File Types Explained

There are many different file types, why would you choose one over another, and what are the differences? The files types explained in this article are the most relevant to when you’re dealing with your graphic designer.

EPS

An EPS or Encapsulated Post Script file is the standard logo file.

The benefit of an EPS file is that it is a vector image and is made up of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygons and therefore can be magnified infinitely without loss of quality.

It also has a transparent background so that the logo can be placed in any situation without a problem.

You may not be able to place an EPS file in documents such as Word or Powerpoint files. Always try the EPS first but if your software doesn’t accept it you will be forced to use an alternative format.

AI

An AI file can only be created or edited within Adobe Illustrator. This vector type file is best used for creating logos, illustrations and graphics, we then export this as an EPS and use this as the final logo file.

AI file types are the default output of the program and store all information and settings, such as layers and masks, which have been applied.

Your designer will keep this in case they ever need to edit the image in the future.

PSD

A PSD file is the default output from Adobe Photoshop. The file enables users to layer image data. The PSD file can easily be edited by users and implemented in a number of productions including website templates. Vector files cannot be exported from PSD, as the image is already made up of pixels this is considered a Raster file.


PDF

PDFs (Portable Document Format) are highly flexible and widely used.

Depending on how the file is exported it can contain typefaces, layers, raster and vector files, as well as text. PDF files are capable of containing both vector and bitmap content editable by Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. PDFs are widely favored by most designers and printers.

JPG

You will most likely be familiar with a JPG (or JPEG) image type. JPGs are compressed image files and can be easily placed within Word and other software programs, it is a raster image. JPGs will have a background fill (such as white) and will be a square or rectangle shape.

While they can be scaled down without losing quality, if you scale them up they will become pixelated – edges will look jagged and detail will be lost.

JPGs can be saved at small file sizes, so they’re ideal for using on screen such as websites, email signatures, and Powerpoint presentations.

PNG

PNG files are similar to a JPG, but allow for a transparent background, making it ideal for placing on top of a pattern, photograph, or a different colour.

However, they do have the same limitations as they are also pixel based. PNG files are great for using on screen and online.

PNG files can be saved at small sizes for fast loading on websites.

GIF

GIFs are a compressed image, with an extremely limited to display of no more than 256 colors. This makes photographs and any graphic with a gradient look low quality, while images with few colors can benefit from the small file size. GIFs also allow for transparency and animation.


TIFF

A TIFF or TIF file is a high quality bitmap file type. TIFF raster files are larger than JPG, therefore they would be of no use on a website due to the length of time they would take to load up on the page.

As with the JPG, PNG & BMP while TIFFs can be scaled down without losing quality, but if you scale them up they will become pixelated – edges will look jagged and detail will be lost.

A high-resolution (300 dpi) TIFF is ideal to be used for high-quality printing and everyday printing, such as letterheads printed from Microsoft Word.

Your graphic designer should have a good understanding of these files types at the very least, and will be able to provide you with the most suitable file type for the intended use.

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