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Cooperation with graphic designers from other similar companies is very important in my job. We send each other a lot of files that we have to edit and then send further. The problem is, each one graphic designer uses different programs. For example, I'm using Adobe package, some other designer using Corel, some other GIMP, and so on.

My company makes plastic parts of shutters. We have many smaller companies inside and designers have full freedom for programs they are using. There is problem with converting each one file because - for example - someone can't read .eps, other one .cdr, etc. So finally we are using converters, which is bad for quality.

The question is: How can I effectively work with other graphic designers?

I thought that maybe we should all find one file extension, but we are all doing works of various kinds - from 3D models, to "beautiful" price lists with a lot of design things, like various backgrounds, feather-opacity headers, tables of contents, we are also doing logotypes, banners... The problem is, that for each kind of work we are also using different versions of programs and we often need to convert these files.

  • @ZachSaucier I think they're not dupes because it's all from one company perspective, not exchanging files between different companies with different software. – Luciano Jul 24 '18 at 15:55
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    What's the final output? What does your company do? Are all these programs used on every job? You need to add more detail to this. – Ovaryraptor Jul 24 '18 at 16:14
  • @Ovaryraptor - edit, thank you for your comment. I'm not sure if I understand you correctly, but surely we find properly answer. SZCZERZO KŁY 's answer is very good by now. – Sylwester Pilarz Jul 24 '18 at 17:02
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Oh boy, this is PIA.
First you need to establish who is final recipient of the file. If you then people sending files for you should adjust to yours filetypes.
Unfortunately you have a lot of variables. So that's thing need to be decides first. I will omit 3D models because I only know about existence od Zbrush and Blender but not their filetypes.
Pricelist/tables - you can either work in indd and save files with imdl (also helpful as this type removes any plugins) OR, if somebody is using Quark, Publisher or something else, store data in excel files and distribute them with layout pdf with noted styles.

Vector graphic Unfortunately the only bearable format between Corel-AI-Inkscape is SVG or SGVZ. Files should be distributed with respective jpg of said files. So the sender will know what you should see. It removes "oh there should be subtle shadow under that 16K gradient" form communication.
When opening svg you can compare it with raster file and see what is lost.

Raster files - here lies TIFF territory. Nothing else cut in. Unfortunately, some software will have problems with large size and dimension tiff. Then you need to save multiple tiffs with less amount of layers that, when combined, will produce final file.

You will, or you are, probably getting tables made in Corel. I usually send back such files and request layout and excel file. Corel have in it's name DRAW. It's not a software for desktop publishing. Making tables, multiple page documents in Corel is like running with one leg when you have two.

Bottom line ALWAYS request closed raster preview file. It will save you a lot of trouble and sometimes stop sender when they see that what they're exporting is not what they see in program.

  • I'm using InDesign for tables and unfortunately... I'm the only one in that group... It's better for me to use InDesign, because we have a lot of stuff in that tables and I have full control of what I'm doing. Too bad that no one can open that .indd files:D – Sylwester Pilarz Jul 24 '18 at 11:26
  • It may be for better. I'm old and grumpy enough to think that if somebody don't have/use InDesign they don't should open that file. And I know from experience that I will do things in InDesign faster and more accurate that other people in their programs. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 24 '18 at 12:03
  • No one of those extra-Adobe programs can open or manage .pdf files? I just saw on internet there are some pdf2cdr. – Danielillo Jul 24 '18 at 14:17
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    The problem is that they can open it. But not exactly properly. They work fine if you have few lines and curved text. The more you carry in PDf the more probably it will open badly. It work both way so PDF from Ai opened in Corel or Corel PDF opened in Illustrator. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 24 '18 at 14:47
  • No, no, please stop! Stop asumming things, you guys are going to add more problems to the mix! I am preparing my answer. – Rafael Jul 24 '18 at 18:04
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There are several issues here.

One is software related, the other is a methodology one.

I will address the software first. It is the easy one, but I'll be mixing tips for the methodology.

File types

1. Source files.

A JPG photo, a raw image from a camera. But also Excel files, word files. Please avoid text on emails or WhatsApp messages as source files.

2. Working files.

PSD, AI, CDR, INDD. But also Excell files, Word, etc. If someone is working on a project, let that person work on the project. If that part of the process is not done, do not send it to someone else yet.

3. Output files.

A pdf is NOT an exchange file. It is NOT about the program reading the PDF, it is for specific characteristics of the PDF files that fixes stuff inside precisely so this content does not move. It is the output format for vector files.

Forget EPS. It is an archaic format replaced by PDF.

For raster images one option is TIF, another is if you really know what are you doing, PNG or JPG.

A flat PSD can also be an output file. Gimp can read them, PhotoPaint can read them.

4. Exchange files.

Here the point is what can we read from another file.

Detailed effects and specific filters can potentially not open even if you are using not only the same application and version if you simply do not have a specific plugin. So separate a base file from a effects file.

You can also do not have a working file if you have fonts missing.

Corel can export and import AI files. Just check the version you can open and save. Try to use the latest one your applications can work with.

CorelDraw Export dialog.

enter image description here

Do NOT use converters! pdf2Cdr!!?? When the application can natively open them!

Gimp can open PSD files. PhotoPaint can open PSD files.

But we can make a long list of files that can simply be opened with different applications. That is your homework.


But you have a bigger issue.

Why a price list should be sent to a "design" department... the design department should make a template so the admin one just works with it.

Why do people not simply use Excel for tables? Open office can use them, MS office, AI, Corel Draw, Indesign.

You need to define workflows, probably by department, by function.

Define priorities. And make decisions.

For big projects probably limit to some applications, probably Adobe. If ppl need to switch just do it.

For middle local projects, limit the applications on that local project, but use professional ones. CorelDraw, Illustrator. Do not use a wide range if you want consistency.

For a one time project, for example, a Facebook post, use the smaller programs like gimp.

Define your workflow!

Some parts of the process are open, then you have a stage where you decide which application, person or department is going to do what. You still have some flexibility on a part of the stage. But there is a point where you stay with the process. and then you generate an output file.

enter image description here

This process can be nested, can be big, can be small, can be repeated. But define them!

  • About price list - we don't have a "design department" and that's the point: we know the mechanisms of each part in products, so we can prepare renders, we know its names, weight, dimensions, etc. Our offices are distant from each other about 30-35 km, so we are compelled to work "online". I can't force that people who learned using Corel to switch to Photoshop for example. Especially this applies to 3D modelling programs, because this is our priority. – Sylwester Pilarz Jul 25 '18 at 6:11
  • But again, define your process. Photoshop is not the same as Corel, of course that has no sense. But if someone is making price lists, they should be doing them in Word or Corel, not in Photoshop. – Rafael Jul 25 '18 at 11:01
  • I agree, but boss send it to his clients and demand to keep it as beauty as possible (with backgrounds, photos, lines with feather opacity, etc.), so - for me - it would be very difficult to do that in Word. I didn't mention that in my question, sorry for that. – Sylwester Pilarz Jul 25 '18 at 11:13

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