As designers, we are constantly working with all kinds of file types. We've become crazy familiar with how they all work and where they're are best used. Sometimes when we hand off or ask for files from clients, we take our knowledge for granted.
So to help make it a bit easier for you, we've put together a simple guide that tells you what each file type is and when you should use it.
.EPS files are a designers best friend. An .EPS file is largely used for logos and graphic elements. This file type can be as small or as big as needed and will still look high quality, making it the best choice for printing. While you'll rarely ever save a file as an .EPS yourself, this is the best file type to hand over any brand assets to a designer working on a project with you.
Use this file type when you're sending an editor of a magazine your logo for the article you're going to be mentioned in.
Although it cannot be scaled without losing resolution (aka quality), .PNG’s are great. These are what we prefer for file being used online. Due to their smaller file size, they load faster on the web and still look ‘sharp’ to the eye when viewed on a computer monitor. .PNG files are also useful because they have transparent backgrounds.
Use this file type when you're uploading your logo to your new Squarespace site.
These are the most common image types many are familiar with. They can be easily placed within many well-known programs. However, they don’t resize super well and have a white background fill. They can be used in print or via web - however, they're not the top choice.
Use this file type when you need to share your logo or an image with someone who isn't as familiar with file types and most likely just needs it for reference.
A .PDF file can be opened on most any computer while preserving the fonts, images, layout and graphics of any source document, regardless of the application used to create it. This means that they can be shared, viewed and printed by anyone with Adobe Acrobat (which is most everyone). Because it preserves all of the design elements, this is another great option for printing. It's also great for sharing documents across emails. If you're unsure if who you're sending the file to is a PC or Mac user, they should be able to open a .PDF and see exactly what you see without a problem.
Use this file type when you're getting your fancy new brochure printed to hand out at an event.
This file type is used for images (aka photographs). .TIFF files are a standard in the printing and publishing industry. If you are working with a high-resolution image for print, a .TIFF file is recommended.
Use this file type when you're wanting to print one of your favorite photographs really big to hang above your fireplace.
Maybe my favorite of them all! This file type has become incredibly popular on the internet in the past several years, so you probably recognize this one. A .GIF is a low-resolution file used on the web and emails. They're very small files, but what makes them unique is that they allow the image to move.
Use this file type when you want to send things like this to your best friend every Monday to describe how your day is going.