Aren't all image files the same? 

Image File Types

By Jozzelle De Jesus | Published on 2021/11/05 at 2:50 am
The short answer is no. If you’re confused with this answer and you’re running a business that uses images on a daily basis (which is pretty much all businesses these days), then you better better continue reading because you might learn something today that will benefit you tomorrow.
There are so many different image types that we decided to narrow it down to the ones that you will encounter the most (most likely while using photoshop):

Image file types that your standard computer knows

.JPG/.JPEG is the most common image type. This is the “rat” of all images. I call this the rat because it is the worst file to keep. This type of image is compressed and loses some of the image data to make a smaller file which is why this is called a “lossy” compression. Although it is not ideal to use a JPEG in editing, it can still be edited if it has a large resolution; just don’t expect anything great if you’re giving your designer anything under 1080 x 1080 pixels.
JPEG and JPG files are the same but JPG exists because in early Windows (MS-DOS 8.3 and FAT-16 file systems), a three letter extension for the file names were required.

How it helps you

Understanding that these are the worst of the image files mean that you need to check if your JPEGs are large enough in resolution for your designers/photo editors to make their changes. That means right-clicking and checking it’s properties to see that it is not a small pixel size (A standard HD is 1080×1920 pixels so anything smaller is not great).

How it helps you

GIFs give you a good option to have animation in your website. Just keep the GIF size small and the animation in a short 5 second loop so that it doesn’t make your site run slower.

GIFs are commonly used for images on the web but have a different type of compression that is “lossless”. However, this is an early type of image that is only 8-bit so it can only hold up to 256 colours. Recently, GIFs have also been able to carry transparency and are now commonly used for animations.
We have been asked a few times if we could make custom GIFS. Yes we can, but if you were planning on uploading it to Facebook or Instagram, the process is more complicated. Facebook and Instagram use a service called GIPHY where you would need to create a profile and be approved as an artist. There is no readily given guidelines in how you can be approved.
PNGs are the best of all image files. This is a “lossless” image format that was designed to replace GIFs. PNGs contain more colour information than the GIF file and are usually better at handling the image data than JPEG files. The most notable difference is that PNGs can show transparency compared to a JPEG which turns any area without colour information to show an image thumbnail of either a white or a black colour.

How it helps you

More often than not, we get clients asking us: “Why can’t I see the white logo?”. This is because we provide a PNG file where there is no colour information around the white logo. A computer thumbnail usually treats this area without colour as “white” or “black”; it’s the luck of the draw. However, when your designer drops the image into a design software, this helps them place interesting backgrounds behind it.

The ones that you'll need special software for

How it helps you

Believe it or not, this can let you know if you are dealing with an amateur or professional photographer. If your photographer is shooting in RAW files then they are able to edit your photos on another level from an amateur who shoots in JPEG files.

TIFF are lossless image files but also retain more information than the PNG or GIF, allowing for very high-quality images but also larger file sizes. TIFF files are commonly used by photographers as it can retain information regarding lighting and exposure.

RAW are unprocessed images created by a camera or scanner. Many DSLR cameras can shoot in RAW but the file extension may vary. These RAW images are the digital equivalent of a negative and still need to be processed in an editor like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

EPS files are vector files and can be resized without making the image pixelated. EPS files can be exported out of Adobe Illustrator after creating an image with the pen tool. What are vector files? The short answer is that vector files are shapes created from mathematically calculated points. What does this mean? If you zoom in on a vector image, it remains crisp and doesn’t go pixelated. We always provide EPS files for a logo design as logos can be used in a variety of sizes.

These are Photoshop files that store a lot of information, including your editing data. The main difference is that .PSB files are relatively new compared to the .PSD files and are significantly larger. Photoshop files largely belong to designers and are what we refer to as “Working Files” or “Editable Files”. This is because we can return to these files and re-design the whole image. Some clients will ask for this file and our agency can provide this at a fee.

How it helps you

EPS and Photoshop files cannot be previewed or opened by regular computers. This means you need to pay for your own software to edit/view this file or simply leave it to the experts.

If this article helped you or you simply want an expert advice on this topic, feel free to send a message to

Jozzelle De Jesus

Multimedia Designer

Jozzelle has been working professionally in the graphic design area since 2006 and tackled freelance design and animation since 2011. She has acquired a Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (Animation) back in 2012 and completed a Cert IV in Training and Assessment in 2013. These days, she teaches graphic design with RTO's whilst she continues her work with current clients. If you would like to work with Jozzelle, please email