DIY design: How to save time by knowing your file types

Whether you’re working with an in-house designer or a freelancer, knowing exactly what file type you need for printing or using online will save you time and streamline your communications between you, your designer and printer. Depending on what you’re looking to print or how you’re looking to use the design, different file types are better suited. For example, do you need to send your design files as a JPEG, PNG or in another format? We’ve pulled together a handy list of the most common file types and when to use them below. 


Arguably the most common file type, a JPEG file can be used on social media, added to your slide decks and inserted into documents. A JPEG is also the recommended file type if you’re requested to provide a high-res image.  

Best suited for: Web images, social media, high resolution printing including brochures, leaflets, flyers

XIC tip: When sending a JPEG to us for printing make sure the file is high res (minimum 300dpi)


A PNG file is typically used to display high-quality images online and is often compared to a gif file. In comparison to gifs, PNGs offer a much broader and brighter range of colours.

Best suited for: Web images, social media, graphics


PDFs were designed by Adobe and are commonly used by businesses across the globe. It’s more comprehensive than other file types because it allows you to add links, buttons, form fields to your document. It can also be several pages long (think report or digital brochure) and has the ability to let people sign electronically.

Best suited for: Longer documents, reports, newsletters, technical documents – online and print


A GIF is a bitmap image format, composed of tiny pixels and is a small file type. It is typically used to create simple animations where limited colours are required. It works well alongside your social media graphics and is good for sharing short messages, logos or simple graphics. 

Best suited for: Social media


SVG stands for scalable vector graphics and is most commonly used by designers. Typically SVGs are used to display two-dimensional graphics or illustrations on websites and unlike other file formats that use pixels to make up images, they use vector data. This allows you to scale up an image to any resolution.

Best suited for: Logos, responsive website design


A TIFF or TIF stands for a tagged image file and is used to store lossless raster graphics or image information. It is a favourite among photographers and graphic designers – TIFFs can contain one or several images and is the recommended file type if you’re looking to edit images.

Best suited for: High res photography 


EPS, which stands for Encapsulated PostScript, is a vector file format often required for professional and high-quality image printing. The format was developed as early as 1987 by the founders of Adobe. Many printers typically use EPS to produce vast, detailed images — such as commercial advertising, large posters and attention-grabbing marketing collateral. This is often the file type we require here at XIC to ensure high-quality prints are produced.

Best suited for: High quality print

Understanding the different file types and when to use them is beneficial when dealing with internal teams, clients and customers. Keep this list handy to refer back to and easily figure out the best file type to use. 

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