File Types and How to Use Them

Hooray! You’ve got your new brand files in hand, ready to use! But knowing which file format is best to use can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with the various file types. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are our most commonly used file types, and how to use them.

HOW DO I TELL WHAT KIND OF FILE I HAVE? Just take a look at the end of the file name. Each file will end with .eps, .ai, .jpg, or .png.

EPS: .eps is a vector file format.

  • Vector means your file can be scaled to any size (larger or smaller), and will retain resolution. Vectors are based on mathematical ratios of the relationships between points on a vector illustration, so they will always be in high resolution no matter how big or small they are scaled.
  • Use for: Logos. Since vectors are scalable, they are the most versatile file format. This is the best choice when working with logos to make sure you retain quality. However, since these can be big files they are not supported for upload to your website, Facebook, etc.

AI: .ai is a vector file format, created by Adobe Illustrator.

  • Use for: Logos. AI files are ideal for working with logos. Illustrator files are the same as .eps files, but created through the Adobe Illustrator program—but not all organizations may be using the most recent version of Illustrator, so .eps is the safer bet. Since these can be big files they are not supported for upload to your website, Facebook, etc.

JPG: a non-scalable image format.

  • Non-scalable means you cannot resize a .jpg image to be any larger than the size at which it was originally created, or it will look pixelated on screen and in print.
  • Use for: print and web. We give you high-resolution print-ready JPGs for your print pieces (like business cards, letterhead, and thank you notes). They’re easy to send to the printer, and un-editable so you don’t have to worry about anything changing in your file. For web pieces (like Facebook headers and icons), we give you screen-optimized JPGs so they’ll be ready to go on-screen.

PNG: a scalable web format.

  • Use for: web. The nice feature of PNGs is that they can accommodate transparency, where a JPG cannot. If you need your logo or image on a transparent background, PNG is the way to go.

WHAT ABOUT RGB/CMYK? If your file is specified as RGB, it is a web-use file. If your file is specified CMYK, it is a print-use file. If you want to get really nerdy with us…

  • CMYK stands for cyan-magenta-yellow-key(black). These four primary print colors are the four inks used by a printer. Mixing different percentages (on a scale of 0-100%) of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink creates countless different colors and hues. CMYK colors are subtractive, meaning if you subtract all the cyan, magenta, yellow, and key there will be no color printed—white paper will show through. A combination of a full 100% of all four inks will create a rich black.
  • RGB stands for red-green-blue. These are the primary digital colors. All the colors on your screen are made up of different values on a scale of 0-255 of these three primary colors. For example, rgb (255, 0, 0) would be 100% red, while rgb (0, 255, 0) would be 100% green. Pretty much all the colors you can imagine can be obtained on your screen through toggling different variations of red, green, and blue. RGB colors are additive, meaning if you add 255 red, 255 green, and 255 blue, the result will be white. Taking away all those colors will leave you with black.

Still need help? Don’t sweat it. Tell us what you need your file to do, and we’ll make sure it’s in the right format to do its job.

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