Logo formats: What the different files are for
When we create a logo for a client, we will always give them a zip file of their logo in several versions and file types. Sometimes this can be confusing if you don't know which version to use for which use and why there are different file types.
The different versions of a logo and their uses
This guide illustrates the most versions of a logo you can expect to receive. In some cases, it might not be necessary to have all versions of the logo for your specific needs.
This is the main version of the logo. It is to be used in almost all instances where you want to add your logo to signage, stationery, posters, brochures etc. This is the version of your logo that really shouts out your brand as it includes your business colours.
The example below shows how the full-colour logo is used on the front of a business card design.
Reversed out logos can be used in one of two ways. The first is that reversed logos can be used over images such as photographs to a) create more impact than the full-colour version and b) so the colours of the photo do not interfere with the colours of the logo. The second is that reversed logos are used so they are visible over dark colours or black where the full-colour version of the logo might otherwise be difficult to see.
The example below shows how the reversed logo is used on the front of a business card over a photograph for visual interest.
Greyscale logos are for use in printed black and white publications such as newspapers. They are also used for internal documents that you know will be printed on black and white printers such as internal memos.
Black & white
Black & white logos are for use in low-contrast printing, such as fax machine or photocopying. As the logo has already been created in a single colour, you do not end up with any quality loss when it is reproduced.
Not all of the file types are suitable for all versions. Below is a list of the correct file types to use for each version.
Full-colour, Greyscale and Black & white logo file types
You can expect to receive the following file types:
JPEG: You should receive a high-res CMYK for printing and a low-res RGB for web/screen use.
PNG: You should receive a low-res RGB version for screen and web use. It should have a transparent background. Sometimes you will see a grey and white checkerboard behind the logo, this signifies that it is transparent.
EPS (or AI): You should receive a Pantone Spot Colour version for use with litho printing and a CMYK version. There is no high or low res quality with an EPS as it is vector which means it is scalable to any size. If you are, for example, using your logo at a large scale such as a sign or exhibition graphics, it is an EPS that you would need to supply. On occasions, you might receive an AI file instead of and EPS. You won't be able to open these file types on your computer unless you have a graphics programme like Adobe Illustrator but if you are supplying the logo to a designer or printer, this is the file type they prefer.
PDF: Sometimes you will receive a PDF of your logo. This will be very similar to the EPS version but you will be able to view it in Adobe Reader.
Reverse logo file types
For reverse logos, you can expect to receive the following file types:
PNG: As with the other versions, you should receive a low-res RGB version for screen and web use with a transparent background. You might have noticed that there is no JPEG version listed for the reverse logo. This is because JPEGs are flat images so if you saved a reverse logo as a JPEG you would just have a white image.
EPS (or AI): You should receive a CMYK version. It is likely that there will be no preview for this file type.
PDF: This will be the same as above. In some circumstances, you might receive a pdf of the logo on a black background but this is not recommended as the black might not match a different black background. It is much better for the logo to have a transparent background so it can be placed over any colour.