Let’s face it: Saving files isn’t part of the sexy stuff when it comes to design…
There’s a reason why it’s so important to know what the dealio is about file breakdowns. That’s because the design you create is going somewhere — to a printer, to a website, to a t-shirt guy, and so on. Knowing how to save your design file correctly will make it easier for your design to get to the right place.
First, you should know the difference between raster and vector images.
A raster image is one that is made up of tiny squares called pixels, and each pixel is assigned a color. It cannot be increased beyond its original size, which means it has a finite limit. When you transform a raster image, you stretch the pixels themselves, which can lead to a blurry image — also known as pixelation. Raster images are typically seen in photos and web graphics.
When you need to resize an image and scale it up and down and backwards and forwards, that’s when a vector file comes in handy. Vector images are based on math equations where every “equation” can be assigned to a color, stroke, or thickness. Because equations can be multiplied or divided, your vector also can be made larger or smaller without losing detail or pixelation. Vector images are typically seen in logos, typesetting, icons, and digital illustrations.
Now that you know about these two categories for image files, let’s get jiggy with it.
First, are you designing for print or the web? Because this will dictate the resolution of your file.
The resolution is the quality of the design or the image and is typically defined as Dots Per Inch, or DPI.
📰 Print Resolution: With print files, 300dpi is ideal because it keeps images from looking pixelated.
💻 Web Resolution: ith web files, you can use 72dpi, which will keep the image clear but load much more quickly.
Another key element to consider is whether your file needs to be lossless or lossy. In a nutshell, it just refers to how the format handles your image data. A lossy image might reduce the amount of colors in your image to better compress the file, while a lossless image will preserve the colors but also save as a larger file.
Now it’s time to decide what file format to save your image in…. check back for part two next week on the deets!