Which File Formats Are Best for Printing?

Choosing the correct file format for printing might be challenging. The file format you choose relies on your print job and the outcomes you’re wanting, so the answer isn’t that straightforward. Among a plethora of other queries, one that comes to mind is “Should I save it as a PDF?”

Let’s First Discuss Raster and Vector Images

What you’re looking for will determine how this works. But let’s first examine a few fundamental concepts.

We need to discuss the distinctions between vector and raster images before deciding on the most specific file format for your printing requirements. Long-term, this will assist you in creating print-ready media.

Images: Raster vs. Vector

Digital picture construction can be done in two different ways: raster and vector. Pixels make up raster images, which are more frequently used. Traditionally, when we take pictures or make web graphics, we use pixels.

Of course, pixelation is a drawback of pixels. A zoomed-in image becomes blurry. Raster images might thus result in fuzzy printed materials when used to create large-format printed materials like billboards.

RAW file types usually offer the best resolution when printing raster images. Unfortunately, many printers on the market won’t print such a huge, uncompressed file.

As an alternative, some printers utilize TIFF/TIF, a file format widely used in the publishing and photographic sectors. Although these files are large, the final image is of great quality for further printing.

Contrarily, geometric forms are used to make vector images. This implies that you may effectively extend them to any extent without losing any detail, sharpness, or clarity.

The ideal file type to use when printing vector images is PDF. It can preserve the fine detail of intricate vector images and is a widely accepted file format. Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files used to create vector graphics are first scaled in editors like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop before being exported as PDF files.

Which File Formats Are Best for Printing?

What File Formats Are Acceptable?

There are other file types besides TIFF/TIF and PDF that you can utilize. What you want to achieve with your finished printed product will determine which one is ideal. Additional file formats include the following:

Probably the most popular image format is JPEG. It is a raster (pixel-based) compressed format for images and graphics. The compression settings can be changed with ease.

  • JPEGs can be used for all kinds of print projects, including brochures, magazines, packaging, and posters, by using a low compression setting.
  • AI – The default picture format while using Adobe Illustrator is AI. It exports in numerous different formats, including  PDF, TIFF/TIF or JPEG.
  • PSD – PSD will be your default file type if Photoshop is your preferred program. The only disadvantage is that printers typically do not support this format, therefore you must export your files into TIFF/TIF or JPEG before printing.
Which File Formats Are Best for Printing?

Using a CMYK color model for printing

Which File Formats Are Best for Printing?

You must select a color model when saving a raster image in your editing program. Additive and subtractive color models are the two fundamental types. Make sure to select a CMYK color model when printing. Here’s the skinny.

RGB is the most used additive model. This approach, which is employed for producing digital material, turns light into color. Red, green, and blue are combined to make other colors (hence the name). Because white is produced when all three colors of light are concurrently presented at the same intensity using the RGB color model, it is known as an additive color model. Conversely, it generates black if the lights are out. You must print using the CMYK model.

In order to remove white from an image, the CMYK color model adds pigment in the form of ink or dye. Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are the four ink colors used. This paradigm, which printers employ in their workflow, yields the highest color clarity

Learn How to Get Your Artwork Ready for Printing From Professionals

We might understand if checking that your file is a PDF is the least of your concerns when deadlines are coming and time is running out before you begin your web campaign.

We at SplashOut are constantly working to simplify things for our clients. This is why we’ve put together a fantastic print guide to help you at every stage of making your print. You can get further advice on preparing artwork for print by getting in touch with us.