Logo file formats can be incredibly confusing to clients and designers. All the time, I see people mix up when to use a png vs. jpeg vs. svg. In this article we walk through exactly when to use each of the following six key logo file types.
Bonus: export all these logo files in less than 5 min using Logo Package Express
Here are the most commonly used logo file formats and their intended uses:
If you want, you can also categorize logo file formats based on what applications they’re most commonly used in. In this case, you have the following:
JPG is probably the most common image file format. It’s best used for photos which is why it is often a bad choice for a logo file. Unlike a PNG it doesn’t support a transparent background and it does a worse job of showing clear text.
Remember JPG is smaller than PNG but has lower quality. If you are looking for a small file for web we suggest using a SVG.
A PNG logo file is probably most common for web. The text will be more clear than a JPG file and it will allow you to have a transparent background. This will allow you to put the logo over any background color. PNG is a great option for using a logo on the web. Though we think SVG is better when it can be used.
The SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file format is a true vector file format. Of course, the attraction of vector images is that you can scale them without losing quality.
This is a format that’s rendered in XML, which means that the end result is a very small file. For all intents and purposes, this should offer better performance and faster load times. The fact that it’s resolution-independent is even better.
Compared to more popular formats such as PNG and JPG, the image quality remains the same regardless of the screen resolution. It’s also important to understand that SVG is an open standard. It can be opened in almost any graphics application.
All in all, SVG is a better true vector format for logos and a host of other graphics. Perhaps most importantly, it’s universally accepted for all web-based projects. For logos this file type is also the smallest in size which means it will load the fastest.
The only real downside of exporting a logo as an SVG file is what happens next. Once that file is opened and editing is attempted, it may not be possible to reverse any changes. It’s not uncommon to have to do post submission work by hand on SVG edits.
This is the native file format for Adobe Illustrator, which used EPS natively before Illustrator 9 switched over to AI.
What’s ideal about it is that it’s very easy to use with all Illustrator tools. This means that in terms of editing, creativity, and everything else, AI is much less restrictive.
Although this is not the best format overall, it’s understandably the most popular. For collaboration purposes, sending an AI logo file format may speed up the work.
When another designer asks for the “source file” they are asking for the Illustrator file. Logos should always be made in Illustrator and never in Photoshop because you want to create vector-based graphics.
Although considered by some a dying breed, EPS logo formats are still used these days in printing. It’s an older vector graphics file format that’s spawned newer formats. It’s not under development anymore, hence its limited niched use.
Short for Encapsulated PostScript, it’s a PostScript program (developed by Adobe) that can be saved with a low-resolution preview. The end result is a file that can be previewed in a range of programs.
With any graphics editor that supports EPS, you can manipulate all the composite graphics in an EPS file, retouch them according to instructions, and then export them in the same format for use in printing.
One of the great things about the EPS logo file format is that it’s cross-platform compatible. Working between Mac and Windows workstations shouldn’t be an issue.
However, with complex images, it’s not as easy as dragging and dropping everything and hitting save. EPS files rely on mathematical formulas for the rendering of previews. They’re easy to manipulate but will require some time and skill.
Furthermore, you can’t always modify the page layout section (coloration, lines, text, and other details) after the final logo has been delivered.
PDF logo file format is not recommended but can be used for print as it supports transparency and is a vector file format. If your logo is part of a larger print design like a t-shirt it may be best to send to the printer as a PDF. Ask your print shop if they have a template that they would like you to use.
It’s possible to make a very good impression and give your client all possible options and outcomes. By using something like Logo Package Express, an Adobe Illustrator extension, you can compile an archive that has all the logo file formats, unique folder names, color and transparency options… pretty much everything else your client’s going to need to make changes or use the logo for posting or printing.