Design File Types Explained

Ever wonder what different file types are meant for and if you’re using them correctly? Today, we’re breaking down the most commonly used file types and when you should use them!  


This file format is an image file format and should be used in instances when you need a small file size. This is a lossy compression method meaning, some image quality is lost when the JPG data is compressed and saved, and this quality can never be recovered. These files are used anytime you need to display an image in both digital and print formats.


PNG  files can be used for all of your digital needs and  can have transparent or colored backgrounds. Use this file type for social media as logo profile image, graphics on blogs, websites, presentations, and for letterhead collateral in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.


Used almost daily in business, most people are familiar with this file type. PDF files allow you to transfer information across different operating systems. A PDF is a very compatible document format and can be opened on desktops, tablets, and phones. PDF files can be used to send information quickly and easily without obliterating an email inbox due to large sizes.


Just like PDF files ESP files allow you to transfer information across different operating systems. These are easily scalable, vector files and used almost exclusively for items like logo’s.  ESP files can be opened using Adobe software as well as some other programs like EPS Viewer and Adobe Reader. This file type can be used for any print materials you’ll need such as stickers, pens, t-shirts, and print collateral.


Tiff’s are an image file with lossless compression. This file is designed for handling raster or bitmapped images. TIFF files can be saved in a variety of color formats and in various forms of compression. TIFFs use lossless compression to maintain image integrity and clarity and are often used for professional photography.


This is a native file. Meaning this is the file your designer used to create your graphic. Use discretion when sharing it. You should rarely need to access this file. It can only be opened with Adobe software and typically for your records to have in case you need it.


Here are a few quick tips for understanding file formats and their uses.

For all your digital needs - presentations, social media profile images, email signature, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Word, website - use PNG’s

When sending your logo to be printed on business cards, brochures, clothing, pens, etc - use vector formats such as AI, EPS, PDF

When contacting a designer for changes send - EPS, AI, TIF

If you are interested in how we can help grow your brand with our creative services, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d love to hear from you! You can reach The Burnette Agency by email at or give us a call at 404-850-2081