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Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

Selling Your Work as Merchandise: How to Get Started

Post pobrano z: Selling Your Work as Merchandise: How to Get Started

There are many ways to make money as a designer and a creative professional. The internet certainly makes getting clients from around the world easier, so there are more opportunities to pursue in this field. With a strong portfolio, you can even land a remote job and some of the best clients in the world.

Royalty Free Photo

Other ways to make money include selling your work, either in its digital form or as tangible merchandise like prints and tees. The latter can turn into a big business and getting started is easier than you think.

Tackle Production

Before you can start selling your own custom-designed merchandise, you need to figure out how to produce those products. There are basically two routes you can take right now. You can find a reliable print-on-demand service provider and start selling your products immediately. When a customer order comes in, you order the merchandise and have it shipped to the customer directly.

The second route is keeping the production of your merchandise in-house. You have more control over details such as the fabric used and how the colors are reproduced. However, you may not always be able to produce items due to manufacturing limitations. On the other hand, making some products for your inventory is cheaper in the long run.

Establish an Online Store

You can choose to sign up for a marketplace account as a way to start selling products immediately, but the best way to go is still setting up your own online storefront. This is because you can design the e-commerce site to really represent your brand and who you are as a designer.

The design part should be easy since you already know how to combine elements such as colors and illustrations into an attractive visual. When it comes to turning that design into a working e-commerce site and then optimizing the site for customers, services like www.bingdigital.com can help you.

Rather than doing everything yourself, having a team of web development experts assisting you through every step of the development process is the way to go. You can focus on creating great merchandise that sells while the web development team takes care of the website for you.

Tweak the User Experience

To get ahead of the competition, your e-commerce site needs to deliver the best customer experience possible. This means the checkout process needs to be seamless and easy to complete, and that orders are prepared and delivered in a timely manner. This is the actual challenge of running your own merchandise store.

Once again, you have the internet on your side. Many courier service providers now let you order shipping pick-ups online. You can also ask for prepaid shipping envelopes or boxes, which will make processing customers’ orders easier to handle.

To avoid unnecessary mistakes, try to automate most of the tasks in hand. Rather than making shipping labels manually, for example, you can print them out from Magento’s admin panel with the right plugin installed on the site.

The rest is all about marketing. Once you have products to sell, an online storefront for displaying them and taking customer orders, and a way to ship orders quickly, all you need to do is get potential customers to visit your site and start making money from selling your own merchandise.

Featured image by Krisztian Tabori

Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

3 Tips for Finding the Perfect Font for Your Project

Post pobrano z: 3 Tips for Finding the Perfect Font for Your Project

The fonts you use can have a surprising impact on how your designs are perceived. The font or typeface can affect how often your content is read and how well the message is absorbed. This means font matters in ways far beyond the way it fits into the overall aesthetics of the surrounding layout. Here are three tips for finding the perfect font for your project.

Simple Is Safe

Every graphic designer and website designer has a few outlandish typefaces they use on special occasions. However, 90% or more of the time, they’ll use what are called “safe” typefaces. These are simple fonts that are clear and legible so that they’re always easy to read. They are something that everyone can quickly read, so your message will always be absorbed. If you use a funky font that they have to figure out, you’ll likely lose your audience. This is why Open Sans gets used on presentations but funny and fancy fonts typically don’t.

Safe sans-serif fonts include Arial, Tahoma, and Helvetica. Safe serif fonts include Times New Roman and Palantino. All of these fonts are appropriate for any application since they display on the web with few to no issues.

Consider the Mood and the Purpose

If you put a funny font on a sign in a children’s play area, it fits the mood. However, if you tried to deliver a professional presentation with the same silly font, people will question your judgment. If you’re trying to convey a traditional, respectable vibe, go for an old-style typeface over a slick, modern one. When you’re sharing information, use a legible, formal typeface.

When you have the freedom to be whimsical or want to use a font to capture people’s attention, then you can choose something unusual. Some fonts like the Lobster Font aren’t for everyone but could work in some situations, so test it out to see what really works. Do experiment every once in a while, just to see if something is better than what you’re doing right now. Change up a headline or section break to see if it is actually an improvement.

