Answering your technical questions in layman terms.

If you have any questions related to the world of print or web, please send them though this form and we will answer them quickly. We may even post them here.

Q: What is the difference between PDFs, JPGs, PNGs and EPS file formats?

A: Some of these file formats are Pixel Based and some are Vector. First, you need to know the fundamental differences between these two kinds of computer graphics. Raster is composed of pixels and Vector is composed of paths. These paths are mathematical calculations from one point to another that form lines and shapes. Raster images pixelate (blur) when enlarged and vector images can be enlarged to any size without distortion. See example below.JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a raster Pixel Based format that compresses digital images, particularly those images produced by digital photography. A JPG is a preferred format for web because, when optimized properly, the compression allows for smaller files which will download webpages quicker.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is also a raster Pixel Based graphics file format that is the most widely used image compression format on the Internet and can also be viewed on most computers with limited programs.

Here is the major difference between them…

JPGs have to be squared off. If you have an odd shaped JPG, it will create a white box around it. PNGs, when properly created, have transparent backgrounds and will not square off.

 EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) is a Vector Based graphics file format. Because it is vector based, it is the popular choice for professional printers and graphic designers. As mentioned above, vector images can be enlarged to any size without distortion. EPS files are created and edited in illustration programs such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. Layout applications, such as PageMaker, Quark or Microsoft Word, will be able to place an EPS file, not open it.

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a versatile file format that takes all the elements of a document as an electronic image that you can view, print, or forward to someone else. It was designed to create transferable documents that can be shared across multiple computer platforms. A free program, Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to open a PDF.

Note: If you send a Microsoft Word document to someone and they do not have the fonts you used, they may not see the document the same way you do. However, if you save the Word document as a PDF, it will capture the fonts within itself and the end user will see it correctly.

Q: I'm told the photo pulled from my website can't be used on my brochure. Why? And what does "Pixelation" mean?

A: Photos and graphics appearing on websites are set at 72 pixels per inch (ppi). Preparing photos or art for printing requires 300 pixels per inch. The blurry distortion you see, stair stepping (jagged edges) and patches of color instead of smooth gradations of color, is what is called Pixelation. This occurs when you try to force those 72 pixels to do the job of 300. The resolution is just not high enough to give you a clean printable image. Take a 2″ photo off the internet and double its size to 4″. It reduces the 72 ppi in half. Now you have a 4″ photo that will print at 36ppi instead of the 300 it needs.

Q: What is WordPress? Themes? Plugins?

A: WordPress is a free open-source website creation tool with a built-in CMS (content management system). The CMS is located in a password protected admin area where an individual can enter and, with a little training, make their own text & image changes.  When properly engineered, the resulting site creation will respond and fit all devices properly from smart phone and tablet to laptop and desktop computer. Over
32% of all sites across the web are now using this versatile software.

A simplistic way to explain WordPress is by comparing its similarities with a motor vehicle.

The Engine and Drive Train of the car.

The outward appearance of a vehicle is dictated by the the shape, color, number of windows and seats, and the type; compact, luxury, SUV,
etc. In the world of WordPress, you would pick a Theme (one of approx. 20,000) which is a preformatted template. When placed on the server, that Theme defines the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software (WordPress).

When purchasing a vehicle, there are options that come standard. However, many times you want something extra. For example, instead of cloth seats, you want leather. In WordPress, if you don’t like the Calendar set up that comes standard with your chosen theme, you can introduce outside calendar software that you desire…a plugin. It is estimated that there are over 45,000 possible plugins to choose from.

Important Note: Quality Themes and Plugins are constantly updated. Updates are made because the author added valuable advancements to its functionality or, to correct problems found in a previous version or, increase its security to avoid a found vulnerability. When chosen Themes and Plugins haven’t been recently updated, a risk of security is possible.