It is important to know your file formats. Why is it important?
It is important so that you can use the correct file in the correct situation. More often than not as a designer I come across people living in our technology fuelled word without any knowledge and understanding of file formats. This is because it can be difficult to find simple and to the point information on file formats without being overwhelmed with an overload of information.
When it comes to your business, it’s imperative to have a basic understanding of file formats. When you send a file to a printer or web developer, you can maximise time by having the correct file format ready to go. This way you wont get the annoying call, informing you that the image you provided was in the wrong format. This is also the case when uploading your business logo to social media profiles. When you upload images to your website, you want them to look sharp and clear. To have these pleasing results, you again, need to have selected the right file format.
To make life easier and help your business run smoother I have created a brief summary of the 7 file types you need to know. You can also download our free PDF Black Bear Creative File Format Guide.
1. AI – Adobe Illustrator
These files are commonly used by designers for logos, illustrations and print. They are vector files that can be scaled to infinity and beyond in size, then reduced to small sizes without loss in detail. These files are accepted by printers.
2. EPS – Encapsulated postscript
EPS files contain vector and bitmap graphics, similar to the AI file. However, they are also great when transferring images into another application (indesign, photoshop). These files are commonly used as print files.
3. INDD – Adobe Indesign
Another Adobe based file which is commonly used in multi page publications, such as magazine, newspapers and booklets. If you’re in the magazine industry your designer will most likely use this file format.
4. JPEG – Joint photographic experts group
Probably the most well known file format. This is a compressed image that does not have a transparent background. This can be used for both print and web depending on the quality of the image. An important thing you need to know is that increasing and decreasing this file type will reduce its quality. For example if you grab an image from the net which these images will usually be 72 dpi-144dpi (dots per inch). When using an image with a low dots per inch for a high quality print job at 300 dpi, you will end up with poor image quality after print. To avoid this you need a hi-res -300 dpi or better image from an online stock photo supplier (Shutterstock) or the original jpeg - TIFF file format from the photographer.
5. PDF – Portable Document Format
The PDF is the universal file format that everyone loves. Why? Because it can be used for many purposes, it preserves fonts, images, layouts and graphics. They can be used for print and optimised for web when creating online forms and documents.
6. PNG - Portable Network Graphics
These files are used for online media and websites. They can have transparent backgrounds and can be optimised for quicker image load times for your website. Please note that like the jpeg these are normally low-resolution files and commonly used as web files, so keep them away from your print jobs.
7. PSD – Photoshop Document
These are the industry standard bitmap graphics program used by designers and printers. They contain photographs and design layers. PSD’s are commonly used with edited/manipulated images or for front end website design. Editing logos in the PSD format is not recommended.
So hopefully you are now an expert on the different file formats commonly used & know exactly the benefits of each. This can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
For more resources check out these links:
If you have a question email Black Bear Creative at firstname.lastname@example.org