Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Language of Creatives: Our Simple Glossary

What do all those words that creative people use mean? We often have to help our clients get through the industry jargon, so we created this simple glossary of commonly-used words.

AUTHORISATION TAG: During election periods, some advertising and marketing materials is required to be properly authorized under the Electoral Act and officers should inform themselves of these as serious penalties apply for breach of the legislation.

AIS: Aboriginal Interpreter Service. A Northern Territory Government service that provides interpreter and translator services throughout the Northern Territory. Visit www.nt.gov.au/ais

BLEED: An extension of colour beyond the edge of the artwork so that once your artwork is trimmed you get clean colour all the way to the edge of the page. ‘No bleed’ means that the artwork is the exact same size as the finished printout. If artwork with no bleed is printed on a colour copier or office printer there will be a white margin around the outside.

CAD APPROVAL: TV commercials receive classifications just like all other television programming. The classification tells the stations at what times they can air the commercial. For example, PG-rated commercials cannot be played during G-rated programs. When a TV commercial has been rated and approved by CAD it receives a CAD approval number. TV stations need to know what the CAD approval number is before they can air a commercial. Production houses will generally coordinate the CAD approval process on behalf of their clients. For more information about CAD approval visit www.freetv.com.au/Content_Common/pg-CAD-About-CAD-Numbers.seo

CMYK: See Process Colour.

COLLATERAL: Collateral, or promotional collateral, is all the printed promotional and information resources associated with a campaign. For example, a campaign about teenage binge drinking might include the following collateral: posters, A4 fact sheets, wallet-sized cards with emergency services contact phone numbers and a pull-up banner. Radio and TV commercials are not classified as collateral.

GSM: The weight of paper. Standard copier paper is 80GSM. Lower numbers indicate lighter, thinner paper and higher numbers indicate thicker paper or card. Different paper brands measure GSM differently so whenever possible ask your printer to provide a paper sample to confirm the weight. When you get printing quotes, check the GSM specified to make sure you are happy with it. GSM should not be confused with coating. Coatings include matt, satin and gloss.

HEX: Short for Hexadecimal colours, Hex is a formula for web-based colours and is represented by a series of 7 digits, such as #000000 (the formula for black) or #FF69B4 (hot pink). There are certain colours recognised as being “web safe” and able to be replicated accurately on most web browsers. You should ask your designer to recommend web safe colours if this is important to you.

IMAGERY: The photos and pictures included in campaign artwork. Does not include logos and graphics.

KEY NUMBER: An identification number allocated to every TV or radio commercial produced. Production houses provide key numbers for their commercials. The key number is supplied to TV or radio stations to a) help them identify the commercial in their system and b) confirm that they are playing the correct advertisement. Each time an advertisement is updated, the key number will change. The new key number will ensure that the stations are playing the correct version of the commercial. It is good practice to allocate key numbers to all commercials, including print and online.

LOADING: This is an extra amount charged on top of a standard advertising placement cost for placement in a preferred location. Some examples of preferred locations that will incur additional costs include:
  • Press: Front page, early general news (generally pages two to nine), or right hand page
  • Radio: Just before or after the news, playing the commercial at a specified time or at exactly the same time each day. Also, different times of the day cost different amounts. Breakfast (6:00 am – 9:00 am) and drive (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm) are generally more expensive.
  • TV: Just before or after a specific program, playing the commercial at a specified time or at exactly the same time each day. It also costs more to air your commercial during popular, highly-rated programs.

MEDIA SCHEDULE: A plan identifying when a TV or radio commercial will be played (including dates, times, programs and channels) and when a press advertisement will appear in the newspaper or magazine (including date, loading and schedule). The media schedule may or may not also include a breakdown of costs.

OFFLINE EDITS: Early editing to a TV commercial before any of the special effects have been applied and before the sound has been added and edited.

ONLINE EDITS: Edits to a TV commercial that has been finalised and is ready to go to air. Edits at the online stage take more time and resources because the sound and special effects need to be updated to match any changes to the commercial’s footage.

