Which File Format?

Evolving file formats

In a post last year I explained ‘Why the designer needs an EPS‘. A post to clarify the differences between Vector and Bitmap files and why one might be preferable to the other. Near the end of the post I mentioned that we provide all our logo art work as PDF and PNG files. Today I’m going to explain why we made that decision, and why it’s better for our client and their suppliers.

EPS Good, PDF Better.

What could make EPS files better? Well wouldn’t it be nice if you could see the artwork.

The PDF file format is not really one type of file, but rather a wrapper for different files that gives them more flexibility and most importantly visability. PDFs can contain vector or bitmap information or a combination of both. They can be low resolution for web or email or high resolution for press or publication. They can even incorporate forms, mark-up, comments and links. But there most important feature is that they can be read and seen by, easily, by most users.

For our logo artwork we use Illustrator vector files, saved as Illustrator Default PDFs. This means the files keep all the Illustrator format abilities (layers, transparencies etc) are resolution independent vectors (can scale to any size) and are enclosed in the PDF file format (so you can see the artwork). They are basically an EPS file wrapped in a PDF format. They can be placed in and used by any professional design application. They can be opened and edited by any professional vector editing program.

PDF v EPS Atributes Table

JPG Easy, PNG Easiest.

How about using an image format that didn’t start off by degrading the image.

As with the vector version of the file we have settled on what we consider to be a superior format for electronic publishing. While JPGs are a standard everybody knows they have a dirty secret. They throw away information! That’s right, JPG is a lossy compression technology. The reason it makes files so small is because it doesn’t keep all the information. Part of this process also involves the softening or blurring of sharp edges, the kind of edges that are commonly found in logos. While this was necessary when were all on dial up modems, it’s no longer true today. PNG files provide superior quality while maintaining crisp graphic edges with the benefit of transparency. PNG files are compatible with all browsers, modern email clients and, importantly for our clients, Word, Powerpoint & Excel.

JPG v PNG Attribute table

Start with the best.

If you want to make sure you logo always looks good start out with the highest quality files.

As we like to supply our clients with the best quality master files for there new identity we supply them with PDF and PNG files. From there the files can be converted or transformed into the best format for the particular application. We reason: if you have the highest quality artwork in the most flexible format you are giving your new identity the best possible start.

If you’d like to make sure your next identity gets off to the best possible start, give us a call.

Derek Carroll
Director or Design

 

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    9 Responses to “The best file format for Logos”

    1. Anne says:

      A great summary of logo formats, uses and attributes Derek. As a brand designer working in Melbourne I to find clients and also suppliers not understanding the fundamentals to logo file formats. It is something very simple that I think you have summarised perfectly. Thanks Anne.

    2. Ted says:

      Thanks Derek. Great advice for maintaing consistency and efficient image usage. I will bookmark this for sure.

    3. Scott says:

      Great advice. Thank you.

    4. Logoblink says:

      this post was in my To-Do list from a long time, but here it is – written and visualized in a simple way :)
      cheers!

      M.

    5. Derek says:

      No worries, this and the explanation on Why the designer needs an EPS (http://wp.me/p1L7xp-AV) are two we constantly refer clients to. It makes useful reading for anyone working with brand identities or logos.

    6. Jade says:

      Thanks for this, very helpful :) Just wondering what resolution you save out the PNG’s? If the client wants to put these into Word and PPT high res versions will perform better when printing out, but for web use they would only need 72dpi?

    7. Derek says:

      Hi Jude.

      Sorry for the tardy reply, I’ve been on leave.
      You’ll need to talk to your client about where the sweet spot is for them Print Quality or Small file size
      I always err on the side of caution with resolution starting with higher quality while keeping an eye on file size, naturally it depends on the size the logo will be used. Also Word and PP do strange things to embedded images when re-saved on different platforms so it’s always good to prototype and test with a clients real word needs.

      That said, 150dpi is generally good enough quality for most office laser printers, while not resulting in too massive a file.

    8. khorshed says:

      Thank you ! for Great advice

    9. Malcolm Lewis says:

      This is just what I needed to know about logo formats. Thank you for writing and sharing. Spot on and very helpful.

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