When you put a lot of effort into the creation of your logo design you need to make sure to save these logo files right. You don’t want to realize one day your files are not prepared for the way you want to use them or even worse, they’re not usable at all. If you create your own logo or have a designer create it for you it’s good to know the common file formats and their usage. This post will break down why it is important to save your logo files right, what you need to pay attention to and how to save them.
Why is it important to save your logo files right?
I’ve seen it all. From completely destroyed logo files over low quality even to non-existent. Yes, some people pay hundreds for their logo and then don’t even save their files.
Your logo files are probably the most important files you have. If you ever lose a social media graphic you just create a new one. With a logo, it’s not that simple.
Using the right file formats to save your logo files also makes working with your logo easier. Every format is made for a specific usage. Some are better for print and others for web design.
Further, you want to ensure the quality of your logo. Using the right software and saving your files accordingly will help you to produce high-quality designs.
While file formats are important, it’s also necessary to create a filing system that works for you. This means you can easily find what you need and you won’t accidentally use the wrong version of your logo.
What kind of logo files do you need?
Before we can talk about files formats we have to take a look at the software you want to use to create your logo. It’s actually a matter of vectors and pixels. Raster software such as Photoshop is based on pixels. Pixels can’t be scaled without losing quality. If you’ve ever seen a low-quality bitmap in which you can make out each and every pixel with your bare eyes you know what I’m talking about. But of course, you want your logo to be high quality and endlessly scalable. That’s why using vector software like Adobe Illustrator is a must for logo creation. Vector files don’t lose their quality and still have only small file sizes because they’re based on points (vectors) and lines.
Related post: 3 Adobe Illustrator alternatives
Work files/ original logo files
Your work file is the file you always start out with. If you create your logo with Adobe Illustrator this file is usually saved as AI. Designers also call this an open file because it can still be edited. Once your logo design is finished you shouldn’t touch this file. If you still want to work in it, I recommend always making a copy before.
Your designer can save this original file as an editable PDF and preserve all Illustrator editing capabilities so you can view it in Adobe Acrobat if you don’t have Illustrator.
In general, you don’t send your original file to someone because they could make changes to your file. If you still want to send it out, e.g. to a designer you work with, make sure to convert all fonts into outlines in case they don’t have the fonts you used installed on their computer. Doing this you can be sure there are no problems when opening the file and your logo is displayed exactly as on your computer.
Always keep your original files separate from your other files if possible create a dedicated folder just for them.
Print logo files
EPS files are allrounders. This format is compatible with most vector design software and usually what your designer will ask for. If you have the right software, these files are what you will work with to create designs for print like brochures or business cards. A similar file format which works with most vector design software is the SVG format. All print files must be saved in CMYK.
When you design something you want to print make sure to create a file in your desired output format and save it with 300 dpi.
Web logo files
The files you use for web e.g. on your website or social media should be converted to RGB color mode and saved in a pixel-file format. And because it’s your logo file it’s always handy to have a transparent background in case you want to put your logo on a photo or a colored background. PNG files save this transparency. Make sure you save the right file size so you don’t need to scale your logo which means you would lose quality.
Another way to save your files for web is the JPG-Format. But attention, this format will compress your file in order to reduce the file size which means lower quality. Every time you save a JPG you’ll lose quality. That’s why you shouldn’t save a JPG from a JPG.
The standard file size for web files is 72 dpi. But you have to know and already set up your file in your end-format to have the best quality possible.
Related post: How to choose the right file format
Logo filing system
It pays off to put a bit of thought into your system of saving your logo files as well as other design files. Creating folders for your original files and the files you use on a daily basis to create graphics and images for your brand as well as backing up those files to make sure you’ll never lose a thing. Create a straightforward naming system and delete the files you don’t need. Keeping an endless amount of versions (logo-12.5 or logo-def-2) will only be confusing.
It’s always good to mention things like transparent background or not, CMYK or RGB, color or black and white, or for web 400px X 600px directly into the name of your file. Especially if you have a couple of logo variations it’s advisable to detail in the name what exactly is in the file.
Related post: Logo variations: Do you need more than one logo
Logo files summary
• Original file in AI (Adobe Illustrator format)
If you don’t have Illustrator: PDF with Illustrator editing capabilities preserved
• EPS or SVG for print design, color mode: CMYK, file size: 300 dpi
• PNG for web design (with transparent background), color mode: RGB, file size: 72 dpi