Download resource here:


Glossary of Design Terms

Design terms can seem like jargon to non-designers, which can lead to miscommunication. This resource helps clarify the meanings of common design terms through definitions and examples.


This reference guide of common design terms includes:

  • Definitions of the terms and their relevance to global health

  • Illustrative examples to contextualize the terms

  • Synonyms and similar words for each term

How was this resource developed?

The glossary was developed by engaging with a range of global health practitioners and designers who provided input regarding the definitions of terms and examples that help explain each of them.

Next steps:

We view these tools as evolving resources that continue to be developed and improved. Over time, more design terms and examples can be added to this glossary to make it more comprehensive. Additionally, a similar glossary can be developed for other technical fields working in global health so that when designers work with experts from those areas, they too will have a reference resource. Such resources, we hope, can help project teams collaborate with one another more effectively.

List of Sources:

  • D-REV

  • Dalberg Design

  • MFA Design for Social Innovation - School of Visual Arts


  • M4ID

  • National Institute of Design (NID)