Keep It Consistent

In general, you want to keep the same font across all of your content. However, you can use a new pictorial content to capture someone’s attention where warranted, just as you might inject a joke in your presentation to keep everyone alert and engaged. But never let the font upstage the actual content.

If you do choose multiple typefaces on the same page, make sure they have large, contrasting differences but can still look good together. Two slightly different fonts aren’t worth the effort, and you’d be better off choosing just one font for the whole page.

A general rule of thumb is to use fonts that have a similar X-height, stroke weight, time period or designer if you want to know they’ll look good when used together. That way there is a common look, though the fonts are different from each other. In short, the two fonts need to either contrast or correspond to look good together. Try using a pangram to evaluate how fonts look when combined on the same page before you throw the fonts together on a website or pamphlet.

The font you use can complement your webpage or printed flyer’s design, reinforce your intended message, and attract viewers or interfere with your end objectives. This makes finding the perfect font a necessity.

Featured image by Jeroen De Otter

Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

Different Image File Types and Formats

Post pobrano z: Different Image File Types and Formats

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle a more technical subject, which should be part of your knowledge bag, no matter if you’re a creative tinkerer or a simple computer user.

From file type to file format, we’re going to explore the meaning of these notions and learn the most common image types and formats that are in use at the moment.

So, if I managed to grab your attention, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s jump straight into it!

1. The “File” Concept

Whether you’re a designer,
a gamer, or a casual computer user, you’ve probably had your fair share of
interactions with those digital creatures that we like to call “files”. But
have you ever wondered what they actually are, or where the concept behind
them originated from?

the file concept

According to TechTerms.com,
a “file” is:

“a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename”.

The computers that
we work with (be it a Mac or a PC) or any other modern device operate with data
(information, settings, commands, etc.) that is kept on a physical storage
device (usually an HDD) using virtual containers that we universally call “files”.

These virtual
objects are self-contained strings of bytes that once encoded are made
available to the OS (operating system) and any program capable of opening and
reading them, thus allowing the user to interact with their content.

The idea of the “file” as a means of portraying data was rooted back in
1981, when computer scientist David Canfield Smith and designer Norman Lloyd
Cox
used the “office metaphor” to develop the first modern user interface for the Xerox Star 8010, by
creating and integrating a set of document-based icons, meant to ease the
interaction between users and machines.

2. File Type. File Format. File Name. File Extension

Before we go any
further, I want to take a couple moments and briefly talk about four
distinct filerelated notions which, even though they carry different meanings, are often treated as if
they were the same thing.

I’m talking about
“file type”, “file format”, “file name”, and “file extension”, which should
become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day creative lingo.

2.1. File Type

Depending on the nature of its content, a file can be considered as being of a specific „type”, thus allowing us to label it according to the application or standard to which it belongs.

For example, Windows describes a text file written in Word as being a „Microsoft Word Document” since the file is an application-specific document that can only be opened using that piece of software. At the same time, the document can be viewed as a text file since the data contained within it is mostly rich text.

example of microsoft word file type

If we create an illustration and then save it using the PNG compression algorithm, Windows will see that image as being a „PNG File”, which is an open standard that doesn’t require a specific piece of software to be able to view it. That same „PNG File” is also an image file since the data encoded within it describes the color and position of its composing pixels.

example of png file type

As you would expect, the list of existing file types
is quite a big one, since it ranges from simple text documents all the way to developer
code:

  • Text Files contain textual data such as logs, entire documents, or simple notes.
  • Data Files are installed by applications or created by the user and contain libraries,
    project files, and saved documents.
  • Audio Files contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software.
  • Image Files contain image-related information blocks.
  • Video Files contain a wide range of encoded video data.
  • eBook Files contain books designed to be viewed on eReaders.
  • Database Files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields.
  • Executable Files contain code that is run when the file is opened.
  • Game Files contain saved video-game files and files referenced by video games.
  • CAD Files contain
    2D or 3D designs (usually models or architectural plans) generated by CAD
    software.
  • GIS Files contain data related to GPS devices and mapping software.
  • Web Files contain website and web server-related data.
  • Font Files contain one or more fonts that can be accessed by the operating system and
    applications.
  • System Files contain system libraries, icons, themes, device drivers, etc.
  • Settings Files contain settings for the operating system and applications.
  • Compressed Files use compression algorithms to compress and store any other type of files.
  • Disk Image Files contain entire copies of a hard drive partition or other type of media.
  • Developer Files contain data related to software development such as source code, code
    libraries, etc.
  • Backup Files contain backups of files.

