File Formats – What do I need for my logo?

Vectors vs. Bitmaps

You may or may not be familiar with the terms Bitmap and Vector, but you probably use these types of files every day. These are two different categories of image files. Bitmaps(also sometimes called “Rastor” images) are by far the most common. It includes common file types like .jpg, .gif, .png. A bitmap is an image file that is made up of dots or pixels. If you zoom in too far on a bitmap image you start to see a pixelated effect.

Vector images are far less common, and many people are unaware of these file types entirely. The most common examples are .eps, .svg, and .ai files. In some cases .pdf files can contain vector data as well. Vector files store their data as points and lines on a kind of invisible grid. This allows the image to be sized up or down without losing quality or becoming pixelated.

What’s best for logos?

A logo needs to be able to be used in a variety of different ways. Whether you create your logo yourself or have a graphic designer create something for you, you will eventually need to have your logo in a vector format. It is simple to convert a vector image into a bitmap image, but not so simple to convert a bitmap image into a vector image, especially if the image is complex or highly detailed. So ideally you should start out with your logo in a vector format. If you are going to put your logo on shirts or mugs or the like, this is the kind of file the printer will ask for. It also enables you to make your logo as big (like a billboard) or as small (like a business card) as you need to without sacrificing any quality.

So, if vectors are so handy why don’t we use vectors all the time? Vector files do have some limitations. Certain effects are more difficult to create in a vector format. Also though most up to date web browsers do technically support vector files, bitmap formats are more widely and effectively supported. So when putting your logo on your website, in an email signature, or as profile picture on a social media platform you will also need your logo in a bitmap format. Out of the most commonly supported bitmap formats I usually choose .png because it allows transparency and then I can avoid a pesky white box around the logo.

Got the .JPG Logo blues?

If you already have a logo and but it’s not in vector format, never fear. Though it can sometimes take a skilled hand you can have your logo converted to a vector file. I offer this service here at New Leaf. Taking this small step makes your logo more versatile.

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