The Difference Between Important File Types

A common problem I have run into as a graphic designer is not having the correct file
type for a project. There are file types for specific uses, such as for printing, digital
applications, and even as specific as a file used for embroidery. Using the wrong file
type can lead to an end product that is not satisfactory to the client. As a graphic
designer, it is important that I not only use correct file types for client projects but that I
also provide my clients with the knowledge on how to use their logos and creative
materials correctly.

First, it is important to know there are two main image file formats: raster and vector.
Raster format images are made by a grid of pixels. If the image is stretched beyond its
pixel capacity, it can leave you with a blurry and low-quality image. Unlike the raster
formats, vector format is a type in which the images are not formed in pixels. Instead,
vector format uses points, lines, and curves leaving the images more flexible and able
to be sized accordingly.

Common raster formats include JPG (joint photographic experts group) and PNG
(portable network graphics). The quality of a JPG image is directly proportionate to the
size of the image file. This is the reason it is essential to check the resolution of photos
before using them. Using a low-resolution picture or logo on your website or social
media can make your business look unprofessional. A PNG is different than a JPG
because you can compress the file size without compromising the image quality.
Another differing factor is PNG’s transparency capabilities, meaning it can have a
transparent background. You cannot use PNGs for printing, but they work well with web
pages and social media graphics. Having a white box around your logo on a graphic
with a different color background is a design rule you don’t want to break.

Common vector files include PDF (portable document format) and EPS (encapsulated
postscript). PDFs are commonly used because they retain formatting across all digital
platforms. They save the images, fonts, and layout from any editing program and turn
them into an easy-to-read document. PDFs can be shared, printed, and viewed by
anyone. An EPS file is typically used to transport an image from one application to
another. EPS files can be edited and opened in any kind of design software. EPS files
can be scaled to any size and are used for producing high-quality graphics for print.

While this may be confusing, it is important to know the difference and use file types
properly. If you are working with a graphic designer for the first time, you may need to
be prepared to provide them with the following file types for your logo. If you don’t have
them, you may have to hunt them down or realize that the designer may have to remake
your logo from scratch. And if you’ve worked with a graphic designer in the past, they
can provide you with all the file types you need to be successful.


Maddie Abrigg is a Graphic Designer at 898 Marketing. As a member of our design team, Maddie is responsible for fulfilling design needs for us and our clients, including logos, ads, digital and social elements, rebranding initiatives, and more. Maddie is a native of  Canfield, Ohio, and a graduate of Mount Union, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Graphic Design and Studio Art.