Do you have the right logo design file types for your biz?
What you need to know before you work with DIY or pre-made logos
Sarah was a smart start-up ready to take things slow and let her business bloom at its own pace.
She didn’t want to rush things. She knew that businesses could take a while to build up momentum, so rather than investing everything she had in a complete visual brand, she purchased a pre-made low-cost logo from Etsy.
It was a clever move. And, “This should do for now,” she told herself.
… Except her business took off FAR faster than expected.
Suddenly, she needed collateral designed to support her business and brand.
And when Sarah first came to me, the JPG logo she supplied was enough to allow us to create some digital collateral for her.
But when we moved onto designing business cards, the JPG wasn’t going to cut it.
“I need a high-resolution EPS or PDF logo,” I told her. “Otherwise the logo will print blurry and look low quality.”
Sarah took a breath, then confessed … “My logo only came with a JPG file.”
Her dilemma wasn’t uncommon.
And while there are plenty of pre-made logos that come with the right file types to support your business through all its needs and its stages of growth, the one Sarah had purchased didn’t and wouldn’t.
But it wasn’t her fault.
Sarah was a business owner, not a logo file type expert. How was she expected to know her JPG from her EPS?
Easy: She wasn’t. And she didn’t have this article to help her out!
But you don’t have to make the same mistake Sarah did.
Investing in pre-made logos can be a clever decision for your business – but only if you receive the correct logo file types.
So … what ARE the correct logo file types?
The files types you need for your logo:
- EPS or AI
- High resolution, vector PDF
Yup, you need ALL these file types. Each file type serves a different purpose and can be used for different things.
Vector vs Raster images – what’s the difference (and why you should care)
Before I walk you through the various file types, we need to take a moment to understand the difference between vector and raster images.
- Vector – a computer image that is stored in memory as lines rather than a series of dots, allowing it to be rotated or proportionally scaled.
- This means every part of your logo is perfectly crisp and you could increase your logo to the size of a football field, and it won’t lose any quality, at all! It will remain super crisp no matter what size it is.
- Adobe Illustrator and Indesign create vector graphics.
- Vector file types are EPS, AI, SVG and PDF.
- Raster – a computer image that is held in memory as a series of coloured dots in a grid, each dot represented by one or more bits.
- This means if you were to increase the size of a raster logo it would start to lose quality immediately. The edges of your text or lines would begin to become pixelated and jagged. If you were to blow a raster file up to the size of a football field, it would be blurry and you would easily see the pixelated zig zag like edges.
- Raster format is best for photographs and web use.
- Adobe Photoshop creates raster graphics.
The different file types
EPS – Encapsulated Post Script
AI – Adobe Illustrator
A designer will (or should) use Illustrator (or a similar professional graphic design program) to create your logo, and they will save it as either an AI or EPS file. This is the original design file.
Heads up: Unless you have professional graphic design software, you won’t be able to open this file.
However, when engaging a designer to design a logo you MUST ensure that you are supplied with one of these file types.
Where to use: This is the best file type to forward on to other professionals you engage such as another graphic designer, printer or signwriter.
PDF – Portable Document Format
A PDF file retains the quality of an EPS or AI file, and is a great and versatile high-quality file type that can be used for printed and digital use. Just ensure your designer saves it as a high-quality vector PDF (because PDF files can also be saved at a low quality).
Where to use it: Business stationery – letterheads, business cards, posters, signs, brochures. Basically anything that will be printed or needs a high-quality look.
SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic
Yep, as the name suggests, this is a vector file that can be scaled. It also retains the quality of an EPS or AI file, however is best used for digital use. Before saving in SVG format, just ensure the design is a vector to begin with.
Where to use it: Logos and graphics on websites, or anything digital.
PNG – Portable Network Graphics
A PNG file is a compressed image file used for the web or digital application, and is a good choice for saving graphics (e.g. logos, icons, text, illustrations) because it has a better quality than a JPG file. It can also save graphics and logos with a transparent background, making it a good choice if you need to place your logo over a coloured background or photo.
Where to use it: Use it for social media posts, social media profile logo, accounting software logo, website or anything digital.
JPG / JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
A JPG is also a compressed image file used for the web or digital application, and is most commonly used to save photographic images. In most cases it is best used for photographs only. However, there may be some instances where you need a JPG file of your logo, for example on your website or social media.
Keep in mind that when a graphic/logo is saved as a JPG file, it has a white background. So if you need to use a JPG file of your logo, pretty please do me a huge favour and only ever use it on a white background (no one likes to see a boxy white logo over a coloured background or photo). But where possible if you have the choice between using a PNG vs JPG file, I would recommend using the PNG file.
Where to use it: Use it for social media posts, social media profile logo, accounting software logo, website. But remember, where possible a PNG of your logo is better than a JPG.
Worried you’re going to confuse your JPEGs with your EPS files?
Scoop up my free visual reference guide so you can feel confident that you’re always using the right file type at the right time.