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Posted by Thera-Lee on July 19, 2019

Marketers: have you ever received a logo package from a designer and felt clueless as to what file you are meant to use? There are usually a variety of files provided including AI, EPS, JPEG, PNG, and SVG, but what is the difference between them? When and how do you use them?

Unless you're a designer, chances are you've never really needed to understand the differences between these file formats. While the large variety of file formats may seem confusing, there is a specific use and benefit for each type.

Raster Graphics 
Built out of hundreds/thousands of tiny, square, coloured pixels that allow shades and tones of colour to overlap and result in continuous colour tone. Raster images cannot be edited (there are exceptions), and can only be scaled up and down to a limited degree based on how the original image was first created. 

Vector Graphics 
Built using proportional formulas rather than pixels and are easily scalable. These file formats are created in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black - 4 colour process) and are ideal for print as they can be used at a very small scale like an embroidered t-shirt to large format van graphics.

AI / .ai (Adobe Illustrator)
AI is a
vector file format and is most commonly used for logo graphics. Since Adobe Illustrator is the software that was (most likely) used to create your logo, the .ai file would be editable, and scalable. AI files can also be saved to other file types by exporting. It’s typically provided in CMYK, and is primarily meant for print.

EPS / .eps (Encapsulated Postscript)
EPS is a
vector file format that is designed to produce high-resolution graphics for print. It is also editable (to a point) and scalable. Pretty much any design software can use EPS files, making it one of the most versatile file types. It’s typically provided in CMYK, and is primarily meant for print.

SVG / .svg (Scalable Vector Graphics)
SVG is a vector file format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation, which make it the ideal format for responsive design. It is the standard format for displaying vector graphics on the web. It’s typically provided in RGB (Red, Green and Blue), and is primarily meant for digital/web purposes.

JPEG / .jpg  (Joint Photographic Experts Group) 
A logo provided as a JPEG can either be a high resolution, CMYK file (meant for print), or a lower resolution, RGB file (meant for digital/web). 

PNG / .png (Portable Network Graphics) 
PNG is a
raster file format that can be saved with a transparent background, meaning it can be placed on top of colourful objects without a white box present. It’s provided in RGB, and is meant for digital/web purposes.

Now you’ve got the technical know-how to master any graphic file that comes your way! Still confused? Don’t fret, our team of design and marketing gurus are happy to talk shop any time