A more comprehensive list can be found over at FileInfo.com, where you
can go through the different categories/types, in order to see exactly what they are
used for.

2.2. File Format

According to
Wikipedia, a „file format” is:

“a standard way that information is encoded for
storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information
in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and
may be either unpublished or open”.

To put it simply, the format describes the way the information is being stored within the file, which varies from software to software and from standard to standard.

For example, a Microsoft Word file uses the .docx format which is composed out of an XML file (Content Types) and three folders (_rels, docProps, word), which are hidden within its structure, unless you unzip the file, as Stepan Yakovenko demonstrates in this informal introduction to DocX.

example of word document file format

An image file saved using PNG compression will appear using the .png file format, which is composed out of a file header that starts with an 8-byte signature, which is then followed by a series of chunks which convey certain information about the image itself (Wikipedia).

example of png file format

2.3. File Name

A „file name” is a unique identifier which, depending on the nature of the file dependency (whether it’s part of a system/software or a standalone one) comes already set or is entered by the user during the creation process.

For example, if we create a new Word file, the software will ask us to give it a custom name, so that we can later on find it within the system.

example of word document file name

Other files such as executable files come with an already predefined name, which if changed in some cases might prevent that specific application to launch or function properly.

2.4. File Extension

Last but not least, we have „file extension” which is the suffix found at the end of a file name. This suffix not only tells you what type of file we are dealing with, but also determines which program should be used to open it, as well as what icon should be displayed (TechTerms.com).

To continue on that Microsoft Word example, the file extension used by the software is .docx, which shouldn’t be confused with its format, since they’re quite different notions as we now know. The extension lets us know we’re dealing with a Word document, but also helps the operating system decide which software should be used to open it.

example of word document file extension

Now that we have a clearer idea regarding these notions, we can move on and talk about the most common image file types and formats that you’ll interact with in this line of work.

3. Image File Types

As we saw a few moments ago, there are a plethora of existing file types that you, I and everyone else using a computer interacts with on a daily basis, but out of all of them, one particular category is really important when it comes to our line of work.

As a creative tinkerer, whether you’re an illustrator, a photo editor, or a print designer, you constantly have to work
on image-based projects, which can easily become an overwhelming job.

This is especially true for those cases when you’re just starting out but haven’t quite managed to fully grasp
the differences between the existing image file types and their
specific use cases.

Now, before we continue down the path of exploring
this category of file types, let’s take a couple of moments and see what an image actually
is.

3.1. What Is an Image?

From an etymological standpoint, the noun is thought to derive from the
Latin word “imaginem” (nominative imago,
c. 1200), and was originally used to describe a “piece of statuary artificial
representation that looks like a person or a thing”, meant to copy or imitate a
real-life object.

Today, the meaning
of the word has been slightly updated due to the technological advances in the
fields of computer science and photography.

According to the
online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary, an “image” (ɪmɪdʒ) is now defined as being a:

“visual representation of
something: such as (1): a likeness of an object produced on a photographic
material (2): a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television
or computer screen)”.

From a digital standpoint, an image can be perceived as any type of
two-dimensional visual representation, created using dedicated software or captured using a digital camera, meant to be
displayed on a pixel-based output device such as a computer monitor, or to be printed onto a physical medium.

Of course, any digital image can be turned into a physical one through the process of printing, but the file itself will remain saved within the computer’s storage unit. 

Whether or not you’re a designer yourself, you should be aware of the fact that there are two very different types of images that can be used in this line of work, and those are raster images and vector images.

3.1.1. Raster-Based Image Files

raster based image file

According to the Merriam Webster online
dictionary, a “raster” is defined as:

“a pattern of closely spaced rows of
dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or a
computer display)”.

A raster image, or
bitmap, is a grid-based data structure composed of a fixed number of square-shaped pixels, each of which carries a specific color value, forming an identifiable composition when displayed on the surface of a
digital screen, be it a computer, smartphone, or any other pixel-based output
device.

