by Erin Ferree
As a graphic designer, I am sure that you need to design logos on occasion. You should provide different versions of the finished designed logo in order to give different file formats to the customer. You should also give the customer different color variations of the logo along with different file types for each color variation.
Versions of your logo that you should own.
Your logo is the most important graphic element in which you will invest for your business. You should own the logo in many file formats. Having a library of logo files will enable you to get vendors the types of files they need (for example, other designers, printers, or other service providers).
There are two major categories that I will cover in this article – color variations and file-type variations.
Logo Design Files - Color Variations
You should receive your logo graphic from your designer in all of the file types listed below in the “File Formats” section (unless otherwise noted) in the following color variations:
Logo Design Files - Pantone color or CMYK color
Pantone color (if applicable) – If you intend to have your business cards or other materials printed professionally, choosing Pantone colors makes the process less expensive than printing in full four- (or CMYK-) color, unless you choose to use the new digital printing technologies available today.
Logo Design Files - Full CMYK color
This is for four-color printing, full color ads, and for use on any materials that you intend to print from your own desktop color printer, i.e, invoices, statements, receipts, letters, etc.
Logo Design Files - RGB color
RGB color – For use on your website or in your email. You should get JPEG and GIF formats in this color scheme.
Logo Design Files - Grayscale and/or black and white versions
Logo Design Files - Grayscale
If your logo contains more than one color, or if it has tones or shades of one color, you should receive a grayscale version. You would use this when your logo is included in the newspaper or in the Yellow Pages, or on any black and white laser-printed materials you may create.
Logo Design Files - Black and white
This version would be used to produce the best-quality logo on faxes or any materials you reproduce using a copier.
Depending on the design of the logo, sometimes only either a black and white or grayscale version of the logo will be applicable. For example, for a logo with just one color in it, only a black and white version would apply. And, if elements of different colors overlap, a grayscale version will ensure that the different graphic elements do not bleed together, as they would if they were all converted to black. So you may not receive both grayscale and black and white versions, but having one or the other should suffice.
Logo Design Files - File Formats:
Logo Design Files - Original graphic
The original Illustrator, Photoshop, or other program-native document. This comes in handy if you make a minor change to your company (i.e., if you add LLC or Inc.), or if you decide to change your color scheme.
To make these types of changes easiest, you need a file of the logo in the original program in which it was created. If the logo was created in Illustrator (which is preferable, because creating vector graphics in Illustrator will allow your logo to be scaled up and down as needed), the type should not be outlined, unless your designer has done so in order to modify the typeface.
If the logo was created in Photoshop, the layers of the document should not be flattened, and the type should not be rasterized (converted from editable type into pixels) – this will ensure that it will still be editable.
Ask your designer which fonts have been used in the logo, so you could purchase it for use in other materials. This will avoid the lengthy and time-consuming process of font matching, should you work with other designers.
You should receive several different versions of the software’s native file formats from the designer, in case a future designer or printer ever uses an older version of the software. For example, I provide Illustrator files in Illustrator CS along with Illustrator 9.
Logo Design Files - EPS format
I recommend that your logo be in EPS 9 format. EPS can be opened and processed by many different programs. This is also the file format most commonly accepted/requested by printers.
Logo Design Files - PDF format
You will not be able to view many of the file formats of your design that you receive unless you have graphics software applications. I suggest that you receive the PDF files of each Color Version of your logo. You will be able to view the PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Reader, available for free on Adobe’s web site at www.adobe.com
Logo Design Files - “Outlined” original format
The difference between this graphic and the original would be found in the Illustrator files. The fonts in the outlined original format would be outlined, which means that the letters are converted into shapes. In Photoshop, the type should be rasterized and the layers should be flattened. This outlined file should be provided in all of the formats listed above – original program format, EPS, and PDF.
These outlined file versions should be provided to any printers or service bureaus to lessen the chance that the elements in your logo could inadvertently be shifted around. This will make sure that your logo will print with the right font should the printer not have the font used in your logo.
Logo Design Files - JPEG and GIF formats
For web or email use. The GIF graphic should be created with a transparent background.
Logo Design Files - TIF Format
TIF format at 300 dots per inch (DPI) resolution, in RGB color format – For use in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files.
TIF format at 300 DPI – Some printers, ad vendors (i.e., the Yellow Pages), or other designers may require this file format in order to create additional designed materials.
Having your logo in these formats will ensure that you won’t ever need to have your logo redrawn or re-created for use in future projects. After all, you own your logo – shouldn’t you be able to use it as well?
Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a brand identity and graphic design expert. She has been helping small businesses grow with bold, clean and effective logo, marketing material and website designs for over a decade. Erin works closely in partnership with her clients to create designs that are visible, credible and memorable – and that tell their unique business stories in a clear and consistent way. For more information about elf design, and to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, "Growth: Expand your business by building your brand", please visit: Logo design at elf- design.com
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