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How and when to use different logo file types

After your graphic designer delivers your logo, you will find a folder full of the same image in various file formats. You may want to upload the logo to Facebook or get some new business cards made. Should you use the.JPG, or do you use a.PDF? Also, what the heck is an.AI or.EPS file, and why do you need them? 

Here is a crash course on different logo file types and when you should use them and should not. 

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Logo file cheat sheet:

Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Instagram)

.png, .jpg


.jpg, .png

Marketing Materials

.ai, .eps, .png, .pdf


.eps, .pdf, .png

Edit the logo

.ai, .psd

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EPS: Encapsulated Postscript

What is a .eps file?

Encapsulated Postscript, or EPS for short, is intended to put images or drawings in a document and is pixel-perfect at any size. This feature makes .eps an ideal file type for brand images, logos, and print advertisements

Benefits of .eps files

  • Scalable to any size 
  • Transparent background


Drawbacks of .eps files:

  • A limited number of applications can use the file

Applications that can open .eps files: 

You can open and edit.eps files using design software such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw Freehand, or Adobe Photoshop. You can even use .eps files to add images to Microsoft word documents.

When to use a .eps logo file:

  • Printers
  • Promotional product companies
  • Silk screeners 
  • Banner companies 
  • Sign companies 
  • Graphic designers

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PDF: Portable Document Format


What is a .pdf file?

Portable Document Format, also known as a PDF, is a universal file format. .pdf files preserve and embed fonts, images, layouts, and graphics of any source document, regardless of the application used to create the file. Depending on the settings used to save the file, .pdfs can be relatively small files that are easy to share.

PDF files can be shared, viewed, and printed by anyone with the free Adobe Reader software. With software such as InDesign or Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can create a fillable form to make document collection and storage faster and more environmentally friendly. 

Benefits of .pdf files

    • Easy to create 

    • Crisp text and images 

    • Interactive (fillable forms)

Drawbacks of .pdf files

    • It cannot be expanded to any size. 

    • It may require the download of Adobe Acrobat.

Applications that can open .pdf files

Adobe Acrobat, Apple Preview, and most browsers. 

When to use a .pdf logo file

    • Sharing legal documents

    • Print marketing 

    • Digital marketing

    • Desktop printing

PNG: Portable Network Graphics

What is a .PNG file?

Portable Network Graphic files, or PNG files, are bitmap images. They use lossless data compression, which helps keeps their file sizes small and easy to load. One of the most significant benefits of using a .png file is saving an image with a transparent background. 

Benefits of .PNG files

    • Small file size

    • Transparent background 

    • Widely accepted

Drawbacks of .PNG files

    • Cannot stretch without pixelation 

Applications that can open PNG files

Nearly all applications can open .png files. No matter if you are creating a word document, uploading a picture to social media, or including a photo in an email, .png is an excellent choice.

When to use a .PNG logo file  

    • Social Media 

    • Websites 

    • Emails 

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    PSD: Photoshop Document


    What is a .PSD file?

    Photoshop Documents, or PSD files, format, usually a raster format, contains graphics and photos created in Adobe Photoshop image editing software. Most commonly used by designers and printers. PSD files can only be opened using Photoshop and may be created in layers.

    Benefits of .PSD files

      • Original design files

      • Saves in layers

    Drawbacks of .PSD files

      • Specialized software required to open and edit

      • Often large file size 

    Applications that can open .PSD files

    You can open a .psd file using Adobe Photoshop

    When to use a .PSD logo

      • To modify logo

      • Some commercial printers

    AI: Adobe Illustrator

    Overview of .AI files

    For Adobe Illustrator files, use the .ai filename extension. Overall you, as a graphic design client, may not have much use for a .ai file. You can only open the document with the Adobe Illustrator program. It is beneficial if you want someone to modify an existing product in the future. It gives you access to the actual design file. 

    Benefits of .AI files 

    • Can save the design files
    • Allows for edits to the design in the future 
    • Saves as vector 

    **Vector Graphics are made of paths, not pixels, which means they can be scaled to a larger size and preserve image quality.**

    Drawbacks of .AI files

    • Large file type
    • Requires specialized software to edit.

    Applications that can open .AI files

    You can open AI files using Adobe Illustrator and other commercial industry printing applications. 

    When to use an .AI logo

    • Printers
    • Promotional product companies 
    • Silk screeners
    • Banner companies
    • Sign companies
    • Other graphic designers
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