What’s the best logo format?
Which file format you choose is crucial to the success of your logo. It determines whether your logo can be resized without sacrificing quality and whether its colors look the same when printed as they do on your computer screen. Keep reading to find out which file formats are suited to which areas.
- Why are there different logo formats?
- What are open file types for logos?
- What are the best logo file formats for digital media?
- What are the best logo file formats for print media?
- What’s the difference between vector and raster?
- Summary: The best logo file format
Why are there different logo formats?¶
File formats for images are usually developed by different companies and organizations. There are many different graphic file formats, but not all of them are suited to every situation. Some provide specific benefits for specific types of images. There are a number of good file types for logos which are usually “open”, meaning they’re compatible with different apps.
Your company’s logo is part of your corporate identity and will appear in different sizes and different media. That means that the ideal logo file format for display on digital devices will be different from that used for print media. The most important thing is that the file format supports a variety of logo sizes while maintaining good image quality. The logo colors should also look as similar as possible across media. You’ll need to use different logo file formats to get the best quality image in different areas.
What are open file types for logos?¶
Logos are usually created in professional graphics programs. Graphic file formats that are used for saving files while they are still being worked on and for conversion into other formats are called source files or open files. Here are some of the most common logo formats of this type:
- AI (Adobe Illustrator)
- EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)
- PDF (Portable Document Format)
- INDD (InDesign Document)
- PSD (PhotoShop Document)
These open file formats are the best formats for sending your logo file to graphic designers and printing companies. The source file can be used to create any other type of logo file format format for digital or print media.
The formats can be opened with design programs like Affinity Designer, Freehand and Corel.
In what follows, we’ll introduce the best formats for digital display and for print media.
Save time and money — Create your logo with IONOS’s free Logo Maker!
What are the best logo file formats for digital media?¶
Logo formats for digital display on different devices and for web design should support RGB. RGB refers to a color space in which colors are reproduced by mixing red, green and blue. Files should also make it possible to shrink or enlarge the logo without sacrificing quality. That all means that the logo should be saved as a vector file. For full-size images, you’ll need a resolution of 72 ppi (pixels per inch) at a minimum.
Here are some of the most common logo formats for digital media:
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)¶
Advantages: SVG is a two-dimensional vector graphic that enables scaling without any loss of image quality. No matter the size or resolution of the image, it will remain razor sharp. This logo format also supports graphic effects and, thanks to its small file size, fast loading times. SVG also allows for transparent backgrounds so that logos that aren’t square or rectangular can also be displayed well. To open a SVG file, you’ll need a browser or design program that can open vector files, such as Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator.
Disadvantages: SVG files don’t contain pixels, meaning they’re not suited for displaying high-resolution digital photos. If you add an SVG image to your website that’s full of detail, make sure that rendering (computing the image information) doesn’t take too long.
Good to know: SVG formats are graphic designers’ go-to file format.
PNG (Portable Network Graphic)¶
Advantages: PNGs are a pixel graphic format that can compress images without losing out on quality. They also allow for saving images with a transparent background. As long as you stick to a certain minimum image resolution, PNGs provide ideal image quality for a relatively small file size. This license-free file format can be opened with any image editing software.
Disadvantages: In order to guarantee that your image is faithfully rendered, you should choose a resolution of at least 72 ppi. You should also be sure to export and use your logo in the required size, otherwise it might turn out blurry.
Good to know: If you can’t save your logo file in SVG, PNG is graphic designers’ second choice.
JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)¶
Advantages: JPG (or JPEG) images use less memory than PNGs. They can also save images in RGB or in CMYK color space. You can open JPGs with most image editing, design and photo programs.
Disadvantages: JPG files are heavily compressed, meaning they might suffer in quality. Pixels can quickly get lost. In addition, JPGs will always have a white background.
Good to know: If you’re looking for a space-saving file format, check out our article “JPG or PNG?” for some guidance.
If you’re creating the style guide for your website, you should mention which file format your logo and other images should be saved in.
Advantages: The WebP format was developed by Google as an alternative to space-saving formats like JPG and PNG. It can be used to compress images either with or without losses in quality. It’s especially well suited to compressing images with little detail. WebP is best used for online media and digital display. You can open WebP files with most design programs, sometimes with a plugin. They can also be opened in any common browser.
Disadvantages: Not all browsers and operating systems support the display of WebP images. However, this mostly applies to niche browsers like KaiOS and old versions of operating systems like Windows 8.
Good to know: WebP is increasingly being use in lieu of PNG and JPG. Even back in 2020, most users were using a browser with WebP compatibility.
