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What is 3thought?

The short answer is we are graphic design firm with a proven track record of making our clients' lives easier. Wondering if we can help you? Give us a call – we'd love to hear from you: 508-409-6367

Ever wonder what an .eps or .png is, or which type of file to send your sign maker? We understand image file formats can be confusing if you’re not used to working with graphics files. With that in mind, we’ve created a image file format matrix to help you figure out what’s file to use for different applications.

You can view the jpg below or download the pdf for helpful reference at home.

Image file format matrix containing file types and use cases.


  1. PDFs will display in web browsers, although not as part of a page layout. They are generally used for downloadable files (i.e. brochures, sales sheets, registration form, menu). Please let your user know when they are linking to a PDF.
  2. Print designers will ALWAYS prefer a vector version of your logo (if not, you should reconsider your choice of designer). However, if you do not have a vector version of your logo, a high resolution TIF file is preferred. Never send an image from your website.
  3. If a developer is working on a page layout, he/she may prefer to have a vector version of your logo as well. Please ask which format they would like to work with. In most cases, a jpg or png would be preferable.
  4. EPS files can be raster or vector. However, they cannot be both at the same time. Generally EPS are utilized for vector purposes as TIFs of PSDs have smaller file sizes for raster images. However, there are special cases to use a raster EPS (see 8). Please ensure that your logo files are indeed Vector EPS files before distributing.
  5. TIF files can support a form of transparencies but only when used within certain applications. In most cases where a raster image is required layered PSD files with transparencies are preferred.
  6. JPGs can be saved in CMYK format, however, as the primary application of JPGs is for the web, RGB is preferred. Also, some programs (e.g. some web browsers) cannot preview CMYK JPGs.
  7. GIF files are actually saved as an “indexed” color format, meaning that each pixel is mapped for a specific color and only a limited number of colors are used with in the file. Depending on the design of the image, a gif may display as better quality and/or have a smaller file size when used on the web. The web is the only recommended application for GIF files.
  8. Certain PSDs maybe be saved in a special color format that will allow them to separate into specific spot colors when printed (i.e. duotone, tritone, quadtone). These images may also be saved as raster EPS files. If you will be working with this specialized file type, it is recommended you consult with your designer or the prepress department at your printer before sending your files to press.
  9. These extremely large file sizes require special treatments for mixing vector (text, logos, etc) and raster (photographic) elements. Unless your billboard is entirely vector, it is recommended you consult with a professional to produce the correct type of file for production.
  10. If you are proofing a layout for use on the web, JPGs are a recommended format. They should not be used for proofing printed pieces.