Your designer has finally perfected your logo design and now you’ll need a jpeg of your logo and you’re all set right? Yea, right?! This is further from any truth and making this mistake can be very costly. It is important to understand and know what type of design files need from your graphic designer. There are a range of file types, each having its own specific use and some limitations. Today, I will cover the most commonly used file formats. There has been countless times that I’ve been contacted and asked to “vectorize” an image for a client that has already paid another designer to create their logo. As I have already discussed in a previous blog post (4 Tips for Finding a Graphic Designer), it is also crucially important that your designer is experienced and understands the differences between the files. You should be able to request these file types from any professional graphic designer. Any seasoned designer should know the basics of these files and why handing over a jpg for a logo design is simply unacceptable. Knowing the difference will save you time and money and here’s why. Imagine if you’ve paid someone to design a logo for you only to find out later on down the line that your logo file can’t be used to print t-shirt or much more? You’ve lost touch with that designer or for whatever reason have decided that you no longer will be doing business with that designer, so you now have to find another graphic designer to “vectorize” your logo (we’ll talk about what this ‘vectorize’ word means in a few). Not only do you have to spend more time and energy finding a designer to properly vectorize the logo, but now you have to also pay more money towards a logo that should have been done correctly in the beginning. Please invest in your marketing and branding because professional graphic designers are visual communicators who do more than just make things “look pretty!”
Learn What Type of Logo Design Files You Need
So, I’ve been throwing this ‘vectorize’ word around. Let me expand on that a bit. A vector image is made up of geometric shapes, curves and lines. They are made up of mathematical points which allows the image to be scaled up or down in size without losing quality of the image. Have you ever taken an image offline and tried to resize it and it started to become blurry or pixelated? This is because the file type was a jpeg, png or some file other than a vector file. It is essential that if you get no other type of file from your designer that you get the vector based file. Certain graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator (AI file) are capable of producing vector images. This is the software your designer most likely used to create your logo. (If you designer is using Photoshop or any other non vector based software to create your logo, then we have a whole new set of issues.) Another file that is scalable and vector formatted would be an Ecapsulated PostScript file (EPS). An EPS file is the cousin to a PDF which can also be scalable provided that your designer has saved the PDF file as an editable PDF. If the PDF file is not saved as an editable PDF then you will not be able to resize or change the colors of the logo as needed. Please keep in mind that you will still need the proper software to edit or view some of these files. Although you, the client, may not have access to this type of software, it is still important that you have these types of files to pass along to your printer or any creative professional that you partner with.
It is also important to have your logo file available on a transparent background. Vector editing programs are capable of saving logos on transparent background. You don’t always want to have to use your logo on with a white background behind it. Please view the differences in the example provided on the left.
Now that we have covered what a vector image is, let’s talk about raster images. Files such as jpegs, png, tiff, gif are all raster image files. Although these aren’t always scalable, they are still important and needed. JPG and GIF files are great to use on the internet including web design and banner ads. However, the downside to using a jpg is the white box that will always be included behind. What if you don’t want the white box? That is what the png file is great for! A png file eliminates the white box and give you a transparent background. Please note that if your png file still has a white background then your designer did not save it with a transparent background (this is an easy fix). TIFF files are also extensively supported and output a higher quality image than JPG or GIF files. A TIFF file, which stands for Tagged Image File Format, is generally suitable for both the web and smaller print applications such as stationery.
Black and White Logo files
Because a logo should work in all formats, you may want to consider asking your designer for a black and white version of your logo. The general rule of thumb is a logo should work in black and white before it can possible work in color. Requesting a white on black version and a grayscale version is not a bad idea either. This gives you a full range of options and you’ll have what you need.
Logo files for Print and Web
Finally, be sure to get your logo in two different color modes. CMYK color is used for designs that will be printed whereas RGB color mode is used for designs that will be used/viewed on a screen such as website or phone application. Because logos are used in a variety of different mediums, you’ll need to ensure your graphic designer provides you with both formats. I recommend that when you save these files to your computer and external storage that you label one folder “Print” and the other “Web” so that you never get the two confused. Printing something tha tis in RGB color mode can yield unpredictable printing results just as displaying a CMYK color mode image can yield unpredictable color display. If you’ve ever noticed a drastic color different in an image you’ve looked at on one mobile device and then it is become a totally different color on anther one, this is a prime example of the image being in the wrong image mode.
Now, Get to know those files!
As always, I aim to motivated and educate. Please feel free to leave comments and questions below or if you feel more comfortable, please send me an email via the contact form at thee top right corner of this page! Now, go get to know your logo files!