You want your website to look professional, but you may not be trained in graphic design. It’s not that hard to have a great-looking site; don’t hesitate to hire a webmaster or a social media marketing company to help you. But even if you hire a pro, you’ll still want input into what your site looks like. Learning some basics about graphic design will help. Here are some basic terms and definitions:

Tear sheet or swipe file: A swipe file, also called a tear sheet, is a collection of clippings and images that you like. A website designer can pull examples to create a mood board, a collage of visuals that conveys the look you want for your site. Creating a mood board for yourself can give you a sense of the look and style you want.

Proof: A proof, proof sheet, or paste-up is a copy of what your pages will look like. Website designers might call this a “wireframe” or a “mockup” instead. With a digital wireframe, you might see only a line drawing that outlines where key elements will go but does not show the final actual elements. Don’t fret if the colors, graphics, and words aren’t all in place. Your webmaster or page designer is saving you money by not completing the page until you’ve both approved where everything goes.

Alignment: Centered text is hard to read but is typically used for headlines. You can left- or right-align your text. You can also have justified text, spread evenly to both margins, but a ragged right edge is usually easier to read.

Negative space: Negative space is the blank space around the words and text. Sometimes you’ll also see a “knockout” or “runaround” that doesn’t have an image yet and uses white space as a placeholder.

Copyfitting: Copyfitting is determining how much space an amount of text will take on a page. “Kerning” brings letters closer together. “Leading” is the amount of space between lines of text. Website designers use “lorem ipsum” or other sample text to show you how the final product will appear.

Serif: Serif and “sans” (without) serif fonts convey different feelings. Serif fonts have a line crossing the ending of a stroke. Serif fonts like Times New Roman are time-honored standard fonts that convey seriousness and formality. Sans serif fonts like Calibri and Helvetica do not have the extra line and convey a more dynamic, contemporary feel to your text.