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A guide to file formats: when and where to use a JPEG, a PDF and an EPS

Rachel from design agency Minta Viski delves into the intricacies of the file formats used across visual communication platforms.

Your brand says a lot about you, it sets you apart from your competitors, makes you recognisable to your customers and, if you do your job well, will help you score repeat business. Consistent use of your brand across all your owned marketing materials, from letterheads and business cards to social media profiles and promotional products requires multiple file formats.

Here, I explain the three most used file formats, JPEG, PDF and EPS and provide some guidance around which file format to use based on the application.

1. JPEG is for digital AND print

The JPEG is the potato of the graphic design world. It’s practical and versatile and opens and imports into many of the applications you’re already using.

For digital, use JPEG in RGB as the image format on your website, the graphic on your email signature and to minimise the storage space taken up by images.

For print, JPEG in CMYK is what your graphic designer will ask for if they’re designing your promotional materials like brochures and flyers. Make sure the JPEGs you send , whether they are logos or product photographs, are high resolution (at least 300dpi).

2. PDF is for print on paper

The documents you read online, share over email and send to Progress Printing for print on paper products are PDFs. They will open in any website browser or in Adobe Acrobat.

The magazines you buy, the posters you see on the street and the business cards you get at networking events all started out as a humble PDF.

When your graphic designer is ready to send you promotional material for proofing, they’ll send it to you as a PDF optimised for online use to keep the file size small. When you’ve given the stamp of approval, your designer will then export it in high resolution, with print markings (registration, crop and bleed marks) ready for printing.

3. EPS is for everything else

If you’re considering having your logo printed on t-shirts or hats then Progress Printing will request you provide an EPS. This is because an EPS file has the unique feature in preserving transparency or no background colour.

EPS is also great for printing banners and displays, as it allows you to enlarge your logo to epic proportions without losing quality.

Now you have a good understanding of these key three file formats, there’s no way we’ll be seeing your brand any other way but awesome. Right?