Image file types explained

image file types

Do you get confused about what file types to use and when? And what does PDF stand for anyway? Let’s take a look at the most common file types, what they are and how to use them.


Stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This file format compresses all the data stored within it keeping it lightweight while maintaining its quality. It is the most common and popular image file type as it can be used anywhere from websites to social media. Jpgs are  pixel-based so when scaled greater than 100% they can become pixelated. They also don’t support transparent background so if you need your logo to sit on top of an image it’s not the best choice.


Stands for Portable Networks Graphic. Another popular file type for web as it can save images with a transparent background. It is lower resolution than some other file types so it’s best used in web rather than print. It can have slower upload times as it is not as lightweight as a jpg.


Stands for Encapsulated Post Script. These are often used for logo files or vector-based drawings (created in illustrator). It was originally created in the early 90s by Adobe to enable a file format which could be used across different programs. If you open an eps file in Illustrator you will be able to edit the file. It is best used for logos and vector-based illustration and large scale printing as it can be scaled without losing quality. Cannot be used on social media or web.


Stands for Sociable Vector Graphic. Again, this format is used for vector-based images like logos and can be opened in Adobe Illustrator. Vectors are images that use points and lines rather than pixels, so can be scaled without losing quality or becoming pixelated. Most web designers will use this file format so make sure to ask your designer for your logo in this format. Can’t be used on social media.


Stands for Portable Document Format. This format can be used for both online documents and print documents. Many different programs can create PDFs (e.g. InDesign, Photoshop, Word, Excel etc) – they are best used for multiple page documents as they keep the original layout and can contain all sorts of elements e.g. text, images, logos, graphs. PDF is the preferred file type when sending documents to print.


Stands for Graphics Interchange Format. I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard of this one. Used for short animated graphics on websites or social media. Websites such as allow users to create their own gifs, while Photoshop allows you to combine multiple static images together to create short animations. They can be embedded in websites as well as used in emails and text messages.