Which logo file formats to use

Which logo file formats to use for stationery, signage, email signatures & brochures

When supplied with a range of file formats for your new logo, it can be difficult to know which file to supply to your supplier. Here are some tips to work out which file type to use or to send to a supplier.

Logo for websites & email signatures:

Typically a png is a good choice if your logo has text on it. If not a jpeg is fine. On the web, there’s a colourway called RGB. RBG is a range of colours with specific hex numbers that programmers can enter to portray that colour on the computer screen e.g. red is #FF0000. As each computer is calibrated differently, you can’t guarantee a consistent result for how the colour appears on-screen the way you can with Pantone colours.

For signage:

Signwriters generally like a .ai file which means Adobe Illustrator. This format is a vector that will scale up without getting pixelated.

For printed stationery:

For your business cards, letterhead and comps slips (if you still use them in this digital age), the printer will want a higher res format, in perhaps a .jpeg or .eps file. If you’re on a PC, generally .eps won’t open. It tends to be created by designers on Macs. A printer will generally be able to open an eps.
There are a couple of different colour profiles. ‘Pantone’ generally refers to a code of a specific ink shade. So, if your stationery is, say, two or three colours (e.g. black, blue and yellow), then your stationery may be printed on a machine that uses three exact paint colours. ‘cmyk’ stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. If your logo has a colour image or uses four colours, it may be printed on a ‘four colour’ machine. This is a deceptive name because it really means full colour but the full spectrum of colours are made by mixing up four pots of blue, pink, yellow and black inks.

 Brochures

You’ll generally need a jpeg or eps but in high res, and ideally saved in a CMYK colourway, since most brochures have full colour images. If your brochure is say just two colours, then you can get away with a Pantone colourway.
Is a pdf file okay?
PDF is not ideal for inserting into a document, but it is useful if you are sending a file to also send a pdf which can be opened to validate how the file should look. A pdf requires extra time for a designer to reverse out against black, for example. However most graphic designers can change a pdf into another file format. If it is a low-res pdf, then it may not be suitable for using in brochures and will look pixelated. File size is a good indication of whether it’s a high or low res image.
Have a question about which logo file format to use?
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