Design 101

DIGITAL FILE TYPES

And Which Ones To Use

RASTER vs VECTOR

RASTER

• Made up of tiny square pixels aligned to a grid

• A high number of possible colors  (color depth)

• Not up-scaleable without a loss in image quality

• Typically larger files sizes (for photos)

• Difficult to accurately convert to vector image

.JPG/JPEG

Joint Photographic Experts Group

• Most likely the file type you are most familiar with

• Is not recommended for print production

• Typically used for high quality print photography and low resolution online use

• Does not support transparent backgrounds - the background is always white (unless filled with color)

• Will lose quality if scaled over its  pixel width

• Great file format to compress  photo images

.PNG

Portable Network Graphic

• Designed for transferring images on the Internet - best used for text, graphics, and online use

• Is not recommended for print production

• Supports transparent backgrounds

• Will lose quality if scaled over its  pixel width

.GIF

Graphics Interchange Format

• Defined as a lossless format for image files that supports both animated and static images

• Limited colors

• Supports transparent backgrounds

• Supports reduced file size

• Used specifically for online use

.PSD

Photoshop Document

• Files that are created and saved in Adobe Photoshop

• Supports transparent backgrounds

• Can store multiple layers of photos, graphics, text, and filters for  modifying purposes

• Used for editing mainly raster images

• This is the file type most designers create when actively editing photos

• Will lose quality if scaled over its  pixel width

VECTOR

• Made up of geometric curves and fill-ins

• Best used on print and large scaled artwork

• Able to be infinity scaled without loss in quality

• Transparent background

• Typically smaller file sizes  (for simple images like logos)

• Not suitable for complex graphics (rasterization may  be needed)

• Easy to convert to  raster image

• Best for professional printing

.EPS

Encapsulated Postscript

• Used for logos and  uncomplicated vectors

• Is easily editable and is not limited to a single design program - unlike Ai files

• Perfect for large format printing

• Supports transparent backgrounds

• Scalable without loss in quality

.SVG

Scalable Vector Graphic

• Designed for scalable web use

• Is easily editable and is not limited to a single design program - unlike Ai files

• Supports transparent backgrounds

• Speaks more code languages than other files (PNG, GIF, or JPG) and uses shapes numbers, and coordinates to create graphics in browers

• Supports interactivity and animation

• Primarily for online use, but can be used for print

.Ai

Adobe Illustrator

• Files that are created and saved in Adobe Illustrator

• Supports transparent backgrounds

• This is the file type most designers create original artwork and logos in

• Used for illustrations and graphics that are mainly vector based

• Can store multiple layers for  modifying purposes

• Scalable without loss in quality

.PDF

Portable Document Format

• File type many of us have worked with on a regular basis

• Mainly used to emailing and sharing documents without loss in quality

• Can be created and edited in many different programs with viewing versatility

• Most often what you send to a  printing company

• Can store multiple layers for  modifying purposes

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