As a graphic designer, print designer and web designer, I typically provide design elements suitable for either web or print for final output. I can’t tell you how many times we get phone calls and e-mails from a frantic customer as they are struggling with opening one of the provided files or in some cases they have no idea exactly what the file kind is for. Now, I am not getting all critical about clients – because graphic design file format landscape can be confusing. I hope to do my part and clear that up with this post about graphic file formats.
Normally the files types the average individual will not have the ability to open are the files with the extensions AI, EPS, and PSD. Each of these 3 file types require an unique software program utilized by designers, printers, signs manufacturers, and promotional product makers.
You will find below a short list of some of the more common file extensions you might come across when working with a graphic designer, exactly what each of them stand for, and exactly how the file format is utilized.
There are mainly two different types of file formats – bitmap and vector drawing. Bitmaps is one of the most basic of the formats with each image made up of individual pixels. This format is most frequently used with photos and images that consist of subtle shading.
There is nevertheless one problem with bitmap images, scaling up the image. This is because by scaling up the individual pixels become more pronounced, causing a jagged look. There is the capability to improve this using a technique called anti-alias which acts to smooth the graphic, however this still will result in a jagged look as the image is scaled up once more. This once again could be improved with enhancing the image resolution, however this triggers the trouble of making the file larger and therefore slower to load.
Programs that produce such files are Adobe Photoshop, Paint Store Pro and Corel Image Paint, with file formats consisting of BMP, GIF, JPEG, JPG, PNG, PICT (Macintosh), PCX, TIFF and PSD. The most popular out of these formats for websites are Gif and JPEG, the former since of it capability to press files and as a result speed up loading time, the JPEG since it allows a complete variety of colors.
Due to the fact that they are made up of courses, Vector images differ. This makes them much smoother and clearer as the image I scaled up and is what true-type fonts make use of to guarantee that they lose no quality with changes in size or resolution. It is for this reason that vector drawings are utilized for page design / kind / line art and illustration.
Programs that produce these types of files are Macromedia Freehand, Deneba’s Canvas and Abode Illustrator, the file formats include.
The EPS format is a file type that permits a graphic application that cannot read the file kinds above and is a format that is likely to be most requested for illustration and line art since of the capability to scale the work with no lose of specific.
Ideally this makes the frightening world of graphic file formats a bit more clear and if your graphic designer is of any quality then as quickly as you mention a format they should know exactly what you’re discussing and will be very impressed if you do too!
Common Graphic Design File Formats:
- AI: Adobe Illustrator
AI files are vector files used by designers and commercial 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, promotional product companies, silk screeners, banner and sign companies, and other third party creatives.
- EPS: Encapsulated Postscript
EPS files are most commonly used by designers to transfer an image or artwork, generally a vector file into another application. Vector-based EPS files are scalable to any size. 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, promotional product companies, silk screeners, banner and sign companies, and other third party creatives.
- PDF: Portable Document Format
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 Reader software. Some PDF files can be used for commercial, digital, and/or desktop printing.
- PSD: Photoshop Document
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 in layers.
- JPG: Joint Photographic Experts Group
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.
- GIF: Graphics Interchange Format
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.
- TIF: Tagged Image File Format
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. Though large in size, TIF formats are considered to be the most reliable format for high quality images.
- PNG: Portable Network Graphics
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.