This is a short post with a big mission: to help small business owners and others know what to ask for when they have a logo designed for them.
You know you need a JPEG for general purposes, but did you know that you should get a vector version, too? It can be used in any professional design application, be it signage, a high-resolution brochure, or screen printed on trade show tablecloths.
It’s essential that you understand which file types to expect once you’ve signed off on the design. Too often, clients rely on the designer to deliver what they need without having to ask, but some designers can be less forthcoming with file delivery than others (don’t ask me why!). Be sure that the designer you’ve hired willingly agrees to deliver the following:
1. Vector Art: AI or EPS
The most important file for you to receive is the vector artwork, since any of these other versions can be generated from it by another designer. It’s crucial that you receive and archive these files. You and your in-house staff may not have use for them, but you’ll find that many design professionals you’ll hire for other purposes will.
Vector art is infinitely scalable without losing resolution, meaning it could be used on a 5-inch sticker or a 50-inch awning, and the quality of the logo would never decrease. You’ll want this supplied in CMYK color format with all fonts outlined and layers flattened. (You don’t need to know what this means, but you do need to know to ask for it.)
A 300 dpi tiff file saved in CMYK format might be used for lithographic, or offset, printing and might be requested by a print shop you hire that will use offset printing processes for your project. Tiffs have a solid-colored background, usually white.
Everyone is familiar with the JPG, useful in so many day-to-day applications, including websites, email signatures, and in electronic files like stationery. JPGs have a solid-color background (usually white) and are always colored in RGB. They should be sent in a small, medium, and large size at 300 dpi.
Optional File Types
- JPG (RGB, 300 dpi, grayscale): If you’re looking to seek trademark status for your logo, you will most likely need this version.
- PSD (RGB, 300 dpi, transparent background): A PSD, or Photoshop, file is a great thing to pass along to your web designer before s/he gets started building out concepts.
- Web versions (RGB, 72 dpi): If you plan on using your logo on a website or other online medium, you’ll want to receive the three JPG sizes above as GIFs and PNGs (both with transparent backgrounds by default) and low-resolution JPGs. Web versions should always be 72 dpi and RGB. We always prefer PNGs over GIFs as the latter doesn’t resize well and often looks pixelated.
So, what happens if I don’t have these versions?
At the very least, you’ll have to go back to your original logo designer and ask for the files, which may be a simple or difficult process depending on the length of time that has gone by and whether or not they’re still in business. Or you could end up paying another designer to redraw your logo to get the version he or she needs, which can be a costly add-on for your project.
Know what to ask for the first time around and you’ll be prepared for any design or marketing project in the future.