You need multiple file formats of your company logo for different situations. Did you know that the logo files needed for creating a brochure or billboard is a different format than what you need website header or your next Adwords campaign? It’s true. You need several logo file formats, but not 35 of them! Here’s a list of logo files you need, and which you should ditch.

Logo Files You Should Keep vs. Which You Should Ditch Infographic

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Logo File Types You Should Keep

There are a lot of file formats you can put in this category, but I’ll cover the 3 most basic logo formats I think every business owner should have on hand.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

If nothing else, get the EPS vector version of your logo from your designer. This is the most important of the logo formats we’ll talk about today. EPS files can be opened and edited using Adobe Illustrator. EPS is a versatile vector file that is based on math calculations to scale the logo up or down without a loss in quality. EPS files are typically created using Adobe Illustrator. Designers can use this file format to make other formats for you in the future.

Can be resized without loss in quality: Yes

Uses: High-quality printing (business cards, brochures, billboards, etc.). Designers prefer to work with EPS files because they can scale the logo to whatever size they need without a loss in quality

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNGs are the new GIFs for logos. Although it loses quality when resized, this file type can be saved with a transparent background and without any compression at all. It is the most used lossless image compression format on the Internet.

Can be resized without loss in quality: No

Uses: PNG was designed for transferring images on the Internet, not for professional-quality print graphics, and therefore does not support non-RGB color spaces such as CMYK. You shouldn’t use PNG files when printing your logo.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic)

The new kid on the block, the scalable vector graphic (SVG) file type turns your logo into an XML text-based vector image format. Colors inside an SVG file can be changed/updated with code by a programmer. SVG is a standard file type to display vector graphics on the web, because they:

  • have a small file size
  • can be manipulated with code — a single SVG file can be used dozens of times on a website and changed to multiple sizes and colors.
  • support interactivity and animation.

Can be resized without loss in quality: Yes

Uses: Used for the web so that a logo can be increased and decreased in size, animated, or interacted with on multiple devices (desktops, laptops, tables, smartphones). SVG files are also great for website icons.

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Logo File Types You Can Ditch

I don’t mean that you should ditch these logo file types if you’ve paid good money to get them… but these formats are less useful overall. In addition, any designer can convert your logo to these file types for you using the EPS version… as long as it was created correctly as a real scalable vector illustration.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)

GIF is a lossy graphic file. This means that logos saved in GIF file format can be defined to use between 1 and 256 colors (the less colors, the smaller the size, but also loss in quality). Back in the day, this was always one of the standard file types for logos on the web. Why? Well, because a good logo is designed with only 2-3 colors, so saving in the GIF format with only those colors referenced produced a very small file size that loaded quickly on websites. This all sounds great, so why is it on the “ditch” list? I think there are better options available now for logos, specifically SVG which has all these qualities but also can be scaled to any size. Some qualities of GIF files:

  • Can be animated
  • Load fast on the web
  • Can be saved with transparent backgrounds
  • Need to be used at the exact size they were created (they lose quality when resized)

Can be resized without loss in quality: No

Uses: Use a GIF for your website, to create an animated banner ad. You can also make funny animated gifs like on giphy.com with this file format.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

Save the PDF format for your Word Documents and presentations, not your logo. PDF standard for portable document format for this reason. It is used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. PDFs can be saved at a high resolution, or a more compressed version for web viewing. Ultimately, this format isn’t very useful - I used to provide one to my clients so they could “see” the logo- there are several formats listed that need an expensive program to open (EPS and SVG for example). Some features of PDF files:

  • Often used to send documents because the format is easily viewable by everyone with a free reader.
  • Can be electronically signed and even password protected to prevent copying and editing
  • Can be created like a form, where the end user can type in their answers
  • Easy to search, and work very well with assistive technologies (help people who have low vision or other diabilities)

Can be resized without loss in quality: No

Uses: PDF can be used to save your logo in a high resolution file and a lower quality format, and can support transparency. However, the primary use of PDF files is to save a Word processing document, presentation or other file in a universally viewable format that will not allow others to edit or change your work.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

JPEG, or JPG, is a graphic file format that supports compression of the image in order to achieve the desired file size. JPG files load faster on the web and still look ‘sharp’ to the eye when viewed on a computer monitor (if compression is done properly). JPG don’t support transparent backgrounds and need to be used at the exact size they were created, because they lose quality when resized.

Can be resized without loss in quality: No

Uses: Use a JPG for your website, online ads, banners, e-mail signatures, or anything web related at 72dpi. Photos can be printed in JPG file format, but use a resolution of 300dpi or more. Do not scale!

Other Logo Files To Consider

While these aren’t logo file formats necessarily, they are deliverables that your designer can provide to you after your logo design is finalized.

Reverse Color Logo File Types example

Reversed Logo Version

It’s great that your logo has dark text and a colorful icon. But… what does it look like when you need to put it on a page with a dark background? A designer should provide a file option for dark backgrounds as well as light backgrounds so that you maintain your brand standards and consistency. Many companies will have a color version, and then a version that is just white… but you may want something that’s not quite white.
Black and White Logo File Type Example

Black and White Logo Option

A well designed logo should not only be effective in color but also in black and white. Lots of print-outs and faxes will flatten your logo into a black and white version anyway. There are many times where you may find a need for this. It’s also a good idea to see your logo in black and white before it’s approved. I always show my client logo options in black and white before the colored version.
Favicon Image

Favicon

A favicon (short for favorite icon), is also known as a shortcut icon, website icon, tab icon, URL icon or bookmark icon. This .ico file type is most commonly 16×16 pixels, and associated with a particular website or web page. Website browsers display a page’s favicon in the browser’s address bar (sometimes in the history as well) and next to the page’s name in a list of bookmarks. Because they are so very small, they may not look exactly like your logo, but should be a representation of it. Favicons are important to maintain your company brand.

Bullzeye Site Icon for WordPress

Site Icons

Site icons are a newer, more versatile version of favicons. Site Icons must be square, and using your logo in them is great for maintaining your brand. A site icon (also known as mobile icon or touch icon) can be used as both a favicon and mobile/smartphone bookmarking icon for your site. Site icons are usually inserted into your WordPress theme by going to Appearance –> Customize.

Don't Forget About Social Media

Think about the Social Media Platforms that you are on, or plan to join in the near future. Each of these platforms requires a “profile” photo as well as a “cover” photo for your business. While you are getting your logo designed, you may want to ask for a price quote to design your social media profile and cover images. This will save you some time and hassle in the future. Check out our post on using profile & cover photos on social media to build your brand’s awareness.

Extra Fees

Remember that not logo design projects are created equal, so you may have to pay extra in some cases.

Wrapping Up

There’s obviously lots to think about when getting a logo designed. Make sure you get the proper file formats from your designer, such as the EPS file (most important), PNG, and SVG formats. Don’t put as much emphasis on getting GIF, PDF, or JPEG formats — these can always be created later using the EPS file. Instead of focusing on the file formats, think more about the uses for your logo. You may need:

  • a horizontal, vertical, and square version of your logomark
  • a black and white, and white and black version of your logo files
  • reversed colors of your logo for dark backgrounds
  • a favicon and app/site icon for website
  • social media profile & cover photos for open graph protocol.

The biggest takeaway is to prepare for the future. Getting these types of logo files up front will save you time in the future. By doing so, you can effectively maintain your brand and look professional without attaching yourself to your logo designer’s hip.

Have I missed a logo file format you can’t live without? Let me know what you think in the comments. I’m always happy to have a discussion or answer your questions. Thanks for reading.

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