EN Business Academy: Know Your Image File Types

EN Business Academy helps eventers learn how to turn their love for horses into a viable business. Margaret Rizzo McKelvy, president of equine marketing and management company Mythic Landing Enterprises, writes this weekly series. Have a business question for the column? Email [email protected], and be sure to visit www.mythiclanding.com.


While horse professionals do not need to be experts in graphic design, if you’re going to be placing any type of ad or getting any logo wear made for your farm, it’s helpful to know some basic lingo when dealing with your graphic designer. At the end of the day, there are tons of file formats, but the below three file types are the most versatile and most used. (Thanks to Wikipedia for some of the more technical definitions.)

If you’re placing online ads for sale horses …

You can use any JPEG or .jpg photo. By definition, the term “JPEG” is an acronym for the Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created the standard. But what you really need to know is that a JPEG is the most common image format used by digital cameras or other photo capturing devices, such as your phone. Some phones will also save your photos as a TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) or PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file, and that’s completely fine too, and most online sites will accept these file types as well. If you’ve ordered photos from a professional photographer, just be aware that they may be too large of a file to upload to some online sale horse sites. No problem though! Simply go to your toolbar and adjust the file size, and you’ll be good to go!

If you’re ordering logo wear …

If you are ordering some swanky new logo wear for yourself and your team, you will need to make sure you have your logo in a vectored file format. The two most common vector file formats, and the two that you will probably run into most, are EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) and AI (Adobe Illustrator). Vector images contain a geometric description, which can be made larger and smaller without losing any quality. JPEGs, TIFFs and PNGs are all in the “raster image” or “bitmap image” category, which means that they are based on pixels, so when you change their size, you risk losing the quality of the image.



Another benefit to vector images is that they are self-contained files that can be placed into other documents. In real-people speak and for your purposes, this means that you can place your logo on a blank background. So imagine a black piece of paper on your desk. If you were to place a JPEG or PDF of your logo on this paper, there would be a white background around your logo. If you place a vectored image of your logo on this paper, only your logo will appear on the paper without any white.

Vector image files are also really versatile in that graphic designers are able to manipulate them better to have more creative options. If for some reason your graphic designer did not give you your logo in a vectored image file when you have it done, you should go back to them and ask them to provide that for you. If this isn’t an option, it is possible to have a new graphic designer re-create your logo and save it for you as a vectored image file.

If you’re creating an ad …

Let me preface this by saying that I highly recommend hiring a graphic designer for ad design. I find that the quality of their design will make the cost well worth it. And you may be surprised at how reasonable some graphic designers’ rates are. But in any case, when placing a display ad for a magazine, they will probably want it in PDF format. By definition, PDF stands for Portable Document Format and each file includes all of the information (including text, fonts, graphics, etc.) to display the file.

If you’re placing a banner ad for a web site, they will probably want it in JPEG format. You should be aware that every web site and publication has their own set of advertising specifications and requirements. To make sure that you’re not wasting time having to re-size or re-design something, it is best to check these first so that your graphic designer knows exactly what they are working with from the beginning. Every time you send changes to your graphic designer, it is going to cost you money. And if you’re hiring a graphic designer on a piece rate basis, it is your job to give them the correct ad specifications. So just make sure that you have all your ducks in a row when contacting your graphic designer.

Special thanks to Onawa Rock, MLE’s talented graphic designer, for her help with this week’s article!

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