File Types List and Cheat Sheet

This file type list and cheat sheet by 99designs guides you through the appropriate file types to use for various digital projects. It goes over the common use cases, what you should know, and technical details of many of the digital file types. The list is designed to save you time and eliminate any confusion when it comes to working with a designer or creating your own product.

Source: 99designs
file types cheat sheet

File Type List

This helpful resource list provides you with the information needed to avoid a few of the major pitfalls or delays you might run into when working with photos or other design related materials for your photography business.

Vector

  • Logo Design
  • Mobile icons
  • Illustrations

Details

  • Can be enlarged without losing quality
  • Essential for cross-platform designed (i.e. billboards, business cards, etc.)

Technical

  • Small graphics that use mathematical calculations to display images
  • Most common types: PDF, AI, and EPS

Raster

  • Photographs
  • Images on websites

Details

  • Good for adding special effects, color correction and manipulating photos
  • Resolution-dependent: larger sizes lead to lower quality and blurriness

Technical

  • Composed of pixels on a grid, where each pixel is assigned a color value
  • Most common types: JPEG, PNG, and GIF

JPEG

  • Images within web-based designs (websites, emails)
  • File of choice for banner ad publishers
  • Previewing design work

Details

  • Quick loading times; used in web based designs where small file sizes are important
  • Cannot have a transparent background (a white background will be added automatically)
  • The most widely used file type on the Internet

Technical

  • JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • Flat images (not editable)
  • File size can be compressed infinitely, but with loss of quality

PNG

  • Images within web-based designs (websites, emails)
  • File of choice for banner ad publishers
  • Previewing design work

Details

  • Compressed for quick views on websites; small sizes and quick load times
  • Can be saved with a transparent background, for placing one image on top of another

Technical

  • PNG – Portable Network Graphics
  • Can be compressed within set limit (slower load time than JPEG) with no loss of quality

EPS

  • Logo design
  • Print design

Details

  • Can be resized without losing its quality

Technical

  • EPS – Encapsulated Post Script
  • Usable by any vector graphic application

GIF

  • Animated banner ads
  • Animated emails
  • Popular on informal blogs and articles

Details

  • The second-most used file on the Internet, after JPEGs
  • Great for animation (videos play automatically without loading times)

Technical

  • GIF – Graphics Interchange Format
  • Easily portable
  • Very small sizes (under 150KB)

PDF

  • All design previews
  • Print design as most printers will ask for the PDF as the final file

Details

  • Most suitable for sharing previews of work – universally viewable by computers

Technical

  • PDF – Portable Document Folder
  • Illustrator and Photoshop files can be saved as PDFs, and then reopen in their native programs for editing

Ai – Illustrator File

  • Logo design
  • Icons
  • Illustrations

Details

  • Allows you or your designer to easily make edits

Technical

  • Vector-based working file create with Adobe Illustrator

Ps – Photoshop File

  • Flexible, but recommended for digital website layouts, banner ad layouts, and email layouts

Details

  • Allows you or your designer to easily make edits

Technical

  • Raster-based working file created with Adobe Photoshop
  • PSD files can be saved by layer for individual access as needed

Newsletter