Graphic File Formats Explained

AI

Native Adobe Illustrator (AI) source file format. Vector based. Adobe Illustrator is currently the industry standard vector drawing software. This is our preferred choice.

EPS

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) language file format can contain both vector and bitmap graphics and is supported by virtually all graphic, illustration, and page-layout programs. EPS format is used to transfer PostScript-language artwork between applications.

EPS format supports Lab, CMYK, RGB, Indexed Colour, Duo tone, Grayscale, and Bitmap colour modes, but does not support alpha channels. EPS does support clipping paths. Desktop Colour Separations (DCS) format, a version of the standard EPS format, lets you save colour separations of CMYK images. To print EPS files, you must use a PostScript printer.

GIF

Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is the file format commonly used to display indexed-colour graphics and images in hypertext markup language (HTML) documents over the World Wide Web and other online services. GIF is an LZW-compressed format designed to minimize file size and electronic transfer time. GIF format preserves transparency in indexed-colour images; however, it does not support alpha channels.

JPEG

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format is commonly used to display photographs and other continuous-tone images in hypertext markup language (HTML) documents over the World Wide Web and other online services. JPEG format supports CMYK, RGB, and Grayscale colour modes, but does not support alpha channels. Unlike GIF format, JPEG retains all colour information in an RGB image but compresses the file size by selectively discarding data.

A JPEG image is automatically decompressed when opened. A higher level of compression results in lower image quality, and a lower level of compression results in better image quality. In most cases, the maximum quality option produces a result indistinguishable from the original.

PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a flexible, cross-platform, cross-application file format. Based on the PostScript imaging model, PDF files accurately display and preserve fonts, page layouts, and both vector and bitmap graphics. In addition, PDF files can contain electronic document search and navigation features such as electronic links.

PDF files are created using applications like Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Illustrator, and can contain multiple pages and images.

PNG

Ideal for use in Microsoft Word documents.

Developed as a patent-free alternative to GIF, Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format is used for lossless compression and for display of images on the World Wide Web. Unlike GIF, PNG supports 24-bit images and produces background transparency without jagged edges; however, some Web browsers do not support PNG images. PNG format supports RGB, indexed-colour, grayscale, and Bitmap-mode images without alpha channels. PNG preserves transparency in grayscale and RGB images.

TIFF

Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF) is used to exchange files between applications and computer platforms. TIFF is a flexible bitmap image format supported by virtually all paint, image-editing, and page-layout applications. Also, virtually all desktop scanners can produce TIFF images.

TIFF format supports CMYK, RGB, Lab, indexed-colour, and grayscale images with alpha channels and Bitmap-mode images without alpha channels.

There are lots of other graphic file formats but we have only covered the ones we think are the most popular.