When should you use which file types? If you’re new to the world of design and online marketing, it can feel a bit overwhelming to understand when to use which files. This overview should help you with choosing the proper file type for your next project.
When posting online, you don’t need as high of resolution as print, so these are the file types typically found online:
JPEG/JPG – This is mainly used for photographs. Use this file type when there is a solid background. It’s important to reduce the file size as much as possible without losing quality so that it doesn’t take too long to download!
GIF – These files usually have a smaller file size and are used more for logos, line art, or graphic elements. They can also be animated! However, they only hold 256 colours, so it wouldn’t work well for photographs. I wouldn’t advise using it for gradients, but it does have the ability to have a transparent background.
PNG – This file type has the ability to have a transparent background. So if you have a white logo to place on a website with a blue background, you could use a PNG with a transparent background so that the blue shows through.
SVG – This file is able to scale large without any loss of quality, and they are usually smaller in file size than JPEG, PNG oro GIF graphics. They are vector based files, so that means they are great for logos, illustrations, and diagrams. SVGs also have the ability to become an animation through programming.
It’s important that your files are high-resolution and print-ready in order to get a beautiful printed piece.
JPEG/JPG – These file types can also be used for print, but you will need to make sure that it is high-resolution (at least 300dpi), otherwise your print may turn out fuzzy. I would suggest using JPEGs only when printing photographs.
PDF – These documents can be just one page or multiple pages. They can also be reduced in file size and shared on the web if needed. PDFs are usually created in other software programs and then exported to the settings needed. A PDF will print crisp lines, text and photographs.
EPS – This file type contains vector-based images, which is usually used for logos, drawings, and text. The data is made from precise lines, so it always prints clear and crisp.
AI – This file type also contains vector-based images, and is used for the same reasons as an EPS, but it’s limited to only being usable by Adobe Illustrator, while EPS files can be opened by many applications.
Are there any other file types that you’re unsure how to use?