Managing your brand’s logo assets can be confusing because of the variety of file formats. Knowing whether a .jpg, a .gif or an .eps is the best option for your project may be a gamble unless you know the differences. In fact, there are differences between vector (.ai, .eps, .pdf) and raster (.jpg, .png, .gif) files that will have an impact on how well your brand reproduces.
Vector vs. Raster. Which is better for your logo?
If you are working with an outside vendor or graphic designer, odds are they have asked you for your logo in vector format. There are differences between a vector logo and a raster logo but here is a basic explanation:
- Vector is a mathematical algorithm of points and lines that can be infinitely scaled without compromising image quality.
- Raster is a cluster of colored squares arranged in a finitely scalable grid, usually within small tolerances and limitations.
Take a look at the images below. The first image is a close-up of the Trillion logo in a vector format (simulated). You can see the points and lines which create the shape of the logo. These points and lines are completely scalable without losing any sharpness or quality. The digital file size of a vector logo is typically between 300kb and 1mb, relatively small, regardless of the size the logo is being scaled to.
The image below is a close-up of the Trillion logo in a rasterized format. You can see how the edges of the logo are pixelated, or squared off. The edge of the logo also reveals the shades of grey which are trying to give the optical illusion of a curved line. If you tried scaling this logo larger, the pixelation would become more and more apparent. The digital file size of a raster logo can be as small as 5kb (very small) or as large as several mb or more depending on the size that the logo is being used.
If you could only have one logo format, which would it be?
A vector logo is the best file format for your logo because it provides the most flexibility when you need to create raster logos. This is important because raster logos are often required for web and digital applications so even if you have a vector logo, you’ll need to save raster versions at the optimized sizes in order to use them on the web. A graphic design studio like Trillion can render optimized raster logos from a vector file in order to yield the best results.
Another problem with vector logo files is that most business people do not have software that will allow them to accurately view the vector file. Software such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign will be able to open, edit and see a vector logo, as would Adobe Photoshop, but Microsoft Word would have a hard time utilizing it.
What happens if you don’t have a vector logo?
If you need to enlarge your brand’s logo and only have a raster version of it such as a .jpg, you may be able to have a graphic designer recreate it. Depending on the complexity of the logo and the quality of your raster version, they may be able to redraw it in vector format. It’s not ideal, but it is possible.
I have an .eps logo file but my graphic designer says it’s not vector.
Typically .eps, .pdf or .ai files are vector logo files. The tricky thing about these formats is that they also support raster logos. This means that having an .eps, .pdf or .ai file is no guarantee that you have a vector version of your logo. We’ve seen it where clients will save their raster logo in the new format only to be disappointed when we tell them that it does not contain the vector art we need to utilize their logo at a large size.
We hope that this helps explain the different image file formats. Partnering with a graphic design studio that can care for all of your logo assets is a wise investment to make in your brand. When we design a logo for our clients, we provide it in several different file formats, including vector and raster versions, for both print and digital media usage. If you are having trouble with your logo or would like to have it redesigned by the brand experts at Trillion, contact us so we can discuss your logo challenges. You can also call us direct at 908.219.4703.