Logo File Formats – Choosing the Right One

  • Logo File Formats – Choosing the Right One

File Type Usage

For a Word or Powerpoint document

You will use a GIF (.gif), PNG (.png) or JPEG (.jpg) file. These are ‘bitmap’ files (pictures made of dots), and will be easily imported by Office applications.  We prefer GIF or PNG files because they use up less disc space, and have transparent backgrounds which can be placed on top of colored backgrounds.

For a web page

Use a JPG, GIF, PNG file. These are low resolution files suitable for the web. Don’t try to scale it though! You should use it at its exact pixel size (or smaller). Enlarging one of these files will cause the logo to look blurry or pixelated.

Professional print

You need an EPS or PDF file. These are ‘Vector’ files. These can be scaled as large or as small as you wish without affecting the clarity of the logo. You will probably not be able to open and view an EPS file, but this is the preferred format to send to a professional print house for your professional print jobs.


Bitmap files are made up of rows and columns of dots. When you enlarge them, you can see the dots. Examples are JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP.

effect of gif compression bitmap effect of zooming
GIF format logo
Blockyness when enlarging bitmap

BMP Bit Map Picture files are commonly used on Windows PCs. They are not suitable for transfer across the Internet, because they are poorly compressed.

EPS – Encapsulated Postscript Files are vector files and used by printers, designers and other graphics professionals. Logos designed in Illustrator will be originally in this format. From this file, you can make as many ‘bitmap’ versions at whatever size you choose. They are infinitely scalable.

GIF – Graphic Interchange Format. This sort of bitmap file is very good for simple line art, logos and icons, preferably for the web only.

JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group files are bitmaps which are great for photos but very poor for logos or text. They use a commonly used method of lossy compression for digital photography (image). The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality.

PDF – Portable Document Format are vector files and used by printers, designers and for general document distribution. They have all the advantages of EPS format and a smaller file size.

PNG – Portable Network Graphics files are bitmap files. The format supports a wider range of options than GIF and is well supported by web browsers. It should not be used for professional print. This file type keeps the transparency in tact, allowing you to place this file on colored backgrounds.

Vector files are made up of mathematically described geometric lines and shapes (rather than coloured dots) and so will never get ‘blocky’, whatever size you print them. Examples of vector formats are EPS, AI, PDF, EMF.

Logo Types

RGB -The main purpose of the RGB color model (Red, Green, Blue) is for the sensing, representation, and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers, though it has also been used in conventional photography. Use this version only for the web or in-house printing.

CMYKCMYK refers to the four inks used in color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). Use this logo version when sending or printing from a professional printing press.

KO (Knockout)Knockout type is typically text that is knocked out or reversed out of a dark background so that the type appears in the color of the paper (which is typically white).

K (Black) – Use this version when you want to print an all Black version of your logo. Mostly used for 2-color or black & white printing commonly in newspapers or other advertising.



Wow – I love it when I stumble across this kind of information and realise how little I actually know about the stuff I’m trying to do in photoshop etc.

Thanks for taking the time to explain the basics!