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A Cheat Sheet to File Formats

Is your designer using all these fancy names and random letters? Trust me, I get it all the time!

I created this little cheat sheet with a mixed of technical terms and definitions but also explanations anyone can understand!

Terms to know:

Raster: Composed of pixels on a grid where each pixel is assigned a color value. This is typically a flat image and is hard to manipulate.

Vector: Small graphics that use mathematical calculations to display images. Can be manipulated without losing the quality.

File Types:

Jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

  • This is great for basic pictures

  • White background automatically added

  • Flat images that can not be editable

  • This is a rasterized graphic

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

  • This file has a transparent background

  • Best used with words and graphics with high resolution

  • Great for layering

  • This is a rasterized graphic

PDF (Portable Document File)

  • For print and viewing purposes

  • Often seen in business with documents

  • Easy to open on any computer

  • This is allows for raster and vector images depending on formatting

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

  • Vector files

  • These can be enlarged without losing the quality of the graphic

  • These are really important when using illustrations/graphics/logos for various things at various sizes

Ai (Adobe Illustrator)

  • Adobe Illustrator program files

  • Vector-based working file

Psd (PhotoShop Document)

  • Adobe Photoshop Program files

  • This format creates rasterized images

  • Often used by photographers for editing images

Ind (Indesign)

  • Indesign Program files

  • Great for large design documents

Hopefully list helps you the next time you get sent a file or need to have it in a specific format for a printer.