Clients often don’t know which logo formats they can confidently request from the design company that handle their corporate identity design. Some will make do with the last low resolution proof they have received and gratefully add it to a makeshift letterhead (which will print horribly because of pixelation). Others might request a high resolution version and ask a signage company to sandblast it onto their shopfronts, no doubt causing them nightmares if it is a complex logo.
Here is a summary of logo formats you can (and should) expect from your design team:
- High resolution CMYK (print-ready): This logo version must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi and will most probably be in a bitmap format (like JPEG or PNG). At this resolution it will print crisply and clearly without any pixelation. It will, however, be too large to use for on-screen purposes like websites (due to large file size).
- Low resolution RGB (web-ready): This logo version will usually have a resolution of 72 dpi and will be in a web-ready bitmap format like JPEG, PNG or GIF. It can be used for any on-screen display purposes, e.g. websites, email footers, presentations, etc. Because of its low resolution the file size will be relatively small, which means it will load quickly on websites, but it is not suitable for printing.
- Monochrome version (print-ready): In certain situations you might need a monochrome (black and white) version of your logo, e.g. fax head, vinyl sandblasting, corporate clothing, etc. This logo version must also have a resolution of at least 300 dpi and will most probably be in a bitmap format (like JPEG or PNG). Note that converting a logo to black and white is sometimes an intricate process that requires some time – complex logos cannot be converted at the click of a button!
- Vector version (print- and web-ready): This logo version is resolution independent and can be scaled without loss of quality. Typical formats include EPS (most common), AI (Adobe Illustrator) and CDR (CorelDraw). Although you need special software to open formats like EPS, your printer/other designers will need this version if you ever have large format printing done. Note that logos that have been designed in resolution dependent software, like Adobe Photoshop, can usually not be converted to a vector format without duplication of work. You need to discuss your needs with your design team before the logo is designed.
- Reversed out versions (optional): You might require your logo to work on a dark background from time to time. While some logos work fine as is on a dark background, others need some tweaking. If you require a reversed out version of your logo, be sure to discuss it with your design team, because they might not view it as standard practice.
Bear in mind that the source files (aka original or open files) remain the intellectual property of the designer/design company, except if indicated otherwise in their terms and conditions. You should be able to request all the formats mentioned above without hassle or complaint.
A final note: please remember to always scale your logo proportionally and use the appropriate format for its intended purpose!