Business Owner’s Guide to Logo File Types

business_owners_guide_to_file_typesOnce you’ve selected and approved a final logo design from your agency, you’ll probably receive your artwork in several file formats. It is extremely important to understand these different formats, especially as you begin to use your logo in advertising and other mediums. Designers and agencies have varying policies when it comes to the types of file formats that they supply their clients, and if you’re armed with the right knowledge, you can avoid unnecessary changes and charges. 

There are two main types of files that you should be given: vector based files and pixel based files. Each format has a number of uses, and knowing which is which can save you a lot of hassle when working with the printers, designers, and media outlets that will reproduce your logo.

Vector Files

Before you even start working with a designer, be sure that they will send you vector-based files of your logo when it is complete. Vector file formats are the default for almost all design software and they are the number one choice for most print applications. A vector image is simply the raw source of your logo. It is created out of a configuration of outlined shapes, which can be accurately filled in with colors through the Pantone Matching System.  The points on the shapes can be moved around to change the shape of the design. Think of a pegboard that is covered in rubber bands. To change the shape of the design, you simply move a band from one peg to another. This is how vector images work.

Vector files can be edited quite easily by designers, and are scalable to any size. They can be printed in grayscale, black and white, spot color, or four-color processing. You can identify vector files by the extensions .EPS, .CDR, .AI, or in the case of flash animation, .SWF.

Pixel Files

Most people are more familiar with pixel-based files. Just about every image taken on a digital camera or displayed on the World Wide Web is a pixel file. A pixelated file is made up of a grid of millions of tiny dots that, when viewed from a distance, form a full image.

Pixel images can be displayed as black and white bitmaps, CMYK logos, or RGB color pallets. Their sharpness and dimensions are resolution-dependent and the images must be prepared specifically for the planned usage. For example, digital images typically require a 72 dpi (dots per inch) while printed images typically require 266 dpi or higher.  Pixel images utilize a great number of colors, and require the use of four-color processing. They can be identified by the file extensions .JPG, .GIF, .TIF, .PNG, and.PS. Pixel files are typically created from the vector version.

A Word About Photoshop

Logos should always be created in a vector format first, not a pixel format. Photoshop is one of the most popular design software packages on the market, and you may think nothing of hiring a designer that works in this program. However, the final result will be a pixel-based file format only. That means that you won’t be able to enlarge the image, change the colors, remove or edit elements, etc. without distorting the quality of your logo.  Always be sure that your designer works in a program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw that will generate a vector file, which can be converted to pixels as-needed.

At The NetMen Corp, we always deliver both vector and pixel file formats to our clients. You will be able to use your new logo in any medium you like, and if you wish to change your logo in the future, you will be able to make those changes in-house. If you have questions, or would like to learn more about our process, contact us today. 

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About The Author:  is CEO of The Netmen Corp.