Have you had your logo designs and you’ve been given a whole heap of files that sound like another language to you?

Like png, jpeg, eps, pdf, 300dpi, 72dpi etc!!!

logo files explained

This is a quick rundown, a cheat sheet if you like, similar to what I provide my clients with for all logo and branding projects.

You’ll have (hopefully) both print and web files for all your logo variants.

Starting with Print Files

  • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript): a file used by design programs (so you may not be able to open it). These are a vector file, which means its based on maths and if set up correctly this enables them to be enlarged to any size without loss of detail. Which is what you need if your logo is to be used on signage for example.
  • PDF (Portable Document Format): these are also a vector file, which can be enlarged dependent on the content in the file, If there are images like photos then there will be a limit to the size the file can be enlarged to without becoming pixelated. However for a logo there shouldn’t be any images or photos involved.
  • 300dpi JPEG & PNG (Portable Network Graphic) files: can be used for print – they cannot be enlarged and sometimes if the colour profile has been saved as RGB the colours can go funky with printing. JPEG files use a ‘lossy’ compression in their saving process so some image quality is lost each time they are saved. So if you have an EPS or PDF file of your logo these are the best choice to use for print.

exampled of pixellated logo

And onto the Web Files

These tend to be smaller (so websites load faster) but this also reduces their quality. Traditionally web files were saved at 72dpi, however with the advert of retina screens some now prefer to save at 150dpi (or ensure the size is 2 times larger than what you want it displayed at) to get a crisp image.

  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic): can be saved with transparent backgrounds, so they make the perfect files to use as watermarks or as an overlay on an image. For logos they tend to be smaller files than a JPEG so perfect for websites. They can be shrunk without any loss of detail, however cannot be enlarged.
  • 72dpi/150dpi JPEG: these cannot be used as overlays as they cannot be transparent, as I mentioned before JPEG use a ‘lossy’ compression so can lose detail over time and cannot be enlarged without becoming pixelated (aka grainy). 72dpi/150dpi are smaller files so better for web, but if you need the file to be bigger than supplied you will need to save a new one from the print files.

As for colour

Print files should be saved in CMYK colour format, whilst files for web are as RGB.

But explaining the difference between colour modes is a post for another day, see Colour Formats


Bibliography: D Dabner, S Calvert & A Casey (2010) Graphic Design School – a foundation course for graphic designers working in print, moving image and digital media, 4th Ed.

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