As graphic designers, we use special software programs to design projects, which result in some uncommon file extensions like AI, EPS, and PSD. We also provide our clients with many different types of files for their logos, business cards and other marketing collateral so they have everything they need for future uses. There are also times when we’ll receive a call from a client regarding a file they can’t open or they don’t know what the file type is. So here is a helpful list of the different file extensions you may come across when working with a professional graphic designer and what each of them stand for and how the file format is used.
PSD: Photoshop Document
The PSD file formats contain graphics and photos created in Adobe Photoshop to edit photographic images. Most commonly used by graphic designers and printers. PSD files can only be opened using Photoshop and may be created in layers.
AI: Adobe Illustrator
AI files are vector files used by designers and printers to create files of different file formats and sizes. AI files can only be opened using Adobe Illustrator and may be created in layers. An AI file is one of the most preferred formats by printers.
PDF: Portable Document Format
A PDF is a universal file format that preserves and embeds the fonts, images, layout and graphics of various documents, regardless of the application used to create it. PDF files can be shared, viewed and printed by anyone with the free Adobe Reader software. Some PDF files can be used for commercial, digital, and/or desktop printing.
JPG: Joint Photographic Experts Group
A JPG file is a compressed image file that does not support a transparent background. The level of compression in JPG files can vary in resolution with high quality for desktop printing, medium quality for web viewing and low quality for email. When compressed over and over again the overall quality of a JPG image is reduced.
TIF: Tagged Image File Format
The TIF/TIFF file format is most commonly used for storing images, photography, or art. TIF files are most commonly used in professional commercial printing. The TIF format is the most commonly supported format across all platforms. It is the standard format for high quality images. Though large in size, TIF formats are considered to be the most reliable format for high quality images.
EPS: Encapsulated Postscript
Designers that want to transfer an image that is a vector file into another application most commonly use EPS files. Vector-based EPS files are scalable to any size. EPS files can be opened using Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. A vector EPS file is one of the most preferred formats by printers.
GIF: Graphics Interchange Format
GIF files are low-resolution files that are commonly used for web and email purposes. Almost all browsers can support the use of GIF files that use a compression scheme to keep the file size small. GIF files can be created with a transparent background.
PNG: Portable Network Graphics
The PNG file format is most commonly used for use online and on websites due to their low resolution. PNG files are bitmap images that make use of data compression, and like GIF files, PNG files can be created with a transparent background.