tips & tricks
Knowing what file types you need for your branding files is important for any business owner. Make sure when you hire a designer that you’re getting all the tools that you’ll need to successfully use the branding they’ve created. You’ll also want to make sure to have a basic understanding of the file types. Having the right tools and understanding when to use them will save you time and money down the road!
You may have heard of vector files before, but maybe unsure of what “vector” really means and why it’s important. Technically, a vector file is a file made of paths and mathematical curves, instead of pixels. Okay, so what does that mean in English? It means that it’s a file that can scale to any size without becoming pixelated – so important! It’s crucial that you have a vector file (usually AI or EPS) from your designer since you (or any designer) can create all other file types from a vector file.
Vector File Types- .ai, .eps, .pdf, .indd
There are vector files (our new best friends) and raster files. Raster files are made of pixels, and therefore should only be used for the sizing they were created. If a raster file is enlarged above the intended size, it can start to look pixelated or blurry.
Raster File Types – .png, .jpeg, .psd, .gif, .raw, .tiff
Files come in two different color modes – RGB and CMYK. RGB is a color mode for digital, while CMYK is for print. It’s important to understand the difference and use accordingly, as using the incorrect file type can morph colors. Make sure to let your designer know if a file will be used for print or digital or both, so they can provide you with the correct file type.
When you get branding from a designer, I always recommend getting the files in the “Fab Five” business file types – EPS, PDF, AI, PNG, and JPG. Although you may not personally use each type, having them will give you a tool belt of branding, ready for any scenario.
EPS File – This is a vector file (remember those?). EPS files have unlimited scalability – no matter how large or small you make it, it won’t look pixelated or blurry. This makes it great for print and digital alike. Despite the image preview, EPS files usually have a transparent background.
PDF File – A vector file, often the most universal file type for sharing graphics. PDF files can be viewed without design software, but can be used by a designer to make manipulations if needed.
AI File – This is an Adobe Illustrator File. It’s only viewable and editable inside Adobe Illustrator. Although you may not be personally using this file type, it comes in handy if you’re ever working with another designer for future projects. This file is editable and scalable and can be used in any specific project, as is needed by the designer.
PNG File – This is a raster image, which means it is made up of tons of tiny dots or pixels. These files have a transparent background, making them a favorite to use over photos, color backgrounds, or other graphics. PNG files are best used for web or digital use.
JPG File – A JPG file is a raster image, meaning it can be pixelated if it grows past its intended size.These files are best used for images/photography. JPG files cannot have a transparent background, so logo files will always have a white or colored background, which can limit their use.
If you’re missing these file types, especially the vector files, reach out to your designer to get them. Or, it may be time for a brand update! Contact me today if you feel it’s time to modernize and update your current branding!
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