Due to its pixel-based nature, a raster
image is resolution dependent, which
means that it has a specific Width
and Height pixel count that
directly affects the quality of that image when it’s subjected to the process
of resizing or resampling.

Quick tip: while at first the two terms might seem synonymous,
they are quite different methods of adjusting the size of an image. The first one maintains the same pixel
count while stretching or shrinking their surface, while the second method physically
changes the number of pixels found within an image using interpolation
algorithms by adding to or removing from the original count.

For example, if we
were to take an 800 x 600 px image
and scale it down, the composing pixels would shrink, thus maintaining the
overall quality. On the other hand, if we were to scale it up, then the resizing process
would expand the surface of each composing pixel, thus degrading its quality, resulting
in what we usually call “pixelation”.

While people tend to associate raster images with digital photography,
almost all of the images displayed by a computer screen are raster-based ones
due to the nature of the current display technology, which is pixel based.

The most common raster-based image files are JPEGGIFPNGTIFF, and PSD.

Depending on the compression method used by its format, a raster image can be lossy or lossless.

JPEG files are based on lossy compression since they approximate what the original image would look like and then reduce the number of colors within the file in order to remove any unnecessary data while trying to maintain a high quality.

GIF, PNGTIFF, and PSD are all lossless images since they manage to capture all of the data of your original file, thus giving you the highest possible quality.

Most raster files come as the final version of an image, which means that once they are created they can’t be edited later on. I say most since TIFF and PSD files maintain their editability.

3.1.2. Vector-Based Image Files

vector based image file

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, in physics a vector is defined as:

„a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”.

In computing, it „denotes a type of graphical representation using lines to construct the outlines of objects”.

Compared to raster images, a vector image is
composed of a series of open and/or closed paths that are mathematically
described by a series of points called anchors or nodes. These points help define the
different composing shapes using lines and/or curves (TechTerms.com).

The main reason why vectors are usually the de
facto choice when it comes to graphic design is due to their pixel-independent
nature
, which means that you can basically take any vector-based image and
scale it up or down to any degree without any loss of quality.

The most common vector-based image files are AIEPSPDF, and SVG.

Compared to raster-based image files, vector ones give you the ability to edit their content at any time, as long as you have the right piece of software capable of opening them.

4. Image File Formats

So up to this point we’ve talked about the different existing image file types. Now let’s spend a couple of moments and go through the most common file formats and see when and why we should use them.

As you would expect, there are two main types of File Formats, which are determined by the nature of the composing data.

4.1. Raster-Based File Formats

A raster-based file format is, as the name suggests, based on the use of pixels as the main way to create an image. It is usually the last part of the creative process, where the designer chooses how to output the artwork.

4.1.1. JPEG

jpeg image format

This is probably the most commonly known file format when it comes to saving images, but have you ever wondered what the letters stand for?

JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is an acronym for „Joint Photographic Experts Group” and is a raster format based on lossy compression used for digital images, particularly those produced by digital photography, that was made publicly available in the year 1992.

The reason why JPEG became so popular was the ability to achieve high compression rates without any noticeable quality degradation.

While the format is raster based, it can be used to export any vector-based image, being one of the predefined available file formats in most modern pieces of vector software.

Advantages

  • You have full control over the compression/quality ratio.
  • The small file size makes the JPEG format ideal for web-related content, where images need to be loaded fast without stressing the server or the local machine.
  • Compatibility across all operating systems and web browsers.

Disadvantages

  • The JPEG format doesn’t support alpha channels (transparency).
  • Once the image is saved using this format, any quality loss is permanent as long as the original source file has been discarded.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The small file size makes the JPEG format suitable for most use cases, such as websites, visual presentations, or quick project previews that don’t require extremely high-res images.
  • While the format is not the highest in terms of quality, it can confidently be used in non-high-resolution printing, such as text documents that are accompanied by images.
  • Due to its intended nature, the JPEG format is best associated with digital photos, but it can also be used to export vector-based images such as illustrations, icons, etc. However, it will come at a higher file size compared to a PNG file.

