Design File Types

File extensions used in graphic design – what they are and what you can do with them!

When a design is complete, particularly a logo, it is important to save it in a variety of different file types for different production uses. Most people know what a JPEG is, but here are a list of the other files you may receive, what they are and what you can do with them.

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What is a .ai file?

The .ai is an extension from a program which designers use called ‘Adobe Illustrator’. It’s a program frequently used for the construction of logo’s, illustrations and typography. The .ai file is the base working file in which the design is created. Most designers will not provide their client with this one however it is useful to request and retain this version as it is the master backup which will be useful should you use a different designer in the future or the original is lost/deleted by your designer.

What is a .eps file?

The .eps file is also created from Illustrator. This is the file that is used by sign writers, embroiders, printers, publishers etc. This is the file everyone in the universe requires if they are doing something for your business that involves your logo. DO NOT DELETE THIS ONE!!

What is a .pdf file?

A PDF is a more common one but what some people don’t realise is that when you save your file as a PDF, nothing will change when you print it. All of your custom fonts, photos and anything else you pop in your document will still be there, in the same place – right where you put it. Also, if you happen to misplace your .eps file – a PDF is the next best thing.

What is a .png file?

A .png file is like a JPEG except it has a transparent background. This means you can pop it on top of anything in your documents or website and the background will show through.

What is a .psd file?

You may have heard of Adobe Photoshop? Yes? Well a .psd is the working file for Photoshop. Some designers create logo’s and other designs in Photoshop so if you receive this version, treat it like the .EPS file.

What is an .ind file?

Another program often used by designers, is Adobe InDesign. An .ai is the InDesign working file. This is used for putting together publications, business cards, flyers, letterheads, invitations etc. You will probably never come across this file but if you do – KEEP IT!! Other designers can use this file to make alterations and set up print files.

PRO TIP: Most of these files you will not be able to open due to the specialised program needed. PLEASE KEEP THEM! This does not mean they are corrupt or risky to your computer in any way; the designer or printer will be able to open them to complete your job.

This article is featured in our publication “Guide to Creating your business image and branding”

© Studio: tiffany gouge