Here you’ll find some words that we use from time to time. They can be technical, but more often than not they mean something really simple, just ~fancified~. 



Co design is short for “collaborative design”. It means that we work with you to realise your vision. We’ll advise you about what will and won’t work in different situations and make sure your project is on-brand, ethical and uses best practice.


We covered this a bit above in the Why does my design need to have the UMSU logo/purple/SSAF badge on it? question in the FAQs. It pretty much means that we make sure your design is equally representative of your department and of the organisation. We do this through visual language in the design and through the templates which using the colour purple, the UMSU logo, the U device (which is only used in co-branding). 


Best practice 

Best practice in design basically means using established rules for technical work for the best outcome, or for ensuring the UMSU Values are upheld within a design.


Co-branding is the “U-device” and a department’s logo. It shows that your department is a part of the wider organisation in a visual way. [EXAMPLE/infographic]


Leadtime is the amount of time between the initiation and completion (deadline) of production

Design reference 

A design reference is a style of image, illustration or text explanation that you like or think represents what you want the final artwork to look like. It also helps design to match what you have in your mind to the final design outcome.


When we speak about on-site in Design, this generally relates to any and all designs we create and produce within Union House (your digital assets and printing A1 posters). These means we do not need external production support to finalise the design outcome. 


Off-site or external  

When we talk about off-site or external in Design, this generally is when we engage a supplier or production process that cannot be completed online such as t-shirts, bulk printing, booklet printing, etc 



A supplier is the company or producer of an external service or product, eg a printer 


Offset printing 

We use offset printing when we’re printing large volumes, for example the UMSU Guide is printed via offset every year! The technical setup is a little more costly as it uses printing “plates” for transferring each colour onto the paper to build the final image. As it’s a more involved process in the setup it also takes a bit longer for production of sometimes a week or more but has the advantage to make the unit price at large volume more cost effective. There also tends to be higher minimum order quantities (MOQ). Due to these we would only recommend in certain circumstances. 


Digital Printing 

Digital printing has an advantage over offset printing as the technical setups are less intensive and have no minimum order quantity. It also means the production time drops which means you get your order quite a bit quicker than offset!  



A quote is an estimate of what something that is produced off-site might cost. 



CMYK is a printing colour model which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) and refers to colour in a printed space. Most printing whether it’s large scale or your home printer uses a mix of these colours to build a printed image. Generally most printed items are created using the CMYK printing colours. 



RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue and refers to colour in a digital space. Things like your mobile, laptop or TV use these colours and light to create variation of colour.\ 


PMS or Pantone

PMS colours are a universal list of specific colours printed onto a colour matching swatch book. By selecting a PMS colour for your logo, you will ensure your chosen printer will select the correct percentage of each of the four process CMYK colours. The final result will perfectly match your specified PMS colour.



JPG or PNG or GIF or PSD or TIFF (aka, Raster file) 

This is a fancy word for a file type such as JPG, PNG or a GIF. It uses pixels to digitally translate the image onto screen. It generally cannot be re-sized easily as it tends to lose quality or become “pixelated”.  


EPS or AI or PDF (aka, Vector file) 

This is a fancy word for file types such as EPS, SVG or AI. As these types of files use numbers to translate the image onto screen, it means that these can be resized without losing clarity.