At some point in the discussion of a new branding project, the client will almost always ask what files they expect to receive. At first, I found this an odd query, although perfectly valid, my assumption was alway that I’d supply every file they’d need, why would I design a logo and do anything less?
I’ve come to understand this a little more, and I think it’s two-fold. Firstly modern brands have a lot of “users”. In the past, brand elements would only be applied by professionals, people such as graphic designers, printers, and sign writers. They would be provided with the assets, perhaps alongside a chunky brand manual, check this reproduction of the classic British Rail Corporate Identity.
Today however many people in a business are expected to use a companies brand-assets, perhaps when producing a presentation, or putting together an ID badge for an event. These tasks that were once jobs for specialists have been made possible using computer software and our knowledge (or willing to learn) how to use it. Small businesses and Micro businesses, which have boomed in the last decade thanks to the credit crunch recession, have to handle a multitude of tasks including visual marketing projects from within their small staff pool (that may be a pool of one).
This means that clients, both big and small, need to be confident that they’ll receive the types of file they can use and distribute to their staff to use. It’s not good them receiving artwork in strange and specialist file formats that they can’t open or manipulate. Often they need files suitable for Microsoft Office applications, Powerpoint, Word, and (the evil) Publisher.
The reverse is not having professional file formats to send to suppliers. If you’re getting some T-shirts produced, for example, the supplier isn’t likely to want a low-res uneditable jpeg file. Ideally, they’d be supplied with an endlessly scalable vector file enabling them to keep the print super crisp.
The second reason I think tends to come from the smaller customer. The type of excellent person who’s put time into researching the options, reading articles and blogs about logos and branding, and has come to a certain level of understanding about what they’ll need. This person will undoubtedly have encountered some budget, usually, foreign-based, logo creation website. They will have read the restrictions and limits to these types of low-end logo deals, restrictions on the number of revisions and te limited file types supplied unless you pay additional funds.
Maybe at pricepoint A, you get a low res, web suitable jpeg, price B gets you a hi-res version, C gets you all that and the vector, and before you know it, that budget offer isn’t as great as it seems!
I’m in the slow process of redeveloping my landing pages, slow because I never find the time to do it, but I’ve been thinking about a bunch of stuff to put on the new versions. One thought is an “Every File You’ll Ever Need Promise”. As I suggested, that’s pretty much what I’ve always expected to supply, and experience would suggest that’s what I’ve always done, and then some! For the project with Skyeland Soft Play, I produced over 1400 separate files of various types, resolutions, and versions (this included colour variants, layout options and sub-text versions – which warrants a later blog post of its own).
1400. That should cover “Every File You’ll Ever Need”!
That was an unusually large amount as the final solution had 7 colours in it and 3-4 versions of the sub-text. But even a typical standard logo only project would expect around 100 – 150 files.
When exporting a project, customers will usually receive 5 filetypes, 2 raster types in 2 sizes each (jpeg and png at 150dpi and 1200dpi) for “desktop” use, and 3 vector (ai, eps and pdf) to supply for professional use. To help them navigate the folders I supply a simple readme file with descriptions of what to use where. I’ve replicated this below so you can know what to expect with “Every File You’ll Ever Need”.
And if your designer is unwilling to provide any of these, think twice before signing on the dotted line. At the end of the job, the logo is yours to use, and nothing a designer does should complicate the process of you using what you’ve paid for.
This is an Adobe Illustrator file, its the program used to create the logo and is the “native” filetype. This will be used by designers and printers to get a high res version of your logo without losing the crispness of the edges. It’s what’s called a “vector” file and will scale up indefinitely is size without quality loss. You may not be able to open this.
Also a vector but less proprietary than ai, other vector programs should be able to open them, not just Illustrator. You may not be able to open this.
A more flexible vector style file that you should be able to open. It’s not as transferable between computers if you wanted to edit the contents BUT nearly everyone will be able to open and see it.
The most useful for you I suspect. Import into Word etc. A raster file but importantly with transparency. So on the many versions, you can import a png into Powerpoint and put it on top of a black background or photo and you’ll see the background behind it giving you a professional looking page. You’ll see with this kind of file that when zoomed in you can see the pixelated edges, it’s called a raster image. There are 2 sizes 150dpi and a big 1200dpi. Generally, the 150 will suit your needs as 150dpi is higher than standard screens (72 or 96dpi) and iOS style “retina” screens (144dpi).
More common than png but not quite as good, there is no transparency available, so there are no “white” versions (as the “page” on a jpeg defaults to white). Other than that much of the same applies, you’ll see pixels when zoomed, it’s also a raster image. Again there are 2 sizes, 150 and a massive 1200dpi. Generally, the 150 will suit your needs.
Do shout up in the comments if you think any file-type is missing (I’ll look and variants another day), or if you’ve had a bad experience getting the files you need, I’d love to hear about it!
Kieran Harrod is a Creative, Professional & Reliable Graphic Designer skilled in branding, print and web design, with bags of integrity.
Based in Derby, UK, Kieran set up his own business in May 2011 after practicing design since 1997 including 7 years as an in house designer and marketing manager for the UK arm of a multinational. Get in touch to get something designed for your business.
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