Advantages: The ICO image format is often used for saving favicons. Favicons are small logos that appear in favorites lists and browser tabs and can increase your brand recognition. ICO files save space and can contain different image sizes that are shown depending on the context. The ICO format can also be compressed as a PNG.
Disadvantages: Some browsers only support PNG and do not support ICO favicons. Moreover, icons are increasingly being saved as vector files or PNGs.
Good to know: The most popular size for favicons is 16x16 or 32x32 pixels.
One of the best places for your logo is your own website! Create your own website with IONOS’s Website Builder. It offers a variety of designs, SEO and security features, all without any coding.
What are the best logo file formats for print media?¶
Logos on print media such as posters, flyers, business cards, envelopes and magazines are printed in CMYK color space or, if needed, in special colors (Pantone, HKS). The base colors of the CMYK color space are cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When creating logo files for print, images should have a resolution of at least 300 ppi. Pixels are then converted into dpi (dots per inch) for printing.
Here are some of the most common logo formats for print media:
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)¶
Advantages: EPS is a standard format for opening and editing vector graphics. It supports scalability without any loss in quality and also works with transparent backgrounds. To open EPS files, you’ll need a program that supports vector graphics, such as Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or Freehand. Just like SVG is the best format for digital media, EPS is the best format when it comes to print.
Disadvantages: Many operating systems don’t allow for EPS files to be opened on every platform, meaning you’ll need special software.
Good to know: Even though it’s optimal for high print quality, EPS is out of date and is increasingly being replaced by formats like AI and PDF among designers.
PDF (Portable Document Format)¶
Advantages: PDF files are usually vector-based and, thanks to their scalability, are displayed identically on a variety of devices. Exporting and opening PDF files on a variety of platforms and apps is also very simple. It’s also possible to encrypt PDFs to protect their contents.
Disadvantages: You’ll usually need a special editor to edit PDF files. PDFs are thus best suited to sending finished files that don’t require any further work.
Good to know: Some PDFs can contain vector and pixel graphics and thus offer complex design options for layouts and logos. Check in advance about the scalability of PDFs with mixed graphics.
JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)¶
Advantages: JPG (or JPEG) files take up little space, even when it comes to large-scale formats. They’re also supported by a wide variety of photo and image editing programs. Since they support both RBG and CMYK color spaces (the latter of which is used for printing), they’re just as well suited for print as they are for digital media. Thanks to their high compressibility, they can be used to edit and share templates for print, as long as the resolution is high enough.
Disadvantages: If JPGs are being used for print, they should have a minimum resolution of 300 ppi. Enlarging images after the fact is discouraged, as it will often result in blurry, pixelated content. Another disadvantage is that JPG doesn’t support transparent backgrounds.
Good to know: JPGs can also be compressed without any loss in quality, and can be rotated, inverted and cropped without losing data.
What’s the difference between vector and raster?¶
When choosing the best logo format, you’ll often have to choose between a pixel graphic or a vector graphic. Pixel graphics are composed of a large number of pixels arranged in a grid and are thus considered raster graphics. Vector graphics, on the other hand, save image information using simple geometric forms like lines, curves, circles or polygons.
One big advantage of vector graphics is how flexibly they can be shrunk and enlarged without losing out on image quality, no matter the resolution. Original graphics files are usually vector based. Vector formats are especially good logo file formats because they allow for display in a variety of sizes. They’re also well suited to printing on a variety of materials. One disadvantage of vector graphics is that they need to be rendered in order to be shown as an image. This might leader to longer loading times for digital media, depending on the image contents and computing capacity.
The main advantages of pixel graphics are that they can directly display contents on pixel-based devices like computers and that they use very little memory for smaller image sizes. Pixel graphics are thus well suited to small to mid-sized images in digital media and to photos in particular. The downside of pixel graphics is that they can’t be resized without losing out on image quality. For print media, images should have a minimum resolution of 300 ppi.
You’d rather leave your website design to professionals? IONOS can design your website for you, including support with maintenance!
Summary: The best logo file format¶
With the right logo format, you’ll make sure that your logo appears in the best possible quality across platforms and media. If you have a graphic designer make your logo, be sure to get the file in various formats from them. That way you’ll be all set up to use your logo online and in print.
It’s especially important that you get the original file for your logo in an open file format. This is the file you’ll have to use to create all of the other formats. You might need to make small changes to your logo in the future and wouldn’t want to have to start from scratch!
What does a good logo look like?. In our article, we summarize the findings of a design study.