Useful Design Info and Terms

From Ad Spend to Z-CARD

Some useful design info and terms and what they mean, from studio jargon to odd initials, the design world is full of terms that can be hard to work out. We hope our list helps…

Ad spend

How much companies spend on advertising/marketing in a given period.

CMS (Content Management System)

CMS is a term given to the ability to add, edit and delete content on a platform, mainly used for websites. A CMS will let you login to an admin area of your website with a Username and Password. Once logged in you can change and add the content that appears on your website, ie copy and images. Some websites have an e-commerce (see below listing) aspect to the website and you would use the CMS to add and remove products on your online shop.


Not to be confused with Copywriting. Copyright protects literary, artistic and other creative work and stops others from using it without permission. It’s a legal thing. So if you want to use work in your own projects that other people have already created, you have to get their permission, unless copyright has expired. Find out more at


Not to be confused with Copyright. Professional copywriters create ‘copy’, the combination of words that appear on websites and blogs, in brochures, adverts and other media. Very useful if you find it difficult to write about your own business, or want a more objective view of who you are and what your company or organisation offer.

A good copywriter will take time to discover not only who you are and what you do, but also what makes you and your business special. They will then convey that in a style that will engage and inform your audience, keep them reading and (hopefully) become a loyal customer or client.

Costing a project

A good designer will want to know as much as possible about a design project before giving a quote for the work. An estimate is usually based on the time a designer thinks he or she will need to take a project from initial ideas to completed website or printed product, including amendments and proofing. 

To do this accurately takes time, so please don’t expect a designer to give you an off-the-cuff costing during a phone call. Projects are  too important to rush.


E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. Also know as electronic commerce or an online shop. Most retailers with shops on the high street will also have an online shop for selling their goods, this is E-commerce. Probably the biggest E-commerce store is Amazon.

Folded documents

There are several ways to create folded leaflets, which are normally based on the A paper sizes (see below). For example, the A4 format is commonly used for Tri-fold, Z-fold and Gate fold leaflets. The Tri-fold is often used for takeaway menus – 1/3 of the page folded over the centre third like this: 

Tri-fold layout example - Useful design info

Z-fold: the final third of the portrait page is folded back, like this:

Z-fold layout - Useful design info

Gatefold: Each third of the landscape page are folded to meet in the middle, thus: 

Gate fold layout example - Useful design info

If you want to play around with the possibilities, there’s a great live-action ‘How-to’ here:

There is also a more exotic variation called a Z-CARD® (see below).

Paper sizes

It’s easy to get confused: what are all these numbers beginning with A, from A0 to A8? But there is logic behind it: the sizes all relate to each other. All the other sizes fit into the dimensions of A0 (841 x 1189 mm), with each size being half the previous size. 

A4 (210 x 297 mm) is the standard business letter size for most English-speaking countries. A5 is half the size of A4 and A3 is twice as big as A4 and half the size of A2. also has a useful list of all sizes, including ISO B and C sizes, which cover posters and envelopes, plus everything else you could possibly need to know about international paper sizes – enjoy!


Checking the draft versions of the work your designer shows you to make sure everything is exactly the way you want it. This is especially important if the end result is going to be printed. Suddenly noticing a ‘typo’ – a typographical error in spelling or grammar – or a photo printed the wrong way round, can be a very unpleasant experience.


Reading through the words on your website or in your leaflet, brochure, etc., to check that they are accurate. It’s easy for mistakes to happen, especially when cutting-and-pasting text from one format to another. 

Frankly, it’s best done by someone from outside the design process. Those involved in it are too close to the text and may not notice that errors have crept in. 

Top Tip 1: always print it out, even if it’s website copy that you’re proofing – scanning it on screen is no substitute for reading and marking-up a version on good old-fashioned paper! 

Top Tip 2: asking more than one person to proofread reduces the chance of mistakes getting through.


UX stands for User Experience, which defines the whole range of interactions the end-user has with a product or service. 

Don Norman, a digital design pioneer and inventor of the term, said: “No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly. 

UX is now particularly associated with digital design, including websites and apps. However, the same concerns for ease of use, efficiency, pleasure and accessibility apply to all areas of design, and all good designers will put great UX at the heart of everything they do.


WordPress is the world’s most popular website building platform. 39% of the web is built on WordPress. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined.

WordPress is open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app. Being open sources means there is an infinity number of possibilities provided via plugins to the core software, by developers from across the world.

At Smart In Design WordPress is our preferred platform of choice for building websites.


A credit-card-sized item that unfolds into a big multi-panelled leaflet, a Z-CARD® is a great way to get a lot of information into a handy-sized, attractive format. If your graphic designer/copywriter has worked on one of these before, they will certainly remember the experience! More info at