So you’ve found a great graphic designer to make a logo for you. Perfect. Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for the final design to be sent to you. But have you considered what kind of logo files you’ll need? From .jpg to .psd, file types have very different uses and purposes.
Once you’ve received your final designs from your freelancer, the project is finished. So the designer is well within their rights to charge if you need extra logo files. Avoid this by knowing which logo files you need, and ask for them to be sent with the final design.
The file type you need depends on how you’re going to use your logo. Logos can be displayed everywhere from a website to a billboard to a business card to a vehicle. You may need to display your logo very small on a keyring, or extra large on a poster. There are a variety of file types for dealing with these situations. Getting all the right file types means you’ve future-proofed yourself against any potential display issues you encounter. In short, you’ll be able to use your logo anywhere.
We’ll walk you through the basics and explain the different logo files, why you need them and where you’ll use them.
Vector vs raster:
Let’s start with the basics. When it comes to image files there are two main types – raster image and vector image.
Raster images (also known as bitmap images) are images with a fixed size. Photos are raster images. To make a raster image larger, you have to stretch it. This means the image may end up pixelated. Photoshop is a common raster image editor.
Vectors on the other hand, are the opposite. They’re usually edited in a program like Illustrator and they can be resized to any size without losing quality.
In the example, see how the re-sized raster image on the right is pixelated and blurry, whereas the vector stayed crisp. The file types listed in this article are either vector or raster, and they should be used in different ways.
Print vs Screen:
No matter what the file type, they need to be saved with different conditions depending on how you’re going to use them. To use your images on screen (anything digital) they need to be saved at 72dpi and in RGB colour mode. To use your images for print they need to be saved at 300dpi and in CMYK colour mode. Your designer should know all about what mode to save your logo files in. Just let them know if you need files for screen and/or print, and they should send them over accordingly.
JPEGs (or .jpg) are a type of of raster file. They’re usually created in an image editing software package like Photoshop. Because they’re raster, if you try to re-size them you may lose quality and get some pixelation. This means they should be made at the size you want to use them at.
JPEGs always have to have a background colour. You can’t have a JPEG with a transparent background. If you try to save an image with a transparent background as JPEG, the file will be saved with a white background. Think ahead and tell your designer what colour backgrounds you’ll need on your logos. Black and white are the most common and cover most bases
JPEGs can easily be placed in Word documents, emails, pdfs etc. They can be printed or used on screen.
PNGs are another type of raster image, but better for use on screen rather than print. The great thing about PNGs is that they can be created with a transparent background, unlike JPEGs.
They’re a lossless file type, which means they can be compressed to a small size without losing any quality. Which makes them perfect for digital projects where file size matters. JPEGs can often lose quality when they are compressed.
AI files are created in Illustrator, which is a vector image editing software package. Any files created in Illustrator are vector, which means they can be scaled up or down to any size without losing quality. It’s most likely that your designer will create your logo in a vector image package like Illustrator. You should ask for the AI files from your designer. You won’t be able to view or open them if you don’t have Illustrator. But they’re useful to have if you ever need to pass them on to another designer to work on.
You can also send them to any professional printers that use Illustrator when you need to have your logos printed.
EPS – The holy grail of logo files:
EPS files are created in vector image editing packages like Illustrator. They’re another type of vector file, but one that can universally be read by any vector editing software, not just Illustrator. So, these are really useful and important for you to have – you should make sure your designer sends you these. If you work with another design professional or printer that doesn’t have Illustrator, they’ll be able to use your EPS files no bother.
You probably won’t be able to open or view the EPS file, and it can’t be placed in an email or word document. But, it’s definitely one of the most, if not the most important logo file you can have. Think of it like the source file for you logo.
PSDs are files that are created in Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop you won’t be able to open or view the files, but they can be useful to have in case anyone asks for them in the future. Photoshop is an image editing software package, so it creates raster files. Your designer may not be able to send you PSD files, because more often than not they’ll create your logo in Illustrator. But, incase your designer created your logo, or a version of your logo, in Photoshop, make sure to ask for the files.