Industry Jargon 101

We live in the world of advertising and design here at Rhyme & Reason, so I often assume that our industry-speak is well known thanks to buzz words like social media, digital and mobile becoming part of the general nomenclature. Yet during the holidays, while speaking to friends, family and party guests, I found myself having to define my vocabulary choices a little too often. At first I was taken aback. How do people not know what the digital landscape is or what CMS stands for? Then I realized most people (including our clients) don’t think, sleep and breathe marketing and design.

Thanks for the wake-up call, holidays. So how can I check my industry jargon at the door and still educate everyone on terms that are essential to building, growing and maintaining a successful business in today’s technologically savvy marketplace?

My idea: Create a living vocabulary cheat sheet on our blog. The list is in its infancy, so as you read through let me know if there are any words, phrases or acronyms that you would like to add to the list.

General Terms

Request for Proposal (RFP)

A solicitation by a company to procure a commodity, service or valuable asset from a potential supplier. The prospective supplier submits a proposal that answers the questions posed in the solicitation documentation.

Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVB)

An organization that promotes a town, city, or country to lure visitors. CVBs promote development and marketing of an area by focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing and services.

Content Management System (CMS)

A computer application used to manage the content of a website. It allows the user to modify, delete and organize the content from a central interface.

Digital Media

Media that is encoded in a machine-readable format. It can be created, modified, distributed, viewed and saved on a computer. Some examples include digital imagery, websites, e-books and software.

Open Source

Source code for software that is made freely available and can be redistributed and modified.

Responsive Websites

A type of website design that can detect a visitor’s screen size and orientation, thus changing the layout of the webpage accordingly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A process that enhances the visibility of a website by adjusting website content to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results. SEO can target different kinds of search, such as image search, video search and news search.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Internet marketing that that uses SEO to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results.

Traditional Media

Media that exists outside of the Internet such as newspapers, books and television.

File Type Terms


JPEG, or JPG, stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A JPEG file is a format commonly used for emailing photographs or for displaying them on web applications. Quality may vary, although it is possible to obtain very high-resolution JPEG formats.

JPEG’s are appropriate for images that will appear online or in PowerPoint or Keynote presentations, which typically contain low-resolution images that are not suitable for printed materials.


PDF stands for Portable Document Format. This file format allows viewing or printing of files across platforms, and allows recipients to see the file as it was created to appear, rather than in a modified format. PDF’s are typically used for multi-page documents.


PNG stands for Portable Network Graphic. A PNG is an image format that employs lossless data compression. PNG was created to improve upon and replace the GIF format. PNG files may not be scaled up without image degradation, but may be reduced in size. PNG files offer transparent backgrounds, so they can be used over colored or patterned backgrounds.

PNG format is appropriate for images that will appear online or for images used in PowerPoint or Keynote presentations. This typically represents a low-resolution image and is not suitable for printed materials.


TIFF stands for Tagged Information File Format. TIFF files may not be scaled up without image degradation, but may be reduced in size.

TIFF images are typically used in printed materials and cannot be scaled larger than their original dimensions.

GIF (The creators of this file pronounce the word as Jif, like the Peanut Butter)

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Scaling or resizing a GIF can cause the image quality to degrade. GIF files may be placed in MS Office applications, but may not be scaled larger than their original dimensions, so they are not recommended when scaling or resizing is necessary.


EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript file. These may be scaled to virtually any size without image degradation.

Use an EPS vector file for reproduction on printed materials, clothing, signage and where high detail is desired. This file can be scaled up indefinitely. Recommended especially for use in signage and oversized items.

Color Model Terms


CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. CMYK are the four colors of ink used in offset printing, in which all colors are a mixture or build of these four process colors.

Used for printed brochures, invitations and documents with photography.


PMS stands for Pantone Matching System and is a registered trade name for the standard system for selecting, specifying, matching and controlling ink colors in printing. Printing PMS colors is the best way to ensure uniformity across mediums and printers.

Used for printed brochures, invitations and documents requiring one or two spot colors.


RGB stands for red, green and blue, which are the primary colors of light and are used in combination to simulate all other colors on a computer monitor or television set.

Used for projected imagery, PowerPoint or Keynote presentations and any graphic appearing on a monitor.


HEX stands for Hexadecimal Colors and are colors used in designing web pages. These colors are represented by a six-digit combination of letters and numbers and should appear similarly across monitors. Because monitor calibration is different, there is no way to ensure exact translation.

Used for specifying colors for web and monitor applications.