Terms and Glossary for Design

Terms below may not be technically defined. Since we cover different software systems and processes, we have tried to develop a glossary of terms that is applicable to the most common process (system) that we are utilizing, making notes when things differentiate.

Scalable Vector Graphic

Data that is stored in points, lines and pathways allowing the user to size (scale) an image without losing clarity. Typically for storing shape information not photo imagery


Data that is stored in pixels. (Somewhat opposite of SVG). When scaled, pixels may increase or decrease but the pathways do not change with scaling. Possibly produces unclear image, typically seen in jpg format

Portable Network Graphic

Graphic that holds data and is able to be scaled without much degradation


Add a small outline to the graphic. In cutting terms, the cut around the graphic portion that may or may not be in direct relation to the graphic itself


Details the size of outline around the graphic

Shadow Layer

While commonly used as in offset or stroke, a shadow layer typically is a stroke around the graphic that may not be consistent producing a shadow like effect

Kiss Cut

Typically the defines the depth of cutting meaning that the top layer is cut while the back layer remains intact (opposite of die cut)

Contour Cut

Cutting the graphic right at the print line int he shape of the print. In Cricut Design, contour means removing cut lines.


Applying attributes to multiple graphics at the same time.


In Cricut terminology, it applies to digitally pinning a design on the mat so that it cuts at that specific location.


A way of stacking graphic elements in a design program. Different programs have different attributes applied to layering.

Die Cut

Cutting an element in a defined way (typically cut all the way through)

RIP Software

Professional/ commercial grade machines typically do no just come with their software. The expectation is that you will use some other system for design, then you will have to separately purchase RIP software tat will talk to the machine. It will only talk to the machine.It typically will not design. If you are buying used equipment, you must know about RIP software. Licenses can add thousands to the cost.


The nodes are the points that the cutter makes a turn, it might just to add a slight angle. (These do not show in some systems.)


The grouping of nodes that forms a design. The object is typically to close the path so that the cut is complete. An open path would leave an incomplete cut.