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Your Logo files explained

After working with a designer to get a logo you love, You receive a number of files and it's a little confusing as to what's what. This post is a simple explanation of the different file types and logo variants you've received and how to best use them.

You receive your artwork in a folder containing more files than you were expecting, and it's full of file types you've never come across. This is a good sign. It means your designer is thinking beyond the aesthetics of the logo and thinking about the the practical application. A good designer should also have provided you with a variation of 'logo lockups' ( layout versions) So that your logo is versatile enough to use in the real world in all the different situations and spaces you can imagine. ‍ By the end of this post you should feel better informed and confident about unpacking that folder. We will cover what the different file types are are, how they differ and the best use of each file type. Files Fall Under Two Categories: Vector Files And Raster Files Vector file types have a file extension of .ai .eps .svg or .pdf Vector files are bad ass. A vector file can be scaled to any size without any loss of quality. This is because it’s built up from mathematically precise points. Vector files are the type required to get anything professionally printed, large (banners) or small (business cards), If you require edits to the logo or you need design work carried out by another designer, I'll get into more detail but I don't cover .eps (they are basically the same as .svg but less widely used and more of a headache to open so I don't provide eps files unless requested.)

Ai: Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator is the program most designers will use to create a logo. You will need this software in order to open this file type. The AI file is the original, editable file often referred to as the 'working file' or 'master file'. This file contains all the elements of the logo. A designer will usually 'outline' the artwork before sending it over. This means that any text in the logo has been turned into a 'shape' which maintains the artwork and avoids issues that can occur when sharing the file. It's good practice for your designer to provide you with the name of any fonts used in your logo especially when the work has not been outlined. Usually in a text document containing notes.

PDF: Portable Document Format PDF format is widely favored by most designers as it can be universally viewed on any computer with Adobe Acrobat (or another PDF viewer). It’s also possible to preserve illustrator-editing capabilities when saving in this format, meaning it can be opened and modified in the same way an AI can. They’re commonly used for document purposes, but can also be used to share images, including logos. Why PDFs are another fav:

  • Easy-to-read file format

  • Formatting stays the same on every device

  • Support transparent backgrounds

  • Easy to share

Use PDF files to put your logo on:

  • Print materials (business cards, posters, stickers, and more)

  • Stickers and labels

  • Clothing and swag

How do you open PDFs? Because it’s an easy-to-read file format, you can download and open PDFs on computers, mobile devices, and tablets. Most browsers allow you to preview the PDF file without opening it in an additional program after download. The ideal program to open a PDF is Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free to download and comes with most computers. To edit a PDF logo file, you’ll need Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. SVG: Scalable Vector Graphic SVG files are developed for the web using mathematical formulas rather than individually colored pixels on the page. Vector files will always be crisp and maintain quality — for this reason, you should use them whenever they’re accepted, especially when sending a logo to print. Why SVG files are my favourite:

  • They can be scaled to any size without loss of image quality (they also look great on retina display)

  • Small file size compared to a PNG or JPG

  • Web-friendly XML language and editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator

  • Support transparent backgrounds

Use SVG files to put your logo on:

  • Print materials (business cards, posters, stickers, and more)

  • Clothing and swag

  • Stickers and labels

  • Websites (not all website builders, including WordPress and Squarespace, accept SVGs. I use webflow because it rocks and webflow DOES accept SVGs)

How do you open SVG files? You can open SVG files in a browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Internet Explorer), in Adobe Illustrator, or on another Adobe program like Photoshop and InDesign with an SVG plugin. There are free resources available to open and convert a svg file to a png or jpeg so you can resize it to your required dimensions if you need a specific size raster file. These files are also great for sending to a designer if you need them to work on your logo. Raster Files

Raster file types have a file extension of .Jpeg or .PNG (there are other rasterised image types, but for logo design these two suffice. Raster files are built up of squares called pixels. This means that as you increase the size of your image, it will become pixelated or appear to be blurred. This is why a logo design should be created in vector format for the best results. If you provide your designer with specific end use case for your logo (with specific size dimensions) then they can create high quality rasterised artwork and avoid results that appear blurry or pixelated.

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group Jpeg’s are most commonly seen online. They offer very good compression without overly effecting the image quality, meaning the image is very small in file size, so will load quickly.

PNG: Portable Network Graphics PNG files can be used for almost any digital purpose. They’re also useful if you need digital images with transparency, such as logos to put on colored backgrounds or on top of other images. This file type is not recommended for print.

Why we like a png:

  • If you compress and decompress the image’s size, it won’t lose its quality

  • Can display millions of colors

  • They Support transparent backgrounds

  • Easy-to-read and access file format

Use PNG files to put your logo on:

  • Websites and blogs (including your favicon, the icon that shows up in your browser tab)

  • Presentations

  • Letterheads on Word or Google docs

  • Social media profile and cover photos

  • Online shops or platforms like Etsy

  • Images (e.g. to add a watermark)

How do you open PNG files?

You can open PNG files on computers, mobile devices, and tablets, because it’s an accessible, easy-to-read file format. Most browsers also let you view a PNG without downloading the file.

And honestly, that's more than you need to know to use your files successfully.

I have a separate blog post on some of the other terminology your graphic designer may use which covers colour modes and lock up's.

You can read that here: Things your graphic designer said that went over your head.

GDLOOK clients receive all the above file types as well as variants of the full logo such as a black and white version, icon version, and /or different layouts for different use in many cases. Need a custom logo? Get in touch.


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