Written by: Janel Kesten, Creative Director and Trustee Director of The Toolbox, Inc. and Speaker at the October 22 Non-profit Toolbox event.
Understanding digital files to preserve your organization’s logo identity.
Your organization’s logo as part of your brand, it’s how the world recognizes you. Similarly, people recognize you by your name and face so like me, you try to look your best, especially for business. You’d never show up to a meeting with wrinkled clothes and bedhead, right? In the same vein, you never want your logo looking poor on the web or in print. It’s the equivalent of not wearing a clean shirt.
Here’s what you need to know:
Raster files are made of pixels like JPEG, BMP, TIFF and are limited by the number of pixels in the file. Generally, the more pixels, the bigger and better the image will print.
Vector files are comprised of points and lines like EPS files and can be sized exponentially without loss of quality. That’s why it’s the ideal format for logo files. A raster file (jpeg) can be created from a vector file, but you can’t make a vector file from a raster file without a lot more work. Essentially the file has to be recreated, whereas you just save the vector file as jpeg with two clicks. I recommend sending eps vector files to anyone using your logo so it prints clearly! If they request a jpeg, be sure it’s the correct resolution. (see below)
So what type of file do you have?
Most everyone has JPEG files, some have EPS files and some have PDF files. But I didn’t mention PDF yet. Why? PDF files can contain both vector and raster information. Most often your PDF logo is solely vector art, but it gets tricky when someone saves a JPEG as PDF.
How much resolution do you need?
If you only have a jpeg file then resolution is very important. Here’s an example of TNPT logo at three different sizes. All logos are 2 x .75 inches, but at different resolutions. The resolution is defined by the number of pixels per inch:
• 300ppi is used for photographic printing or press
• 150-200ppi is used for general desktop printing
• 72 ppi is used for web
Below is an example of TNPT logo at three different sizes. Each shows the resolution in pixels, dimensions at web resolution of 72ppi and equivalent size if printed at size for optimum quality and clarity. This shows that your logo on screen should be as large as the top example to print clearly at the size of the third example.
Trying to print a low resolution file like the third example at 2x.75 inches would result in a soft blurry image like the last example.
What can you do??
Check your file properties to see the pixel dimensions of the jpeg file. The largest file (ex: 800x1200px) will allow you do print a crisp image at a larger size. If you don’t have a vector file, hire a someone to recreate your artwork as vector. Pricing will vary depending on the complexity of your artwork. A designer or your local printer should offer this service. Like a good suit, this investment will pay off for your organization quickly.
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