PDF, EPS, JPG, PNG

File Formats Demystified

Pixels, Vector, Raster, and Bitmap… Oh My! So What's the Difference Between JPG, PNG, and PDF?

How to know what File Formats to use

File Formats Demystified: File formats are just part of digital media’s ‘nature’. Below is a simple list of files types to help you understand the formats that you will most likely encounter (and what they are best used for).

Page Contents:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • EPS files
  • PDF documents
  • SVG Graphics
  • JPG images

Why can't we have just one file type?

Each file type has a specific purpose and is optimized for that said purpose. Websites use digital screens and don’t need the same high-quality resolution as a large glossy magazine. Files contain specific things that serve specific purposes.

document icon - Adobe Illustrator file

Adobe Illustrator (graphic-file.ai)

A vector-based graphic made of shapes. Mostly used for print, this is a scalable format which can be used for any professional purpose. Used for: Brochures, Logos, Apparel

DIGITAL • PRINT • WEB

Encapsulated PostScript (graphic-file.eps)

This was the original vector file format. Still in use today, anyone who can work with a PDF and AI can work with an EPS. Mostly used for print like .AI and .PDF and best for embroidery, t-shirts, etc and printing where scale is needed. Used for: Brochures, Logos, Apparel

DIGITAL • PRINT • WEB

Portable Document Format (document-name.pdf)

Adobe created this wonderful file-type to allow us to maintain layout and design across all platforms. We use PDF files to show a finished product. It is never a good idea to edit a PDF, or to save a bitmap image into a PDF. Used for: Designed Documents, Logos, eBooks

DIGITAL • PRINT • WEB

Scalable Vector Graphic (graphic-file.svg)

Just like an .EPS and .AI, but using HTML-like code, and mostly used for web. The perfect use is for logos that can scale on websites for desktop and mobile. SVG can also be used for mobile apps, websites, and print. Used for: Logos, Scalable Graphics

DIGITAL • PRINT • WEB

Joint Photographic Experts Group (image-name.jpg)

Websites, slideshows, presentations, digital. The JPEG standard (ISO/IEC 10918) was created in 1992 (latest version, 1994) as the result of a process that started in 1986. Most commonly used for websites and slideshows, where there’s a need to have the background show through. Best for logos and graphics. Not needed for photos. Used for: Logos, Scalable Graphics

DIGITAL • PRINT • WEB

Website Files​ Recap:

  • Convert the image to 72 DPI and RGB color
  • Scale down to 1024 pixels wide
  • For photos, use PNG or JPG

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