Which logo file formats do you need?

I explain which logo file formats you should ask your designer for.

Category: Graphic Design | Tags:

A new logo is an exciting investment for any business and ensuring you have the correct logo file formats is really important.

I’ve designed a lot of logos and ensuring my clients have the correct logo file types they need is just one reason they choose a professional logo designer like me over a logo builder website.

Your logo design will be used in different situations. At some point, it will need to appear both large or small, black or white, on print or the web. Whatever the outcome, as a professional designer, I want to do all I can to ensure it looks good in every one of them.

Logo File Formats

Vector vs Raster

Firstly, I’ll explain the main difference between logo design file types. There are two main categories of logo design files: Vector and Raster.

Vector Files

A vector file can be scaled to any size without any loss of quality. This is because it’s built up from mathematically precise points. You can see how a vector shape is built up in the image below. Each shape is made up of ‘Anchor Points’ which can be adjusted as a group or targeted individually.

Vector Lettering Example

You can see how a vector shape is built up in this image above, from Design Tuts tutorial; Hand Lettering: How to Vector Your Letterforms.

 

Vector files are the file type your client will require to get anything professionally printed, or if they need design work carried out by another designer, for example; Uniform embroidery, vehicle printing, pens etc.

Vector files are intended for use in printing, so they are provided in CMYK colour mode. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This may sound familiar as these four colours are used to make up the colours in a full colour printed page. You’ve probably purchased CMYK ink cartridges for your printer at home. There are also special inks that can be used in some instances, such as Pantone’s.

If you get only one file type of your logo, make sure it’s a vector file. This is the file type which can be converted to any other file type with the correct software and is, therefore, the most versatile.

Vector file types

There are four main vector formats include AI, EPS, PDF and SVG files.

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript

An EPS file is a graphic format for vector-based images. They’re used for printing and editing purposes and are commonly referred to as “working files” or “master files.”

What are the benefits of EPS files? 

  • Easily scalable for print (can be as large as a billboard and as small as a postage stamp)
  • Vector file format
  • Editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop
  • Supports transparent backgrounds

Use EPS files to put your logo on:

  • Print materials (business cards, posters, brochures, and more)
  • Vehicle livery and store signage
  • Clothing and apparel

How do you open EPS files?

It’s tricky to open and edit EPS files without Illustrator or Photoshop; however, you can download free software like Sketch or Inkscape to access them.

Good to know:

Your EPS logo files should be delivered with a coloured background and a transparent background to serve different printing and editing needs. Most printers and designers accept EPS files but check before you send to ensure you’re giving them a compatible file format.

EPS File Icon

AI – Adobe Illustrator

An AI file is a drawing created with Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics editing program. It is composed of paths connected by points. It is commonly referred to as a “raw file” or “master file.”

What are the benefits of AI files? 

  • Easily scalable for print (can be as large as a billboard and as small as a postage stamp)
  • Vector file format
  • Editable on design software Adobe Illustrator
  • Supports transparent backgrounds

Use ai files to:

  • Create and edit your logo design

How do you open ai files?

To edit ai files you’ll need Adobe Illustrator to access them.

Good to know:

Your ai logo files should be converted to an EPS before sending to printers. Watch which version of Adobe Illustrator you use to create your logo as older versions of the software can’t open files created in newer versions.

AI File Icon

PDF – Portable Document Format

PDF files are another file format developed by Adobe. They’re commonly used for documentation purposes, but can also be used to share images, including logos.

What are the benefits of PDFs?

  • Easily accessible file format
  • Formatting stays the same on every device
  • Support transparent backgrounds
  • Easy to share

Use PDF files to put your logo on:

  • Print materials (business cards, posters, stickers, and more)
  • Vehicle livery and store signage
  • Clothing and apparel

How do you open PDFs?

Being an easy-to-read file format, you can download and open PDFs on computers, mobile devices, and tablets. Most browsers allow you to preview the PDF file without opening it in an additional program after download. The ideal program to open a PDF is Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free to download and comes with most computers.

To edit a PDF logo file, you’ll need Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop as with EPS files.

PDF File Icon

SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic

SVG files are developed for the web using mathematical formulas rather than individually coloured pixels on the page. Vector files will always be crisp and maintain quality — for this reason; you should use them whenever they’re accepted.

What are the benefits of SVG files?

  • Can be scaled to any size without loss of image quality (they also look great on retina display)
  • Vector file format
  • Small file size compared to a PNG or JPG
  • Web-friendly XML language and editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator
  • Support transparent backgrounds

Use SVG files to put your logo on:

  • Print materials (business cards, posters, stickers, and more)
  • Vehicle livery and store signage
  • Clothing and apparel
  • Websites (note: you must know how to code because most website builders, including WordPress and Squarespace, won’t accept SVGs by default)

How do you open SVG files?

You can open SVG files in a browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Internet Explorer), in Adobe Illustrator, or on another Adobe program like Photoshop and InDesign with an SVG plugin.

These files are also great for sending to a designer if you need them to work on your logo.

Good to know:

Your SVG logo files should be delivered with a coloured background and a transparent background to serve different needs.

SVG File Icon

Raster Files

Raster graphics are bitmaps. A bitmap is a grid of individual pixels that collectively compose an image. Raster graphics render images as a collection of many tiny squares. Each square, or pixel, is coded in a specific hue or shade. Individually, these pixels are worthless. Together, they create highly detailed images.

