What format should you save your file as? Programs like Photoshop will give you a plethora of options but we’re going to focus on the most common ones. In this blog post, we’re going to explain the differences between the formats and which ones are best for print.
The first and probably the most commonly used format is the JPEG (or JPG) file. It’s the most versatile of all the file types and can be used for both print and web. Since it’s the most widely used option so you’ll have the least trouble with it. The biggest drawback would be that it is a lossy file type, meaning that you lose a little bit of information every time you open and re-save the file. To minimize the lossy problem, Photoshop gives you the option of the level of quality you want to retain with 1 being the lowest and 12 being the highest.
This file type is probably your best bet if you have a file with a lot of colors and photos in it. It’s a lossless file type meaning you won’t lose any information in your file every time you open and close it. The main issue with TIFF is the size. Since there’s no compression of any kind, you’re going to deal with some pretty big file sizes.
The PNG file format is the (relatively) new kid on the block. PNG files have begun to replace the GIF file type as the go-to format for websites. It doesn’t have the compression problem that GIF has and they’re smaller than JPEG files.
You’ll want to stay away from the GIF format if you plan on printing your file. GIF’s are great for web use because they load quickly but it’s only because the files get very compressed.
The PSD format is similar to TIFF because it’s lossless and file sizes are generally pretty large. With PSD files you can save the layers instead of flattening them, which is great if you need to alter some of the file content but when you’re at the printing stage, this format isn’t necessary. This is more of a work-in-progress file type. The only real drawback with this file type is that you need Photoshop to work with it.