Logo Format: Explanation of File Formats

Laura DeVries

Laura DeVries

As a graphic designer and marketing professional, I often work with new clients that already have an existing logo. To move forward using that logo, I ask them to send me their original logo artwork so I can start working on their content. Then comes the nagging question: “What file format should it be?” Despite answering this question time and again, I too frequently end up recreating the logo for my client because they didn’t receive the original artwork from their previous designer. This causes a big headache for the graphic designers. So, in order to save yourself time and money, here is an explanation of why .ai and .eps are the best formats in which to have your logo created:

What is an .Ai file?
AI stands for Adobe Illustrator. It is a vector-artwork based design program that makes it easy to work with original logo artwork. If you don’t have Illustrator installed on your computer and you’re on a Windows system, you can preview the artwork by changing the file extension from .ai to .pdf and open with Acrobat Reader. If you’re on a Mac, you can preview .ai files in the Preview application. Illustrator files are favorable for company logos because the program makes it easier to modify and manipulate the file.

What is an .Eps file?
EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript. This is another common format that makes working with original logo artwork easy. I also find it easy to work with .eps files in Illustrator.

Why .Ai or .Eps and not .Jpeg files?
JPEG files are based on raster graphics. This means that the file is made up from a grid of squares called pixels. Once JPEG files are saved as a certain size, they can’t be manipulated without looking fuzzy– this is where the term “pixelated” comes from. AI and EPS files are based on vector graphics. Vector graphics are the opposite of raster graphics as they are based on points and curves that scale precisely. With these graphics, your logo can be manipulated without ever looking fuzzy. JPEGs are great for photographs, but not logos!

Why not .Png or .Gif?
PNGs and GIFs are great for logos when being used on the web. But when it comes to printing logos, PNG and GIF will still make the logo look pixelated unless the PNG file is very large. So in this case, it’s still better to work with AI and EPS files.

Some Other Tips
Ask your designer to include with your company logo all fonts and all high resolution images. There are different versions of Illustrator and different licensing for fonts that may not translate between systems. The safest bet is to include this information so anyone can open and edit the file.

I hope these tips are useful when it comes to working with your designer to make an easily accessible and versatile company logo!

Laura DeVries

Laura DeVries