Design Debt

A concept used in systems design to describe the negative consequences of making seemingly innocuous design changes. Shorthand for a product's delayed but inevitable need to be reworked due to earlier, seemingly trivial decisions not having been fully thought through in the original release.

Designers incur this "debt" by making quick and easy choices that save time in the present but cause more complex problems later on down the road when it becomes necessary to change or add something.

More terms you might want to know

Quick Keys or Shortcuts

A Shortcut is a computer function that performs a set of commands to save time. A Quick Key is a keyboard shortcut used to trigger an action.

Raster

Commonly used to describe a 2D graphic that is made up of an organized grid of pixels, in other words, a bitmap.

Font Case

The way characters are capitalised within a word or phrase. Common font cases are uppercase, lowercase, capitalised (or title case) and sentence case.

AI File

An Adobe Illustrator vector format file. Files with the extension .ai are often used for artwork and illustrations as users can resize them without distortion. It is composed of several layers with objects and text on each layer. Users can import Illustrator files into many other programs like InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop etc. If you design or print your t-shirts, you can create your designs in Illustrator and apply them to your t-shirt using a heat press.

Masthead

The name, logo, and other identifying information at the top of a newspaper or magazine publication.

White Space

The area of negative space around and between elements in a design.

CSS

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets are a language for describing the look and formatting of HTML elements in a webpage.

Baseline

An imaginary line on which most letters "sit". As such, it equals the height of an em square. The expected result of a baseline is to reference the height with which text is aligned. The alignment ranges from ascenders, which are the upper strokes in b, d, and h, down to descenders like j or y.

Style Guide

A group of rules, guidelines, and/or standards designers use when producing artwork or branded projects ensuring that they have the desired appearance and are compliant with usage guidelines.

Typography

The art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed.

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