Small Business Diaries | What are all these logo files and how do I use them?
Let me guess… You have an amazing logo that you are super excited to show off, but you feel like an idiot because your printer just asked you for a vector file and you have no idea what that is. First off, pat yourself on the back, your business is successful enough that it required a logo, go you!
Second, you don’t need to “talk designer” because this bitch is fluent and I’m going to break it down for you.
Third, you’re not alone! I’ve been a Graphic Designer for 8 years (you can see my work here) and I’ve noticed there is a reoccurring theme with some logo designers. They will often spend hours upon hours crafting beautifully designed logos for their clients. They do multiple rounds of revisions and color options, then once it’s perfected they send the client a zip folder of logo files with no explanation on how to use them (I was guilty of this in my rookie graphic design days). The client is then left with a folder full of logo files and no knowledge on how to use them for the correct applications.
This makes me want to cry for 2 reasons:
The client has likely invested a good deal of money into their logo and won’t be able to fully utilize it without this knowledge.
So many logos are applied incorrectly and if I see one more white box behind a logo on an image I will need to up my Xanax prescription.
So I’ve decided to make a little logo file guide for y’all. A detailed list of what file types you should be receiving from your designer and how you should be using them. So whether you’re reading this because my team recently completed a logo design for your company (you have excellent taste btw) or you’re reading this because you’re a small business owner who already has a folder of logos, but just needs to know how to use them. We are going to set you up for success, so bookmark this article as a reference.
What are the different file types for logos and what do they mean?
Let me start this off by explain that all logo types are either raster or vector.
What is a Raster file?
A raster file is a set size and cannot be scaled up. For example, a jpeg is a raster image. It has set dimensions and cannot be enlarged.
What is a vector file?
A vector file is scalable. Which means you can print it on a 2x2in business card or a 20x20ft sign and it will always show up nice and crisp.
WHat is an ai file?
An ai file is an adobe illustrator logo file. This is the program logos are created in and contains the most details. This file is editable and can be scaled up or down to any size
WHat is a PDF file?
This file can also be edited, but it’s not proprietary. Which means it can work with any vector graphics software.
WHat is an eps file?
An eps file can also be edited and scaled up or down. It can also be used with different graphics software. This is the best file to send someone who you want to use your logo in a design, but not have the ability to edit your logo.
WHat is a Png file?
A png file cannot be edited and has a set size. Which means if you scale it too big it will become pixelated. PNG files commonly have a transparent background so they can be placed over other images. However, not every png will be transparent. They have a small file size and load quickly which makes them ideal for web use. Transparent PNG’s can easily be changed to different colors in most apps and design software. So if you send a designer a white png, switching the color to black is a quick fix.
WHat is a jpeg file?
A jpeg cannot be edited and has a set size as well. All jpegs have white backgrounds and are typically what you would use for a social media logo. Jpegs (like photos) can only be scaled up to a certain point without being pixelated.
WHat is a SVG file?
An svg file can be edited with Inkscape, Illustrator, CorelDraw, or any other vector graphics application. Honestly, the only time I’ve ever used this file was when sending files to China for a mold to be made of the client’s logo.
What logo files should I get from my graphic designer?
Every designer is different. But you should absolutely be getting an eps file, pdf file, and a transparent png file. I deliver the following files to my clients: eps file, pdf file, ai file, svg file, jpeg file, and a transparent png file. I always tell people to ask for an ai file incase they want to make edits in the future. An eps file will also work, but ai files are easier to work with in my opinion.
How do I know what logo file to use where?
This is tricky because different file types work better for different applications. There may be certain cases where the logo you has is very high-res and can be used for multiple applications. But generally speaking, different files are preferred for certain work. The chart below shows which file types I prefer for specific applications.
Why is my logo pixelated or fuzzy?
Your file (likely a jpeg or png) is too small in size. Certain file types have different resolutions. Web resolution is 72 dpi/ppi while print is 300 dpi/ppi. Images are also saved in different sizes, so if you’re trying to use a 200x200 logo for a 2000x2000 space, the logo will likely appear fuzzy or distorted.
I’m trying to print my logo on a product and the printer is asking me the PMS or spot color. What the hell is going on?
Your printer is trying to make sure they pick an ink color that is the closest match to your logo color. Reference your brand board/style guide or ask your logo designer to provide you with the color code. You can also ask the printer to use the eyedropper tool and find a pantone that is the closest match to the CMYK color. (Just copy and paste that to them and they will get it).
There you have it, a little cheat sheet on how to make the most of your logo. Have a question I didn’t answer? Comment below, I’m a small business owner and small business lover and I’m here to help