4.1.2. GIF

gif image format

GIF (pronounced jif) stands for „Graphics Interchange Format”, and is a lossless raster image format created back in 1987 that quickly became widely used on the web due to its small file size determined by the available color limitation (only 256 colors), and the ability to support transparency and animations.

Advantages

  • The GIF format comes with a very small file size.
  • It lets you embed animations within a single file.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • Compared to JPEG, the image quality is far lower.
  • Once edited and exported, any changes to the contents of an image are permanent.
  • Due to its lower quality, the format isn’t a viable solution for printing.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its small file size, the GIF format is a perfect fit for any web-related content that doesn’t focus on image quality.

4.1.3. PNG

png image format

PNG (pronounced ping) is a popular raster image file format that stands for „Portable Network Graphics” and was designed as a lossless replacement for GIF.

Today, the format has become the web standard for graphics-based images, due to its small file size and sharp details.

Advantages

  • The PNG file format is a great solution for presenting artwork within the digital medium, especially for the web, due to its higher color range and sharp details.
  • It has a small footprint compared to JPEG files.
  • It gives you the ability to use a transparent background.

Disadvantages

  • When used with photos, the PNG format can end up increasing the overall file size of the final project.
  • Since the format was intended to be used for the web, printing any PNG file will always result in an unexpected or less desirable result.
  • The process of resizing or scaling will result in quality degradation.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PNG file format is best used within web-based projects due to its small footprint and the ability to add background transparency.
  • It can be used within mobile apps or desktop applications that require the use of a transparent background.

4.1.4. TIFF

tiff image format

TIFF (pronounced tif) is a lossless raster format developed by the Aldus Corporation in 1986, that was intended to be used for high-resolution prints.

Compared to JPEGTIFF files come uncompressed, which means that they can carry a lot more data since they allow the use of layers and effects, which in turn results in a heavier file size, thus preventing them from being used on the web.

Advantages

  • The TIFF file format offers the highest level of quality when it comes to photo-based projects that are meant to be printed out.
  • It gives you the ability to edit an image later on, as long as its layers aren’t merged.
  • It’s a universal format supported by most raster/vector software.

Disadvantages

  • The TIFF format isn’t suited for web use due to its large file size.
  • It can quickly increase the file size of a project.

Recommended Use Case

  • Due to its high-res nature, the TIFF format is best suited for print projects, where you need as much color data as possible.

4.1.5. PSD

psd image format

PSD stands for „Photoshop Document” and is an Adobe proprietary raster format that allows users to add layers and effects to an image, giving them the ability to edit the file later on at any time. 

 Advantages

  • The PSD file format is a great way of creating and sharing a photo/art-based project while maintaining a high level of editability.
  • It can contain both raster and vector images/elements.
  • It maintains a high level of quality as long as the raster images used are of higher resolution.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary format, which means that the file can only be opened and edited using Adobe’s own Photoshop software, or other software that supports it such as GIMP or CorelDraw.
  • It isn’t a file format that can be viewed on browsers.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PSD file format is a great solution for those projects where you need to retouch photos or artwork.

4.2. Vector-Based File Formats

Vector-based file formats rely on the use of mathematical equations to create the composing shapes of an image, and they are usually used in the initial part of the creative process, where the designer works on the composition.

4.2.1. AI

ai image format

AI stands for „Adobe Illustrator” and is a proprietary lossless image format created by Adobe, containing primarily vector-based graphics along with embedded or linked raster images.

Advantages

  • The AI file format is great for creating and sharing vector-based images.
  • It’s a vector-based format that allows the user to edit it at any point in time.
  • It gives you the ability to scale any vector-based image to almost any degree without any loss of quality.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • It’s an Adobe proprietary file format, which means that which means that it can only be opened and edited using its own Illustrator software, or other software that supports it.
  • The file can’t be previewed using simple image viewing software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The AI file format is great for creating, editing, and sharing vector-based projects.

4.2.2. EPS

eps file format

EPS is another vector-based image format developed by Adobe back in 1992, EPS stands for „Encapsulated Postscript”, and the format was intended to work across different OS platforms and applications, which is something that it has successfully managed to accomplish.

Advantages

  • The EPS file format is perfect for sharing vector-based projects across different software users due to its universal acceptance and integration.
  • It has a small file size.

