an audience through different colours and combinations. Learn more in our article explaining the types of emotions colour can evoke, The Psychology of Colour.
A consultation is a meeting with a professional to seek advice or guidance within their area of expertise. These are often paid for, but some professionals offer an initial or discovery consultation. Browse our design consulting options on this page, and don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com with any questions.
A particular sector of the population described through attributes like gender, age, education, socioeconomic status, family, religion, and income.
A design agency develops visual communication elements for your business for marketing and promotional materials. A full-service creative agency will employ graphic designers, brand strategists, artists, filmmakers, and others to create a cohesive visual brand for your business.
A describing word for a visual that embodies a collection of ideas, styles, or tastes from a broad and diverse range of sources.
Evergreen content is search-optimized online content that is not time-sensitive regarding relevancy. This type of content stays fresh for readers over a significant time. It helps drive traffic to your website over time, as multiple people will likely seek this answer repeatedly.
A firm is a for-profit business which provides professional services for customers.
A font is different as it is a particular set of glyphs within a typeface. For example, Didot in bold differs from the same typeface in italics.
A freelancer is an independent contractor who earns money per job, typically on short-term contracts. Hiring a freelancer is often more affordable than hiring an agency, firm or atelier because you are only gaining from one person's expertise rather than a team. Depending on the size of your business and project goals, this price/value trade-off may or may not be worth making.
Heading fonts are a more prominent, high-impact text primarily used for titles or section headers. The heading font can typically be more fanciful or intricate than a body font as it is sparingly used and predominantly large, negating the need for legibility at small scales.
Heuristics are mental shortcuts that are used for problem-solving under time constraints. They result in biases and cause humans to behave in ways that may not be rational when deeply thought out. Heuristics can be useful to know about and understand in marketing. We can lean into or shift people away from common heuristics and biases to strategically move us toward our business goals and create pleasant solutions for our customers.
A lockup is the final form of a logo with all elements locked in their relative positions. A brand may have several different variations or lockups for use in various cases, such as vertical or horizontal orientations. For consistency’s sake, a lockup should never be edited or modified on a case-by-case basis.
A logo is a symbol comprising text and graphics identifying a brand. Typically, when a designer mentions your logo in conversation, we are referring to your primary lockup — which includes your submark and wordmark in the most often-used configuration. Read our Anatomy of a Logo article to learn more.
Market segmentation refers to aggregating prospective buyers or clients into groups of consumers based on their needs, wants, or shared characteristics. Market segmentation aims to group customers of similar attributes together so a business can better understand what they want and, therefore, how to better market towards them. To learn more about segmenting markets effectively for your business, read our article: Finding Your Ideal Audience.
The action of promoting and selling a product or service to consumers using research, human psychology and strategy. Marketing may include visual creatives, audio advertisements, intentional social media posts, television commercials, paid placement on search engines, and more.
A design ethos that focuses on streamlined principles of simplicity and ergonomics in space and design. A minimalist design is typically refined, employing conventional shapes and forms to minimize visual clutter.
A mission statement is a short statement which defines an organization’s goals, purpose and reason for existing.
A mood board is a collection of images, videos, textures, or phrases that evoke a particular stylistic concept or aesthetic. Read our Guide to Mood Boards to learn more.
Personal branding is the intentional effort to position oneself as an authority in their field, elevating their credibility and differentiating themselves from the competition through traditional business branding principles.
An image, artwork, event, or design piece regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances— specifically: your project.
The study and classification of people according to their thoughts, aspirations, preferences, ideas, and other psychological principles. They complement and add depth to demographics in the process of segmenting markets and finding your ideal audience.
A raster file is a type of file used to store digital images. Types of raster files include PNG, JPEG, and GIF images. They are highly compatible files to be used in most digital applications and files for print. However, because the number of pixels in a raster file is fixed, these images can become blurry as we resize them to be larger than intended.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It improves the quality and quantity of website traffic to a particular page from search engines, such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. SEO targets paid rather than paid traffic (such as website clicks garnered through paid advertising). SEO optimization involves processes and strategies to increase the rank at which search engines position your website. Simply, this means getting Google to list your website higher up on the search page, making audiences more likely to see and visit your page.
Sans Serif Font
A sans serif font is a kind of typeface which does not have to extend features called “serifs,” ending each letter stroke. See below for examples comparing serif, sans serif, and script fonts.
A kind of typeface that is based on the fluid and irregular strokes commonly associated with handwriting. These fonts are often used for digital signatures or other texts that benefit from an intimate human element.
A serif has a small stroke attached to the end of the larger strokes that make up the text characters of a particular font family.
A brand style sheet is essentially an instruction manual for communicating a brand visually and verbally. It contains the standards for how your brand should be represented internally and externally.
A type of simplified secondary logo that can be used in applications where the original logo isn’t appropriate. It is based on your original logo in look and feels before being consistent with your brand.
A catchphrase or slogan is used in advertising to associate a brand with a particular thought, idea, or message.
A target audience is the intended audience of a particular product, publication, advertisement, or message tailored specifically to that intended audience.
A typeface is a particular set of glyphs and characters with the same design. For example, Times New Roman is a very popular typeface you’re likely familiar with.
A type foundry is a company that designs, produces, and distributes typefaces and fonts.
Typography is the art of arranging type to make written words legible and appealing when displayed across various mediums. The arrangement of type involves selecting fonts, sizing, line width, line spacing, and letter spacing.
A user persona is an archetypical characterization of the primary user of your product or service. Crafting a user persona is helpful as it allows you to better understand the type of people using your product and how to better cater to them.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is any content created by users of a product or service rather than a brand or company. Incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy is a great way to curate a more organic and authentic feel than you could otherwise have with just product shots.
A vector file is another digital image file, often used for illustrations, logos, or graphics. Vector files are great for storing these images because they are made up of mathematical formulas instead of pixels — meaning they don’t lose resolution as you scale them up and down.
A vision statement is an inspirational statement used by a business to describe the emotion the company wants its customers to experience when interacting with the brand.
Visual elements are the building blocks of art and design. They contain seven key elements: line, shape, colour, value, form, texture, and space. Each element is used to construct the visual elements that make up most graphic designs we encounter.
The brand name is written in a specific typeface or font that is easily identifiable and associated with your brand.
We are Atelier Oluwatosin, a studio of interdisciplinary creatives committed to creating bespoke and timeless designs for sophisticated brands. We invite you to peruse our site: enjoy the works in our portfolio and see if anything from our shop might interest you. If you have any thoughts, questions, or curiosities, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.