| What File Type Should I Use for My Image?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

With more employees working with creatvive teams int he business world, it is becoming more important to make sure you understand the file types you need for different media applications. Designers typically take this knowledge for granted because eat, sleep , and breathe these graphic types all the time. But for those who don't, here is some insight into file types and the applications they can be used for:

  • .JPG
    Use for both web and print applications. JPG images do not support transparent backgrounds, meaning that if your art has a transparent background, and you save your native file as a JPG, the image will contain a white background. Benefits of this file are that it supports smaller file sizes. Color modes for this file type are HEX (web), RGB (screen), CMYK (4 color process print), and Pantone color models. JPG images does not support layering within the file. This is a raster file type meaning that it is pixel-based. The image is made up of tiny pixels of color and, when seen at a reasonably small distance, render a crisp image.

  • .PNG
    Also used for both web and print applications, PNG images support transparent backgrounds. A disadvantage of this file is that it requires larger file sizes due to the fact that it contains transparent pixel data. Color modes for this file type are HEX (web), RGB (screen), CMYK (4 color process print), and Pantone color models. This is also a raster file type like the JPG.

  • .TIFF
    Use for both print applications. TIF images support transparent backgrounds but this file size is larger than a JPG or PNG. Color modes for this file type are RGB (screen), CMYK (4 color process print), and Pantone color models. The benefit of this file type is that it allows for layering in the artwork, meaning that it could be opened in Adobe Photoshop and separate layers could be edited within the file and resaved. This is also a raster file type like the JPG and PNG.

  • .EPS
    Use for both print, embroidery, signage, foil stamping, embossing, diecutting, and screen printing applications. EPS files support transparent backgrounds and this file size is smaller than JPG, PNG, and TIFF files. Benefits of this file type is that it allows for layering in the artwork, but more importantly, this is a vector file. Vector files are files that are made with points and paths rather than pixels. This means that they use mathematical algorithms to render themselves. For example, a square shape in EPS format would be made up of 4 points (corners) and 4 paths (lines) to be created. A benefit of vector graphics is that they can be scaled up to any size without any loss of image quality. Color modes for this file type are CMYK (4 color process print), and Pantone color models.

  • .SVG
    Use for web applications. SVG files support transparent backgrounds and this file size is small since it is also a vector graphic like the EPS file. Benefits of this file type is that it is it can be used on the web but also be scaled up without loss of image quality. Color modes for this file type are HEX (web), and RGB (screen) color models.

Hopefully this helps clarify distinctioned between these basic graphic file types. Happy designing!