When choosing a file format for your design image, think about whether or not the image needs to be in raster or vector format. Raster images are made up of pixels while vectors are made up of geometric lines and curves, which means they can be scaled to any size while keeping their shape. You may also hear vector files referred to as AI files because vector artwork is typically created in Adobe Illustrator. If you are worried about your design getting pixelated, a good rule of thumb is to make your design bigger than it needs to be. You can always reduce resolution, but you can never increase it. Also, consider if the design will be printed or displayed online; all of these things will make it easier to choose the perfect way to save work.
The three most common file types for web-based images are .jpeg, .png, and .gif. Here’s a rundown of what makes each one of them different.
JPEG – JPEG images are ideal for files with gradients and allow for a smaller file size through compression
PNG – PNG images are lossless, so they do not lose quality during editing, support transparency, and tend to be larger than a JPEG
GIF – GIF images can maintain a low file size while being able to support animation
A few other common file types like .pdf, .psd, and .ai, refer to where the specific file was created.
PDF – Incorporates all the elements of a printed document as an image that you can view, print, or send to someone else
PSD – Refers to a file created in Adobe Photoshop
AI – Refers to a file created in Adobe Illustrator