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I get a lot of questions from clients on file types–JPGS, GIFS, PDFS, TIFFS–the list goes on. Confusion is inevitable, and quite understandable. Photography calls for different file formats than say, a design file, namely a logo.

I came across this great article on The Design Cubicle a while back and had to share.

It’s particularly important to have access to your final logo in multiple formats. You’ll most likely be ordering printed material, like large scale signage and business cards. Your logo will also appear on the web, in a whole slew of instances, from your homepage to your Twitter avatar. It’ll appear by itself, on a white background, or overlaid on photography. All of these call for appropriate file types. It’ll save you time, money, and headache down the road.

When your designer passes off logo files to you, make sure you have the following things from them.

  1. An EPS file
    The most important version of your logo to have, an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file is a very versatile vector format of your logo. It can be used in an array of programs and can be re-sized easily thanks to it’s high quality. An EPS is pretty much essential for anything that will be printed at a high quality. Make sure you have an EPS handy for all of your professional printing needs.
  2. A few digital files for your convenience: JPGs and GIFs
    Ask your designer for a few digital varieties of your logo for you to easy upload and use for the web. JPGs and GIFs are smaller than EPS files (read: the don’t size UP at all, and are not suitable for printing) but they are great for the web. Get your designer to send you a fairly large version of these so that you can size them down as needed (for email signatures, for example.) Just remember…these are not for print.
  3. A TIFF file
    I bet you have a letterhead made in Microsoft office. Wondering what the best (or at least easiest) format is for that finicky header? Get a TIFF from your designer for all of your Office needs. A TIFF is a Tagged Image File Format and is suitable for print thanks to it’s higher image quality than say, a JPG. Again, get one that is a bit bigger than needed so you can size down based on what you’re using it for (invoices, letterheads, envelopes, etc.)
  4. Full Color/Black and White Versions
    If you think you don’t need a black and white version of your logo, think again. Not only is it a great test of a good logo, but B&W versions of logos appear everywhere. Just think of every time you send a fax. (And we know how much physicians do!) There will come a point in time where you’ll need a reversed-out version of your logo too–like when you want it to appear on a full color photo. You’d be surprised how many logos fall apart in reverse (or all white.) Check out yours in these instances before you finalize your brandmark, and then make sure you have several full color (CMYK and RGB) versions of all of the file types listed above as well asblack & white renditions.Some other things to keep in mind:

    • Do you have versions with and without your tagline? (If you indeed have one, that is.)
    • Was your logo created in spot color? If so, ask for a CMYK version as well as a spot color. Press printing calls for spot color, which will give you the exact same color every time. Digital printers vary in calibration, but can be cheaper and quicker. An example? Online printers such as moo.com and 4by6.com–who we both love–print in CMYK. Your local printer–who has done your Dad’s business cards for years–will produce some high quality cards for you using spot color. The more spot colors you have printed, the more expensive the print job.
    • Are your files named in a way that you can easily distinguish which ones to use? Correct file naming and folder systems can help you later down the road. Have a folder called “Print” and one for “Web.” Organize accordingly within those folders.
    • Do you need social media files? For an extra fee, they may be able to customize your Facebook and Twitter pages. Avoid pixelated images by getting someone to help design images at the right dimensions.

If you don’t get these files upfront, chances are you’ll be waiting for them longer than you’d like to when you really need them. I can’t tell you how many times a project has been held up for weeks because a client has to track down a version of their logo that isn’t a 200 x 200 pixel JPG file. We know logo design isn’t cheap, and that’s why you should ensure you get all you’ve paid for.

Have questions? I’d be happy to help guide you through your design needs. Contact me here at Vantage and we’ll figure out your jpgtiffpdfepsgif mix ups!