Disadvantages

  • To be honest, I really can’t think of any, except for the fact that it isn’t supported by web browsers.

4.2.3. PDF

pdf image format

PDF stands for „Portable Document Format” and is yet another image format developed by Adobe in the 1990s, capable of including both text and images. PDFs are accessible from any application, computer, or OS.

Advantages

  • By now, the PDF file format is an established standard, making it universally accessible from any operating system and computing device.
  • It can be a great way of sharing a larger project.
  • It can display both raster and vector images.
  • PDFs are a good way of ensuring that what you create is what gets printed out.

Disadvantages

  • They can’t be edited using non-raster/vector software.

Recommended Use Case

  • The PDF file format is great for sharing and printing a project or design.

4.2.4. SVG

svg image format

SVG stands for „Scalable Vector Graphics” and is one of the more interesting available open file formats that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) back in 1999. It has proved to become a strong alternative to traditional web images, due to the small size footprint and the ease of editability.

Advantages

  • The SVG file format allows images to be created and edited using any text editor.
  • SVG images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
  • They are scalable without any quality loss.
  • Images can be zoomed without image pixelation.
  • It is an open standard.

Disadvantages

  • When using the SVG file format, the file size can quickly grow if your design has a lot of smaller details.
  • If you need to edit the file using a text editor, it might take a while until you identify the shape that you want to adjust.

Recommended Use Case

  • The SVG file format is clearly intended to be used for the web, in situations where you need pixel-crisp graphics that have a smaller footprint compared to the more classical PNG format.

It’s a Wrap!

As always, I hope you found the read useful and worthy of your time, and if you have any questions or feedback suggestions, please feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Expand Your Designer Skills!

Just finished reading the article, and feel like absorbing more knowledge?! Well, you’re in luck, since I took the liberty of putting together this little list of tutorials and articles that should keep you busy for the following days!

21 Best Business Flyer Templates Using a Flyer Creator (Without Photoshop)

Post pobrano z: 21 Best Business Flyer Templates Using a Flyer Creator (Without Photoshop)

As a business, your success depends on getting your products and/or services in front of the right audience. Done right, business flyers can be a versatile and effective tool for reaching prospective clients while keeping marketing costs low.  

Creating beautiful and effective business flyers, however, can be a challenge, especially for small businesses who don’t know how to make a business flyer, and who may not have the budget to hire a dedicated marketing and design team to come up with flyer design ideas and create the best flyers for your business. 

How to Make a Flyer Online Using a Flyer Creator

Placeit can help. For a single affordable monthly fee, Placeit allows you to download unlimited digital assets. And with one of the largest collections of flyer templates on the internet, Placeit makes it easy for large and small businesses to create perfect business flyers every time. 

Placeit’s cutting-edge Flyer Creator is an online flyer maker that shows you how to make a flyer online without any special design software like Photoshop. With tons of flyer design ideas to choose from, all you need to do is select your favourite design, enter your chosen text into the flyer template, customise your design with available fonts, colours and graphics etc., and Placeit will generate the best flyers for you. Don’t worry if you have no idea where to start—the Flyer Creator also offers a number of template presets in your chosen design, which you can use as is or customise to suit your tastes. 

Best of all, as you create your flyer, you can make use of the state-of-the-art mockup tool at the bottom of the page, which shows you your flyer in a range of real-life scenarios.  How cool is that? 

To whet your appetite, we’ve selected 21 of the best business flyer templates available at Placeit.  

21 Best Business Flyer Templates 

1. Professional Law Firm Flyer Design Template

If you’re creating a flyer for your law firm, you need it to communicate your professionalism,  trustworthiness, and reliability. Look no further than the Professional Law Firm Flyer Design Template. With great images and graphics, coupled with strong fonts and muted colours, you can design the perfect flyer for your business needs in a matter of minutes. 

Professional Law Firm Flyer Design Template

2. Business Flyer Maker to Design Flyers for Florists

“Loveliest of lovely things,” the poet William Bryant said of flowers, so it’s no wonder that the Business Flyer Maker to Design Flyers for Florists template delivers a design that matches the beauty of flowers. Featuring a selection of pastel-hued gradients for backgrounds, this flyer design template also includes a variety of flower graphics, including orchids, roses, irises, lilies, peonies, flower wreaths, and more!

