The ultimate breakdown of graphic file types

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Here at, once a project has been approved and finalized, we send out a .zip file with various file types. Sometimes the client does not understand which is used for what, to help, here is a breakdown of each of them.

file type zip1: .zip. Lets start off with the file type we send all of the elements in, a .zip file. A zip file is a folder containing elements, that has been compressed. This helps to save file space and makes the files easier to send either via email or A zip file can be easily opened on your computer by saving it, then double clicking on the archive.

file type breakdown ai2: .ai. Ai files are the source files for our logo’s. We design all of our logo’s in Adobe Illustrator using vectors. What are vectors? good question, I can tell you what they are not..pixels. This means you can make them as big as the moon, and they will never loose quality or pixelate. These files can be modified, and are usually used for professional printing, such as business cards and brochures. Ai files can only be opened in Adobe Illustrator.

photoshop psd3: .psd. Psd files are generated by Adobe Photoshop. The difference between this and an ai file is the way it is made. Psd’s are exported as pixels form the Ai file. This means, if used incorrectly, it is susceptible to pixelating and loss of quality. We do, however, export them at a large size, and at 300dpi. Photoshop psd files are layered, which means they can be easily edited within Photoshop to change colors etc. Not recommended for printing.

pdf file type4: .pdf. Pdf files are vector based, but can be opened without the use of Adobe Illustrator using adobe acrobat reader * note: you wont be able to modify this file without adobe Illustrator. This is the most commonly used file in printing, the likes of vistaprint and moo accept this file for printing as will your local printer.

jpg file type icon5: .jpg. Jpg files are the most common and well know graphic file types around. These are the files you upload to Instagram and Pinterest, and use in word docs etc. These are pixel based images, and can range from quality and resolution. If your file is outputted at 300dpi, it can be printed, but we all ways recommend using vector files.

png file type breakdown6: .png. Png file types are mainly used on websites. We output them at 72dpi (website standard resolution) so it is not print quality. Png images are very flexible as they are output with a transparent background. If a png is to be used on a website, they need to be output at the exact pixel size and a 72dpi, if you make it bigger or smaller, it will loose quality, or become blurred.

Hopefully, this guide has explained how each file we send out is most commonly used, we know if can get complicated, so a finishing note, only open and use the ai and psd if you are a professional, you wouldn’t want to ruin your logo, for everyday use, the jpg should cover everything you need.If you found this post helpful, please share it!