Logo File Types - The Essentials you Need to Know
Your logo is the most important piece of your branding, and it is event more important for you to know which file type to send. We have all seen promotions where the logo is distorted, or has a white background, but if you choose the correct file type this can be avoided.
I have done a lot of graphic design for events and conferences where sponsors send me their logo to be included in the print and digital collateral. I am always surprised the file types that I am sent, from low resolution jpeg to logos that have been designed and sent as a word document! This is a representation of your business! Know which file is best so your logo can stand out.
First, let's discuss raster vs. vector file formats. A raster image is measured by pixels, and they cannot be expanded without losing quality. These images are usually created in Photoshop. When creating a raster image you will be able to select the Pixel Per Inch required, for web this is usually 72 ppi, while printers require at least 300 ppi.
A vector file is created using math that form lines and objects, so the design elements are proportional at any scale. This means that they can be compressed and expanded without losing quality. For printing your logo, a vector file is probably the best choice.
Raster Based Files
A JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is most commonly used for photographs. These files will lose resolution quickly, and do not like being compressed. While you may have a JPEG logo, it is usually not the best option. However, for your photographs this is usually the best option.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphic and are probably my favorite for everyday use. They are easy to upload to websites, and support a transparent background. If you are creating the image yourself in photoshop or another program, make sure to save as PNG-24 to ensure transparency.
Vector Based Files
A EPS file is a Encapsulated Postscript Vector created in a vector based program. It is an exchange file, so it is not associated with one specific design program, instead it can be interpreted by many programs. EPS files can even be used in Microsoft Office programs, however it will display the image as a low-resolution raster as opposed to a vector image.
The AI file type is for specific use in Adobe Illustrator, and is a vector based. This means they can be enlarged without losing quality. Some third party programs are able to open the files, but they may convert to a raster file instead of maintaining the vector file.
I find that people usually don't send the EPS or AI file because they cannot open it on their computer. Don't worry, this is completely normal. You may need Photoshop or Illustrator, or similar program to open.
At the end of the day...
- If you need to send your logo I prefer to send both PNG file and an EPS file
- If you are getting something printed, send the EPS file
- If you are designing graphics to be used in another program make sure the ppi is set correctly, 72 ppi for web and at least 300 ppi for print.
- If you are using InDesign, you can place your AI files directly. This will link to the original Illustrator file and maintain resolution