Most businesses have a logo, or some sort of mark to identify their business (If you don't, connect with us about branding, or check out this post on DIY tips). If you do, congratulations, you're off to a great start! But did you know that to optimize your brand, you ought to have multiple file formats and logo formats? We call this your Logo Toolbox, comprised of all the formats you should have access to. Let's dive into this further.
As a design studio, if we are working on ad-hoc design projects, clients will often send us their logo (and hopefully brand guidelines). If you are already have an existing logo, make sure you have it in the following formats:
- .jpg: Most people will send us a .jpg file with their logo. This is typically an image file with the logo in the center on a white background. Here's a little known fact: a .jpg is actually the worst logo file format you can use or present to a designer. Why is that?
.jpg files are what are called rasterized files. In short, this means that the file was created as one size, therefore if you ever want to blow it up for use on other things, it will start to get pixelated (ie. grainy and fuzzy) and you will lose the nice clean look of your logo. The other main reason is because as I mentioned, .jpgs usually have a white background. While this is fine 80% of the time you use the logo and it will look great on a white background, the reality is that you may at some point want to put it on another coloured background or over an image. Imagine your nice logo that you have invested money in, sitting in an ugly white block over the background. Trust me, it doesn't look great!
- .png. This is the format that is a step up from a .jpeg. .png files are also rasterized images, so you would encounter similar issues with losing clarity when the image is blown up. Imagine wanting your logo to appear on a tshirt or large banner and it looking fuzzy. The upside of a .png vs. a .jpg file is that .pngs typically have a transparent background so you will not have the same issues of including a white block on your materials.
- .ai, .eps and .svg. To non-designers, these file types my be completely foreign. That's perfectly fine! You may never need to use them; as they can only be created or opened on a program like Adobe Illustrator. These are files that you would require if you were asked for your logo by a designer, OR needed to send it to a printer for a project. These types of files are essential to have in your collection, because they are vector images - the opposite of rasterized images. This means that the logos in these files are as high res as you would ever need them to be and they can be blown up to any size or shrunk down to a certain extent, without ever losing integrity. Your logo will look just as good on a business card as on a billboard!
Most businesses have one logo and think this is all they will ever need. And for a time, this was probably true. But as the internet, technology and media have evolved, businesses have needed to adapt and become versatile in the changing environment. The same is true for your logo. I'll explain further below as I outline all the logo formats you should have for your brand, using examples from one of our branding clients, Manus Consulting.
- Primary logo. This is just as the name explains, the logo that you will use the majority of the time. It can also be described as the full version of the logo, typically comprised of an icon or mark, and text.
The primary logo for Manus Consulting includes a maze icon, with the company name to the right.
2. Secondary Logo. This is the one that many clients will not have, and is essentially a simplified or alternate version of the logo that still communicates the same brand. I would recommend that this be a square format or something that would center nicely in a square. Why is this version important? For one, sometimes logos that contain text run into trouble when they are shrunk down. The smaller it becomes, the harder it is to read. The other reason is that you may enter a situation where it is helpful to have a simpler version of the logo - the best example of this is on social media profiles and for your website favicon (the small icon on your internet browser tab that identifies your website). The square format is recommended because they work best for these and most other applications.
As an example, picture the Nike logo. The logo with the word Nike is commonly seen, but the signature swoosh is just as significant on its own.
The secondary logo for Manus Consulting is the icon of the maze alone. This still represents the brand clearly but in a simpler way.
Your company may choose to have other additional formats, but try to limit them and make sure that your brand identity is consistent throughout.
For every logo you have, the colours used in the files are also very important! Make sure to have these files on hand.
1. RGB file or Web version: Colours appear very differently in print than on your computer or phone screen. Designers should provide two types of files, RGB which includes the web colours and CMYK which has the logo in its equivalent print colours. Look for WEB or RGB in your file name.
2. CMYK file or Print version: To elaborate on the explanation of RGB, fewer colours exist for print than for the web, so it is unwise to use the same logo file for your print materials as it will often print very differently. Think about a time in the past where you printed a photograph or a screenshot and the colours looked off. Having a separate CMYK file of your logo will make sure your brand colours are correct. Remember, consistency is key! Look for PRINT or CMYK in the file name.
3. Black logo. This is not so much a file type, but another format of your logo. If you have a full colour logo, I would highly recommend also having one version that is all black. You may find it handy to include on a background that is busy, as often your logo will look less clear on a cluttered background if it has colour. An all-black version ensures it stands out, regardless of the background. You should have both your primary and secondary logos in black.
Manus Consulting's primary and secondary logos in an all black format.
4. White logo. For the same reasons as the all black logo, you'll also find an all white logo extremely handy. This will appear the best on coloured backgrounds and photographs.
Here's a quick checklist for your logo toolbox:
Hope this helps! This was a summary of file types that we provide all of our clients to make sure they are well equipped to use their logo for any platform they choose. If you work with a designer on your logo, make sure to ask what logo formats you will receive and ensure that you have them all! If you already have a logo but don't have all these formats, reach out to your logo designer and ask for them! These are standard files that all designers should be able to provide, and they will help you a lot in the future.
If you have any questions, please leave your comments below!