May 15, 2019Comments are off for this post.

GIF, JPEG, AI, EPS, huh? A guide to graphic file formats

Updated 5/2019.

At least once a week I'm sent files that were *gasp* downloaded off the internet, or a tiny, pixelated version of a complicated logo — which, inevitably, falls apart in print or even on the web. This can result in higher printer fees and more time recreating or digging up the right files.

Graphic file formats don't have to be a mystery once you learn the basics, and your printer will thank you for it!

For print: 

  • .AI [Adobe Illustrator]
  • .EPS [Encapsulated PostScript]
  • .TIFF [Tagged Image File Format]
  • .PDF [Printer Document Format]
For web: 

  • .JPEG or .JPG
  • .GIF [Graphics Interchange Format]
  • .PNG [Portable Network Graphics]

Vector vs. bitmap

Why the distinction? It's vector vs. bitmap graphics.

Vector graphics, like those created in Adobe Illustrator, are made of shapes created by mathematical equations, and can be enlarged to pretty much any size with no loss of quality.

On the other hand, graphics created in Adobe Photoshop [and of course photos!] are bitmap, or pixel-based. This isn't an absolute, but for our purposes it's a good distinction. When you zoom in on a bitmap, like below, you can start to see the pixels, and the loss of quality of the original graphic is pretty obvious. The JPEG may look all right on screen, but consider handing out materials with a blurry logo—definitely not professional.

VectorBitmapExampleIf you do have only a bitmap, it should be at least 150dpi [dots per inch] or, ideally, 300dpi without enlarging it to still look good.

Looking further

Even within these two big distinctions, there are further breakdowns.

TIFFs should only be used at 100% of size or smaller, and a PDF or EPS file is usually ideal for any printing situation. Keep in mind though, if you just re-save a JPEG or other web file as a EPS or other print file, it won't make that artwork go up in quality! If the data isn't there, it's just not there.

Also, GIFs, JPEGs and PNGS exist for a reason. GIFs often create the smallest file sizes, and support transparency, whereas JPEGS do not allow transparency. PNGs are hit or miss, but offer transparency and, to me, a cleaner transparent look since there's usually more data to give a cleaner transition to transparency.

Make sure you have each of these graphic file formats on hand, of your logo and any other critical brand materials—it'll save time and money!

April 30, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Copyright and protecting your content in WordPress

Updated April 2019.

Protecting one's images and text online is an important topic, and one I tackled at my Chicago Creative Expo WordPress talk in March.

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March 5, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Upcoming WordPress talks in CA, IL, PA

I will be at a few WordPress talks this year, and I'm so proud of these organizations and their amazing conferences!  Read more

June 3, 2015Comments are off for this post.

The geeky route to Nashville: StartupBus North America

Hackathons, those lately ubiquitous marathons of design, tech and inspiration, have always been a fun way to take myself  out of my client mindset. Build an app that begs to be made? Solve a problem with a team thrown together just an hour before? It’s all in a weekend’s work, and the late hours, the wild brainstorming and camaraderie usually stay with me. Read more

May 26, 2015Comments are off for this post.

Engaging with Snapchat

Last in my SMSS tips series (also see Pinterest and Instagram tricks) is Snapchat.

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May 11, 2015Comments are off for this post.

Instagram tricks

English: A collage showing a photograph, along...

English: A collage showing a photograph, along with the same photograph processed through all 15 filters in the iOS app Instagram (as of the date of creation in April 2011) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being so visual, I do love Instagram (and have changed my name recently, to WorkTravelTech). Until recently I hadn't pursued it, especially for growing an audience. Cat Chung spoke on Instagram at SMSS Chicago 2015, and had some brief and fabulous tips: Read more

May 5, 2015Comments are off for this post.

Pinterest tips from SMSS Chicago 2015

It seems like every other day there's a new social media outlet and ways to strategize for your business. Pinterest has been around for a while now, and these tips picked up at SMSS Chicago 2015 should fuel your pinning obsession for more than just a wish list. Shared by Cat Chung, these do help systemize Pinterest. Read more

August 13, 2014Comments are off for this post.

Why I’m (still) an Apple fangirl

English: Mosaic of Apple Inc., using: File:App...

Working in the design and tech industries for a while now, I've run into a lot of PC v. Mac fights. And I try to stay out of them, mostly because I feel you should use the best tool available to you. Frankly, we'll never change each other minds anyway. Read more

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