AdVocab demystifies industry jargon to drive diversity

The encyclopedic tool has been launched by FCB in partnership with D&AD’s New Talent programmes Shift and New Blood

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


The advertising industry is often guilty of assuming that everyone knows the industry’s many TLAs and technical terminology. To break down this language barrier, which many young people starting out in the industry face, FCB London has launched AdVocab, an encyclopedic tool, created in partnership with D&AD’s New Talent programmes Shift and New Blood. 

AdVocab lists hundreds of words and phrases often heard in the industry to demystify industry jargon and break down barriers for new talent.  

The tool features words and phrases that people might hear when entering the industry, such as ‘creative tissue’, ‘carousel’, and ‘bleed’. Each word is displayed with a graphic and definition to help new starters understand the industry jargon which they might not have come across before. The words and phrases on the site are constantly evolving, with visitors able to add their own submissions if they aren’t already there.

The tool has been devised by FCB London Art Director Amy Bland and Copywriter Sacha Burke, who were both new to the industry in the time of the pandemic and getting to grips with their new jobs during lockdown. The pair were inspired to make the tool after having to ask their colleagues about many words and phrases that would pop up during this time that they had never come across before. While working from home, having an easy tool to refer back to can help new starters gain confidence without feeling like they are having to ask ‘silly questions’. 

FCB London Designer, Dante Attuoni, who was also new to advertising at the time, helped to create a unique illustration for each word to help simplify the vocabulary. 

Explaining why they launched the tool, the trop explained: “The industry has its own vocabulary that no one teaches you – you can study advertising but you’re not going to pick up all of the language at Uni. Things move so fast and there are bigger questions than, ‘what does burn mean?’. We started making our own list of words and then realized how much it might help other people, so they don’t feel as silly as we did asking for a definition of something they may not understand.” 

As part of the launch, FCB is encouraging creatives across the industry to use AdVocab and its design toolkit to submit any new words they have been stumped by in the past. They are invited to design their own illustrations and share on social media to help grow the encyclopedia and reassure newcomers that they are not alone in their confusion. 

Through a partnership with D&AD, AdVocab will be a tool for D&AD Shift students in London, New York, Sydney, Berlin and Hamburg as the award-winning night school provides free industry-led tuition for self-taught creatives entering the advertising, design and creative industry from outside traditional pathways. 

The AdVocab tool can be viewed for free here.