Maybe if Mulder and Scully explained this topic it will sound less supernatural or at least would be more suitable.
We will go over the types of files you need to produce the tangible and intangible elements to promote and grow your business. The name of these files may sound like alien names for many, but no, they don’t come from another planet, not even another galaxy.
They are among us freely traveling lots of KB (kilobytes) carrying many px (pixels) that together create the final designs used for branding and marketing. It is a new and foreign language for most people, but widely spoken among the graphic designer population in the printing and sign industry.
Don’t get me wrong, it is completely normal you don’t know this, I didn’t. Now you will know, because if you don’t have the right file most of the time you will be very limited on what you can do. Using this knowledge will help you save time and money.
Most people usually have .png or .jpeg; even .pdf files, but for me the best file is the vector file made with Adobe Illustrator (.ai of .eps) because this one can be enlarged or shrunk without distortion. There are graphic designers that work using Adobe Photoshop but these files (.psd or .tiff) are only good for printing or digital use.
Let’s go deeper with this information.
JPEG: stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group”. Perfect for websites and social media, make sure they are saved under RGB color system (for screens).
This the most common format used by cameras. We can save designs under this format, it is a compressed image, making it easy to share by email.
You can also use it for printing (saved under CMYK color system) but depending on its size might not be a good quality printing, it will get distorted even if it is high resolution (300 dpi or more) because when compressed the image losses details.
PNG: stands for “Portable Network Graphics”. Good for digital use or for some printing.
It is a compressed image, low resolution. Its main advantage is allowing the graphic designer to create images with a transparent background that can be overlaid on any design and kind of blend with it, like when you need to insert your logo on a flyer or other marketing collateral.
These files when compressed keep most of the details of the image in opposition to jpeg’s.
PDF: stands for “Portable Document Format”. These files are used for printing. Some logos are saved in this format directly created from Illustrator or Photoshop.
A high-resolution .pdf file may open with Illustrator and allow the graphic designer to pull out the image and work with it without getting distortions, however sometimes it doesn’t work due to the
way the file was saved in the first place.
This is mostly used for documents and not images, but if you have a design for printing this is the best format because digital printers can read it and their size is manageable to send it by email or upload it into online printing portals.
Vector File: whether it is an .ai (Adobe Illustrator Artwork) or .eps (encapsulated postscript) are the best files you can have for production for many reasons. The most important one is that it won’t get distorted when changing its size.
The other important characteristic of these files is that it is a vector, meaning, you have lines and contours that machines like a router or a plotter can read and produce tangible elements beyond printed objects. For example, dimensional signs or letters, die cut vinyl decals, electrical exterior signs, etc.
Once the vector file is done it can be saved as .jpeg, .png or .pdf in different sizes, resolutions and color systems. So much in one file!
Now you won’t be surprised when someone ask you for a specific type of file to design or produce any marketing collateral for you and your company.
Do you have all your files in order?
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Thank you for reading, until next entry