 Business Flyer Maker to Design Flyers for Florists

3. Flyer Maker for Landscaping Business with Images

If you have a landscaping business, it’s critical to show your customers examples of how your service could transform their property. That’s why the Flyer Maker for Landscaping Business with Images template shows off properties with great landscaping. You can use the images provided or include your own examples for more authenticity. Either way, potential customers will be WOWed by your landscaping skills.

Flyer Maker for Landscaping Business with Images

4. Gym Flyer Maker

If you have a fitness business and are wondering how to make a flyer that will attract more clients, the answer is in one of our Gym Flyer Maker flyer templates. This template and its presets offer gorgeous images of bodies in motion, bold, eye-catching fonts, vibrant colours, and energetic graphics. Perfect for your gym, fitness centre, boxing gym, yoga studio, or any other fitness business. 

Gym Flyer Maker

5. HR Businesses Flyer Template

If you want to attract the right employees for your business, then you’ve got to create business flyers that communicate what your business is all about. With the HR Businesses Flyer Template and its incredible collection of professional images and business-related graphics, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that.

HR Businesses Flyer Template

6. Food Festival Flyer Template

You’re a farmer. There’s a food festival coming up, and you want to make sure potential customers know you’ll be attending. How do you make a flyer online quickly and easily? Flyer Creator to the rescue. The Food Festival Flyer Template communicates an abundance of colourful, fresh, seasonal produce—all the qualities you need to attract potential clients. In minutes you’ll have created your design and be ready to head to the printers.

Food Festival Flyer Template

7. Flyer Design Maker for Handyman Businesses

Want to know how to make a business flyer for your handyman business? We have just the thing for you. The Flyer Design Maker for Handyman Businesses template helps you to create the best flyers quickly and easily. 

With gorgeous home-improvement graphics and images, strong fonts and gorgeous colours, our flyer templates will help you produce professional results every time.

 Flyer Design Maker for Handyman Businesses

8. Horizontal Flyer Template for Interior Design Flyers

Are you looking to create beautiful horizontal flyers that will inspire your potential customers to choose your interior design services? Horizontal Flyer Template for Interior Design Flyers is the right template for you. You can choose our main template or select one of the presets that appeals to you. 

Either way, you’ll be able to customise every aspect of your flyer and upload examples of your own work. Of course, if you’re just starting out and don’t have many of your own examples, our Flyer Creator provides you with a selection of amazing images that you can make use of. 

Horizontal Flyer Template for Interior Design Flyers

9. Online Flyer Maker for Corporate Events

Event planners will be happy to discover the Online Flyer Maker for Corporate Events template, which caters specifically to their need for a professional corporate flyer. There are a number of background images provided to suit a range of tastes and brands, so whether you’re promoting a corporate event, advertising your services, or making a business announcement, this online flyer template will help you get your message across. 

Online Flyer Maker for Corporate Events

10. Flyer Template for Travel Experience Business

Everyone dreams of travelling at some point in their lives, but how do you reach those who are ready to realise their dream? A great place to start is to get their attention with your own amazing flyer created using the Flyer Template for Travel Experience Business.  

With its gorgeous images, bold, modern fonts, and alluring colours contained in this template and its amazing selection of presets, who could resist contacting your business for more information?

 Flyer Template for Travel Experience Business

11. Makeup Business Flyer Design Maker

The Makeup Business Flyer Design Maker helps you create the perfect beauty business flyer for your hair and/or nail salon, makeup classes, special beauty deals, and other beauty related services.  

With this Flyer Creator template, you have not only the usual choice of font styles and backgrounds, but also a terrific selection of decorative fonts and graphics to choose from.

Makeup Business Flyer Design Maker

12. Financial Flyer Design Maker

If you’ve got a financial business, you know that your marketing materials need to communicate responsibility and professionalism. That’s exactly what our Financial Flyer Design Maker template and presets are designed to get across to your prospective clients.  

We’ve assembled just the right fonts, colours, graphics, and background images to inspire confidence in your brand. But, of course, if these don’t quite resonate with your brand, you can modify them all to suit your taste.

