Jason Castillo: Illustration + Design

So You Need to Purchase a Logo?

Jason CastilloComment

Requesting the right files from your designer up front will save you a lot of grief later.

I've been asked countless times throughout my design career to create an ad, banner, business card or marketing piece for a client. And countless times I email the client asking for a high resolution or vector art version of their logo and receive a tiny graphic that is barely acceptable for the web. Sometimes I've even received a logo as a Word Document. When I follow up and ask for a high resolution or vector version of their logo often times they do no have access to or simply don't understand what I'm asking.

So, the purpose of this post is to help you start-ups and small businesses out there to understand what you should be receiving from your designer when you purchase a logo.

When you purchase a logo you want to be able to use it on all forms of marketing and advertising. From web banners to billboards. If your designer only sends you a file that's 300 pixels wide you may be in trouble. It might look great on your website but you will be shocked at how poor the logo (that you just spent good money on) looks when printed. 

Here's an example using a very simple logo made with my initials.

Here is a logo created at 300 pixels wide. This is will look fine on your screen but can't be enlarged for print.

Here is a logo created at 300 pixels wide. This is will look fine on your screen but can't be enlarged for print.

Here is how that logo might look printed if you enlarge the small file. BAD.

Here is how that logo might look printed if you enlarge the small file. BAD.

Think of it like photocopying a picture from a newspaper and enlarging it by a large percentage. The image will be grainy and you may even begin to see individual ink dots.

To avoid this issue you need to ask your designer to provide you with the original vector art files of your logo. The files should be created in Adobe Illustrator or another vector art program and will contain the .eps or .ai file name extension. I like to provide my clients with both file formats as well as a .jpg they can use for the web.

If you own the original art files you will be able to print the logo at ANY size. It will easily shrink to business card size or enlarge to billboard size. This is because vector art is made of magic (or maybe it was geometry). Here's a great explanation of vector art if you'd like to learn more.

Make sure when you save the files somewhere that's easily accessible to anyone who might need them. When deadlines are tight you will be glad you don't have to spend extra time searching for your logo to send to the printer. And, of course, back them files up!

TL;DR
When you pay a designer to create a logo for you make sure you ask for the original vector art files.