Graphic File Types Guide

PNG, JPG, GIF, Oh My…

What do all of these file extensions mean?

Below is some helpful information regarding various graphic file types and their uses. We provide many of these file types with our visual branding services. Please contact us if you have questions or need assistance with your files.

Graphic File Types Guide

AI – Original Illustrator File

This is the original artwork for your logo or graphic file. It is created in Adobe Illustrator and consists of vector art (line art) and specifies the colors of your logo or graphic file. Illustrator files can only be opened in Adobe Illustrator, utilizing the Illustrator version used to create it or a later version.

EPS – Encapsulated Postscript

Encapsulated postscript files are typically also ‘vector’ art and can be used for most graphic design purposes. EPS files can be scaled to very large sizes without losing clarity. They can be opened with design software like Photoshop or Illustrator, and can be ‘inserted’ or ‘placed’ into other documents (however other file formats may be better suited for this). The EPS graphic file format is recommended for any professionally printed artwork where you need to match the spot colors in the logo. When we  save EPS files, we save them “down” to v10 so they can be used by most software.

PSD – Original Illustrator File

This is the extension for a Photoshop file, typically used to manipulate bitmap images and create simple graphic layouts. It can only be opened using Photoshop and may contain both bitmap images and/or vector illustrations and may have many “layers.”

JPG – JPEG

A JPEG is a compressed bitmap (made up of pixels or dots of color), providing up to high resolution (300 dpi/print quality) and a relatively small file size. Web JPG files are typically 72 dpi and appropriate for website use or documents that will be viewed online. A drawback to the .jpg file format is that it will always have a white rectangular background, so you cannot place the logo or artwork on a colored or patterned background.

TIF – Tagged Image File Format

TIFF or tagged image file format is a high resolution (300 dpi) uncompressed bitmap image. TIFF is recommended for CMYK (4-color process) print work.

PNG – Portable Network Graphics

PNGs or portable network graphics are also compressed bitmaps (made up of pixels or dots of color), providing up to high resolution (300 dpi/print quality) and a relatively small file size. The PNG file format differs from a JPG in that it can have a completely transparent background, so you CAN place the logo on a colored or patterned background. Web PNG files are typically 72 dpi and appropriate for website use or documents that will be viewed online.

INDD – InDesign File

InDesign is Adobe’s page layout software. Your graphic designer will likely use this software to design flyers, brochures and multi-page documents.

PDF – Portable Document Format

Adobe’s “portable document format” enables files that are not easily shared (such as original Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign files) to be easily saved to enable sharing and printing.

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format

Graphics interchange format, or GIF is a web only (72 dpi) bitmap image. GIF images may or may not have a transparent background and can also be animated.

Scaling Various Graphic File Types

All bitmap graphic image file types can be scaled down in size, but not up (without losing resolution/clarity).

Vector files are (or should be if they are created correctly) scalable either way. When scaling vector art, ensure your graphic designer has converted all outlines to strokes for consistent results.

A tip for transparent background graphic files

For the best results when placing a transparent graphic file type on a colored or patterned background, ask your graphic designer to create the file with a ‘matte’ that matches the background. This will ensure your logo or artwork looks clean on the background.

We are happy to answer your questions about graphic file types or assist with your brand development or graphic design projects.

Leave a Comment