Do you know an EPS from a JPG? If your logo designer gave you a load of different file types and you’ve no idea what to do with them, this article is for you!
Different file types are used in different places – some are better for printing and others for using on websites – so your designer should provide your logo in a variety of file types and colour options. Here are the types I usually provide and when they should typically be used.
An EPS file is a vector file; this means that you can scale the logo up or down as much as you like without losing quality.
This file type can be edited in just about any vector-based software such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, and is ideal for any kind of high-quality/commercial printing.
A TIFF file is a high quality bitmap file type. Bitmaps are less scaleable than vector files as, while they can be scaled down without losing quality, if you scale them up they will become pixelated – edges will look jagged and detail will be lost. A TIFF file will usually be created in high-resolution and at a larger size than necessary so that it can be scaled down as required.
A high-resolution (300 dpi) TIFF can sometimes be used for high-quality printing, though the format is usually used for general, everyday printing, such as letterheads printed from Microsoft Word.
JPG files are also bitmap files so they shouldn’t be scaled up either. Like the TIFF files, they’ll usually be created at a larger size so that they can be scaled down to required sizes.
JPGs can be saved at small file sizes, so they’re ideal for using on screen such as websites, email signatures, and Powerpoint presentations.
PNG files are also great for using online. They too can be saved at small sizes for fast loading on websites, and they have an advantage over JPGs in that they support transparency.
Basically this means that while your JPG logo will probably be on a solid white or coloured background, in a PNG file the logo can have a transparent background, making it ideal for placing on top of a pattern, photograph, different colour… anything you want really.
You know the little logo that sits beside a websites address in a web browser’s URL bar or list of bookmarks? That’s called a favicon. It’s a great way to reinforce your branding on your website, so I usually include one when I deliver logo files.
Colour works differently in print than on screen, so you’ll need different files for each. You’ll also need black and white versions of the logo so that every eventuality is covered, so each of the file types above will be delivered as both colour and black and white versions.
The print files will be delivered in CMYK colour mode, which is suitable for commercial full colour and everyday printing, while the screen files will be delivered in RGB colour mode. (A note on Microsoft Word: I’ve found that Word doesn’t usually like CMYK files, so if you try placing a CMYK TIFF into a Word document and the image doesn’t show, try an RGB version instead.)
There will usually also be another colour EPS file, using Pantone colour/s. If a printer or designer ever talks about using spot colours or one-or-two colour print (such as for promotional merchandise), it’s this file you’ll need. The Pantone system is used for precise colour matching – you can give a Pantone reference to any printer, anywhere, and they’ll print the exact same colour.
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