PANTONE: A brand name for a colour matching system that is recognised throughout the world. The Pantone colour system provides an accurate way of ensuring the colour you want is replicated time and time again. You will often see Pantone colour represented by the letters PMS and a unique number. There are several different Pantone systems available, the most common being coated (C) and uncoated (U). Examples include PMS289C or PMS 1345U. Pantone provides formulas for both spot colour and process colour. See also RGB, Hex, Spot and Process Colour.

PAPER SIZES: There are standard paper sizes used world-wide. All paper sizes in the A-series (A5, A4, A3 etc.) are based on a standard ratio. Each smaller size is created by halving the preceding size. For example, A4 equals half of A3. You can find out more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_sizes#The_international_standard:_ISO_216. DL is not part of the A-series standard paper sizing. It is roughly the size of a business envelope, or exactly one third the size of an A4 page.

PRINT-READY ARTWORK: Graphic design files that have been set up ready to be professionally printed. Files are only supplied as print-ready files when they are ready to be supplied to the printer. They will often be a larger file size because all the pictures will be crisp and clear with higher resolution for professional printing. Print-ready files will also include bleed marks, crop marks and trim marks.

PROCESS COLOUR: Also called CMYK colour or four-colour. Files set up as process colour go through the printing press four times. Each time a new colour is added – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK. This allows the output of every possible colour combination. You need to use process colour if your artwork includes colour photos or pictures. See also RGB, Spot Colour, Pantone and Hex.

PRODUCTION HOUSE: A company that produces TV or radio commercials, videos, DVDs and other audio visual materials. A production house has the facilities to create an audio-visual tool from start to finish including filming, sound recording, editing, adding graphics, outputting final files to CD or DVD, arranging CAD approval and sending (Adstreaming) commercials to TV stations. Production houses generally do not write scripts, advise on media schedules or channels or book media placement.

RGB: RGB is a formula used for screen-based graphics. It refers to the relative saturation of Red Green and Blue in the colour and is expressed as a series of three numbers, such as RGB 176:214:138. HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) is also sometimes used, although RGB is regarded as the industry standard. RGB colours cannot be used for printing. See also Process Colour, Spot Colour, Pantone and Hex.

SCRIPTWRITER: A professional with experience writing scripts for TV, radio or DVD. A scriptwriter will have experience writing scripts that are suited to being read aloud and scripts that will fit within tight timeframes if required.

SPEND: Commonly used to refer to ‘media spend’ – how much of the budget has been allocated for playing the commercial on radio or television or placing the advertisement in newspapers or magazines.

SPOT COLOUR: A single colour that is created using one ink, dye or paint. Can include shades but only as a percent opacity of the original colour. Collateral produced with one spot colour can only include white and the spot colour. Newspaper ads produced with one spot colour generally include black, white and the spot colour. Printing in spot colour used to be cheaper than printing in process colour however that is not longer always the case.

STORYBOARDS: A series of pictures with captions underneath each picture. The pictures are sequential and tell a story. Storyboards are used for developing TV commercials. The storyboard will outline the visual concept, the script and may include notes about special effects, sound and music.

STYLE GUIDE: A document that outlines rules for producing documents. A style guide will generally include rules for using the logo, specific fonts for use, rules for grammar, capitalisation, acceptable abbreviations and more. Many organisations have their own style guide. If you don’t, use the Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, commonly known as the Commonwealth Style Guide.

TALENT: Any individual whose voice or person appears in photographs or filmed footage used in a campaign or kept on file for potential future use.

TALENT RELEASE: A legally approved form signed by talent authorising the use of their voice or images or film of their person. Talent release forms must also clearly outline any restrictions for the use of the image or voice. Children under the age of 18 years must have their talent release signed by a parent or guardian.

TVC: TV commercial.

VOICEOVER: A voice recording in a TV commercial that is played over an image and is spoken by a person who is not seen on the screen.

Watch out in coming weeks for our other glossaries: The Language of the Media and The Language of Social Media.


  1. Could have done with this a few years ago! Thanks

  2. Thanks Mary-Anne. We often refer to it ourselves!