File types explained

Providing the right file types to your service providers, whether that be print or web, is incredibly important when trying to get a quality message out to your audience. The means of production should dictate what types of files you are sending your service provider. Below I’ve provided a brief explanation of what types you should be sending to get your project moving.

Common files for print production

  • PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format developed by Adobe Systems that can be universally downloaded and viewed by any computer that has the Adobe Acrobat. The PDF is an open source format that preserves and embeds fonts, images, layouts of any source document.
  • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript file) is a vector file format most commonly used with logos. It can be re-sized without losing image quality. The EPS is used to transfer PostScript-language artwork between applications.
  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is widely supported raster image format and works in almost any program. It produces a higher quality image than a JPG or PNG, but is not a vector format like EPS. It is widely used among publishing industries and photographers.
  • PSD (Photoshop document) is a native Adobe Photoshop file format that is a raster file made up of tiny dots. Meaning, when you enlarge or reduce the size significantly, you will lose quality.
     
     Bonus Files
  • WORKING FILES (I.E. InDesign, Quark) – Some print providers prefer to have the working files on-hand when processing your projects for print. This allows them to make minor changes that might impact the quality of the final piece, such as spine sizes and definite fold adjustments. Additionally, if you happen to have a minor fix that needs corrected, instead of sending over an entirely new file, the printer is able to make those changes for you and replace just that single page in the Raster Image Processor (RIP). Often times, when a completely new file is sent over, the printer is forced to start from scratch, adding more time and money to your bill.

Common files for the web or digitally viewed only graphics

  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a raster file best suited for web-based designs because their compressed sizes load quickly. JPG images lose some quality but are great to use for emails, banner designs or anything web-based.
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a web-based file that does not lose quality when compressed. PNG files were created to improve on the quality of GIF files and are best used for the web.
  • BMP (Bitmap) is a file format that is commonly standard for DOS and Windows-compatible computers. BMPs support RGB, Indexed Color, Grayscale and Bitmap color modes.
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