Financial Flyer Design Maker

13. House Cleaning Flyer Maker

Starting your new house cleaning business? Use House Cleaning Flyer Maker to let people know what services you provide. Our clean, modern designs are easy to modify to suit your message, and if you ever get stuck, remember there’s no need to re-invent the wheel—just help yourself to one of our beautiful presets, change the text, and head to the printers for your brand new set of gorgeous flyers. 

House Cleaning Flyer Maker

14. Hair Salon Flyer Template

Do you want to create a stunning flyer for your hair salon business, to inspire potential customers to use your services? Flyer Creator has you covered. Not only are the images in Hair Salon Flyer Template stunning, but the graphics and fonts will make your flyer stand head and shoulders above the competition. 

Don’t forget to check out your design in our life-like mockups at the bottom of the page. You’ll be thrilled to see how your flyer will look in real-life situations. 

Hair Salon Flyer Template

15. Business Flyer Maker for Accountants

Accountants will love our Business Flyer Maker for Accountants template, which can be adapted for several purposes: to advertise your accounting, payroll, tax services, etc. Though the template and its presets communicate trustworthiness and professionalism, they’re by no means staid. 

They use a cool, modern design with fresh colours and fonts to make your business stand out. And, of course, as is the case with all the templates featured here, you can customise all of these elements to suit your taste.

Business Flyer Maker for Accountants

16.  Flyer Template for Construction Flyers

Whether you’re running a construction business or are an architect, contractor, sub-contractor, or carpenter, the Flyer Template for Construction Flyers will help you create an eye-catching flyer for your business. 

What makes this template incredibly versatile is the extensive number of icons available, including construction workers, hardhats, gears, blueprints, hammers, homes, and more, and the excellent range of images, appropriate for any business involving construction. 

Flyer Template for Construction Flyers

17. Online Flyer Maker to Design Jewelry Flyers

Design an attractive flyer for your jewellery business in minutes with the Online Flyer Maker to Design Jewelry Flyers template. Whether you’re looking for a flyer to announce your latest collection or your participation in a trade show, this online flyer maker is the perfect tool to get your message across. 

The template offers a great selection of images which will appeal to different clienteles, and there’s also a nice range of graphics available. 

Online Flyer Maker to Design Jewelry Flyers

18. Online Flyer Maker to Design Business Flyers

One of our best flyer templates for businesses needing to create a flyer for corporate events, conferences and/or business announcements, Online Flyer Maker to Design Business Flyers will make your potential clients sit up and take notice. 

Aside from the great images and large font selection, the template includes a number of cool background effects which add a bit of flair to the design. 

Online Flyer Maker to Design Business Flyers

19. Roofing Services Flyer Template

The Roofing Services Flyer Template takes all the work out of designing a professional flyer for your roofing business. Either select one of the stunning presets on offer, add your text and use as is, or if you’re feeling creative, use the ever-so-easy Flyer Creator to design your very own unique flyer. Either way, you’ll have a business flyer ready to use in no time at all. 

Roofing Services Flyer Template

20. Flyer Maker for Nutrition Businesses

Create an amazing flyer to promote your nutrition business in minutes and let potential clients know you’re there to help them live a better and longer life. The Flyer Maker for Nutrition Businesses template is pretty, alluring, modern, and takes the stress out of creating your flyer so that you can focus on giving your customers great service. 

Flyer Maker for Nutrition Businesses

21. Conference Flyer Maker

We round out our list of the best business flyers at Placeit with Conference Flyer Maker, a great template for businesses that want to advertise any type of business conference. Like our other corporate flyer templates featured here, this one communicates responsibility, professionalism, and trustworthiness. 

With endless customisation possible and a number of presets to choose from, this should be the go-to template for any business that regularly runs conferences and needs a reliable source for template design ideas. 

Conference Flyer Maker

Plenty of Great Business Flyer Options to Choose From

This fabulous list of the 21 best business flyer templates is just a small selection of the thousands available at Placeit, so if none of them quite fits your needs, there are plenty of other great options to choose from. Do let us know in the comments below if you have a favourite go-to Placeit flyer template that you just can’t do without. We’d love to hear from you.