Raster graphics are best used for non-line art images; specifically, digital photographs scanned artwork or detailed graphics. Non-line art images are best suited to a raster format because they typically include subtle chromatic gradations, undefined lines and shapes, and complex composition.

Raster images are all pixel-based, and they do suffer an affliction called image degradation. Just like photographic images that get blurry and imprecise when blown up, a raster image gets jagged and rough (pixilated).

Why does this happen?

When you look closely at a raster image, you can see the individual pixels that make up the image. If you magnify your raster-based logo too much, it becomes bitmapped and unusable. Although raster images can be scaled down more easily, smaller versions often appear less crisp or “softer” than the original.

Preventing raster image degradation

The raster format is resolution-specific, which means that the images are defined and displayed at one specific resolution. Keep this in mind when trying preserving the quality of the image. Resolution in raster graphics is measured in dpi (dots per inch). The higher the dpi, the better the resolution. Raster images used for print have a recommended dpi of 300 while those used on the web can be lower at 72 dpi.

Remember also that the resolution you observe on any output device is not a function of the file’s internal specifications, but the output capacity of the device itself. Thus, high-resolution images should only be used if your equipment can display them at high resolution (retina display).

Better resolution, however, comes at a price. Just as raster files are significantly larger than comparable vector files, high-resolution raster files are significantly larger than low-resolution raster files.

Raster Image Example

You can see how a raster shape is made up of individual pixels.

In conclusion, compared to vector graphics, raster graphics are less economical, slower to display and print, less versatile and more unwieldy to work with. Remember though that some images, like photographs, are still best displayed in raster format. Common raster formats include TIFF, JPEG, GIF and PNG files. Despite its shortcomings, raster format is still the Web standard — within a few years, however, vector graphics will likely outstrip raster graphics in both prevalence and popularity.

PNG – Portable Network Graphic

PNG files can be used for almost any digital purpose. They’re also useful if you need digital images with transparency, such as logos to put on coloured backgrounds or on top of other images. This file type is not recommended for print.

What are the benefits of PNG files?

  • If you compress and decompress the image’s size, it won’t lose its quality
  • Can display millions of colours
  • Support transparent backgrounds
  • Easy-to-read and access file format (raster file)

Use PNG files to put your logo on:  

  • Websites and blogs (including your favicon, the icon that shows up in your browser tab)
  • Presentations
  • Letterheads on Word or Google Docs
  • Social media profile and cover photos
  • Online shops or platforms like Etsy
  • Images (e.g. to add a watermark)

How do you open PNG files?

You can open PNG files on computers, mobile devices, and tablets because it’s an accessible, easy-to-read file format. Most browsers also let you view a PNG without downloading the file.

Good to know:

If you’ve purchased a social media kit along with your Looka Premium package, you’ll get PNG files perfectly sized for profile and cover images on Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter, as well as version for your favicon, wallpaper, and image watermark. They also come in a variety of background colours, including a black version and a white version.

PNG File Icon

JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

A JPEG file is an image saved in a compressed graphics format standardised by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG). It supports up to 24-bit colour and is compressed using lossy compression, which may noticeably reduce the image quality if high amounts of compression are used.

What are the benefits of JPEG files?

  • JPEG format has been in use for a long time and is exceptionally portable
  • The JPEG format is compatible with almost every image processing application
  • The JPEG format is compatible with most of the hardware devices, e.g. printers
  • JPEG format can be used to store fast-moving high-resolution images
  • Size of JPEG images can be reduced and compressed
  • Easy-to-read and access file format

Use JPEG files to put your logo on:  

  • Presentations
  • Letterheads on Word or Google Docs
  • Social media profile and cover photos
  • Online shops or platforms like Etsy
  • Printed media such as leaflets

How do you open JPEG files?

You can open JPEG files on computers, mobile devices, and tablets because it’s an accessible, easy-to-read file format. Most browsers also let you view a JPEG without downloading the file.

Good to know:

JPEG files are commonly used for storing digital photos and web graphics.

JPG File Icon

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format

GIF files is a file extension for an often animated raster graphics file and are the second most common image format used on the World Wide Web after JPEG. GIF uses the LZW compression algorithm and is owned by Unisys.

What are the benefits of GIF files?

  • GIF uses lossless compression, which means that no quality is lost in the compression.
  • Great for use on the web due to small file size

Use JPEG files to put your logo on:  

  • Social media profile and cover photos
  • Online shops or platforms like Etsy
  • Use them on your website

How do you open GIF files?

You can open GIF files on computers, mobile devices, and tablets because it’s an accessible, easy-to-read file format. Most browsers also let you view a GIF without downloading the file.

Good to know:

GIF files are ideal for webmasters wanting to keep their upload file sizes small.

GIF File Icon

TIFF – Tagged Image File Format

TIFF files can be saved in a variety of colour formats and various forms of compression. TIFFs use lossless compression to maintain image integrity and clarity and are often used for professional photography.

What are the benefits of TIFF files?

  • Supporting 24-bit colour
  • Resize TIFF images, increasing the number of dots per inch (DPI) without any loss of quality
  • Supports various types of file compression
  • Platform-independent, so anyone can store documents from Macintosh or Windows-based computers

Use TIFF files to put your logo on:  

  • Printed media such as leaflets

How do you open PNG files?

You can open TIFF files on computers using software like photoshop. Most systems also let you preview a TIFF without opening the file.

Good to know:

TIFF files support various types of file compression, useful for conserving storage space when archiving large volumes of data.

TIFF File Icon

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