What Are Some Common Image Types?

by: Kyle Jones

Human Resource professionals are often required to do more than just the traditional HR duties.  We might be asked to create employee newsletters, forms and a variety of other items where images are required.  Using the right image for the right publication is key.  Knowing which type of file to use when is vital.

I’ve spent hours working on a presentation only to discover that it looks like crap – for lack of a better word – when finished.   I’ve learned a bit from trial-and-error and I’ve found that certain types of files are meant for different projects.   This may be elementary for a graphic designer but it isn’t when we don’t use these tools as they do.  (Just as a graphic designer might not understand the difference between FMLA and COBRA.)

I’ve provided a list and a brief description of those file types below.


Types of Images from HR to WHO by Kyle Jones

File Types

Before discussing this we need to take a look at image file compression.  There are two types:  Lossy and Lossless.

According to Wikipedia, Lossy compression:

Lossy compression algorithms preserve a representation of the original 
uncompressed image that may appear to be a perfect copy, but it is not a perfect 
copy. Oftentimes lossy compression is able to achieve smaller file sizes than lossless compression. Most lossy compression algorithms allow for variable 
compression that trades image quality for file size.

According to Wikipedia, Lossless compression:

Lossless compression algorithms reduce file size while preserving a perfect copy 
of the original uncompressed image. Lossless compression generally, but not 
exclusively, results in larger files than lossy compression. Lossless compression should be used to avoid accumulating stages of re-compression when editing images.

This file is used in the Windows OS.  It is uncompressed and fairly large.  It is limited by the fact that it is not used on other operating systems.HR to WHO The Spark Within


The Graphical Interchange Format is limited to an 8-bit palette or 256 colors.  This would not be a good choice for an image with complex colors or design.  It would, however, be a good choice for a two-color logo.


The Tagged Image File Format is a very flexible format.  This can be a positive as well as a negative as no single reader exists for every format of TIFF.  This has happened to me with fax images that were unable to be opened.  For that reason and the resulting frustration it caused, I won’t speak further of TIFF.


The Joint Photographic Experts Group is actually a compression method even though it is how we “name” the file.  The actual file type is JFIF which means JPEG File Interchange Format.  It is widely used and the compression can range from very high to very low.  This is the favorite for many.


The Portable Network Graphics is a highly used format today due to its ability to translate for viewing in web browsers.

There are many more image types based on the type of program used or for the purpose.

What is your favorite?  What do you find to work best?


Information courtesy of Wikipedia


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