FILE TYPES

How & When to Use Each File Type

Have you ever worked with a designer only to have your brand new beautiful logo delivered to you in a format that ends in .ai or .eps? Ever tried to open up those files and confused why you can’t?

If you are not a designer (or in the print industry), the file names that end in .ai, .eps, and .psd can be very confusing. So I put together a list of all the file formats you have probably seen if you have ever worked with a designer and how the format is best used.

.AI: Adobe Illustrator (for print)
These are vector files used by designers and printers to generate files of different file formats and sizes. AI files can only be opened using Adobe Illustrator and may be created in layers. An AI file is one of the most preferred formats by printers and is completely scalable.
Best used for: logos, stationery, illustrations, clip art, etc.

.EPS: Encapsulated Postscript (for print)
EPS files are most commonly used by designers to transfer an image or artwork, generally a vector file into another application. EPS files can be opened using Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, or Adobe Photoshop. A vector EPS file is one of the most preferred formats by printers and is completely scalable.
Best used for: logos, stationery, illustrations, clip art, etc.

.PSD: Photoshop Document (for print)
The PSD file format, usually a raster format, contains graphics and photos created in Adobe Photoshop image editing software. Most commonly used by designer and printers. PSD files can only be opened using Photoshop and may be created and saved in layers. These files are usually very large in size since they are editable and can contain vector images.
Best used for: photographs, photo art, special effects, etc.

.TIF: Tagged Image File Format (for print)
The TIF/TIFF file format is most commonly used for storing images, photography, or art. TIF files are most commonly used in professional environments and commercial printing. The TIF format is the most widely supported format across all platforms. It is the standard format for high quality images.
Best used for: photographs, photo art, special effects, etc.

.PDF: Portable Document Format (for print and web)
A PDF is a universal file format that preserves/embeds the fonts, images, layout and graphics of any source document, regardless of the application used to create it. PDF files can be shared, viewed and printed by anyone with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software. PDF is extremely versatile and can be used for either proofing and printing high-resolution files.
PDF’s can be used for anything from photos to documents to manuals.

.JPG: Joint Photographic Experts Group (for web)
A JPG file is a compressed image file that does not support a transparent background. The level of compression in JPG files can vary in resolution with high quality for desktop printing, medium quality for web viewing and low quality for email. When compressed repeatedly the overall quality of a JPG image is reduced.
Best used for: photographs for the web or email.

.GIF: Graphics Interchange Format (for web)
GIF files are low resolution files most commonly used for web and email purposes. Almost all browsers can support the use of GIF files, which use a compression scheme to keep the file size small. GIF files can be created with a transparent background.
Best used for: logos or simple, limited-color graphics for web or email.

.PNG: Portable Network Graphics (for web)
The PNG file format is most commonly used for use online and on websites due to their low resolution. PNG files are bitmap images that employ lossless data compression, and like GIF files, PNG files can be created with a transparent background.
Best used for: logos or simple, limited-color graphics for web or email.

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