When dealing with electronic art files, you may encounter a variety of different types of files that designers and printers need to produce quality work for you. Here are the most common types that you may need to know.
GIF: Stands for “Graphics Interchange Format”. It is a low-resolution file type used on the Internet, often used in simple animated graphics. GIFs should never be used in printed pieces. They are just too low rez.
PNG: Stands for Portable Network Graphics. PNG was created as an improved, non-patented replacement for GIFs. PNG images are used almost exclusively on the Internet, and are almost always low rez.
JPEG or JPG: The letters “JPEG” stand for “Joint Photographic Experts Group.” It is a standardized compression format that makes images smaller for quicker travel over a network. JPEG’s don’t mean low resolution, but they usually are. High rez JPEGS can be used in print.
TIF or TIFF: The letters stand for “Tagged Image File Format”. TIFFs can be universally placed into most programs on a MAC or PC. The TIFF format works well with photos and graphics that have dot patterns or screens. For quality printing, they must be scanned and saved at 300 dpi or higher. TIFF is a pretty universal format for printing.
EPS: Stands for “Encapsulated PostScript”. An EPS “embeds” the screen-view of the font into the file, but it will NOT include the printer-font information. When saving a file that includes fonts as an EPS, you must change the font to “paths.” The can be done in Illustrator or InDesign Adobe Software. If someone asks for Vector Art, they usually mean an EPS. EPS files are almost always high rez, and they are fairly easy to manipulate.
PDF: The letters “PDF” stand for “Portable Document Format”, an increasingly popular way of preserving and transporting large, complicated files. PDF files can be high or low resolution. It simply depends on the person creating the file and what you’re using it for.
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