If you’re sending graphics to be used in posters or banners, it’s a sad fact that any small flaw will be magnified just by virtue of the fact that it’s bigger. Happily, though, there are ways to head off any image errors at the pass just by looking at your needs and knowing your file formats. That means that you’ll have to work out what’s essential for your stand, taking into account the size of the equipment you’re ordering and where you want the graphics to sit, whether you want them curved or straight, and have an idea of what the finished product should look like.
What are the main file extensions I should know about?
The three main image extensions you’ll see around (aside from the internet’s favourite of a moving GIF, which for obvious reasons can’t work on a banner) are JPG or JPEG, BMP and PNG.
JPG/JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Expert Group
BMP stands for Bitmap
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics.
All image formats can be split into three categories; lossless compression, lossy compression, and uncompressed.
What’s the difference?
Lossy compression means that when you save the file in this kind of format, the picture experiences a loss in quality. The more times you save this kind of file, the lower the picture quality will get.
Lossless compression means that the file, when saved, will not experience any loss in picture quality; however, these files are generally bigger than lossy compression files.
Uncompressed images are large, but experience no loss in picture quality because they remain uncompressed.
What file format should I use?
As JPGs or JPEGs are a form of lossy compression, it is best not to use these for sending big, intricate files; the quality will almost always suffer.
PNG is the most popular form of lossless compression image saving on the entire internet. It’s a fairly safe way of sending your artwork over email or uploading it onto a file sharing network. They also support a wide range of colours, which mean that your company’s signature colour is more likely to be successfully saved and sent.
BMPs have very large files, and unfortunately might not send easily over a network because of the amount of data they keep.
In conclusion, then, PNGs are one of the safer bets when it comes to sending artwork.