You’re sending a ton of logo files to your client, but which file types do they really care about? Which files do they use the most?
As logo designers, we’re all familiar with the conundrum of needing to send our clients dozens of logo files in a bunch of different file types, but at the same time being worried that our clients won’t use 99% of them. Our logo packages have to cover every possibility, so they’re packed to the brim, but which of these files are actually useful from our client’s perspective.
I’ve worked with scores of clients in many different industries over the years. They have all had pretty similar needs when it came to logo files and their own personal uses for them. By far the most common ways clients use the logo files you provide them with is to create internal documents or for web use and social media. I would bet that most of the requests you’ve gotten from your clients for ad-hoc logo files have been so that they could upload logos to their social media site or invoicing software.
Clients love Microsoft Word. Need a flyer? Word. How about a poster for Halloween? Word. Maybe a nice direct mail piece? Make it in Word! No, but seriously, they’ll use Word to make their letterheads, memos, fax cover sheets, You name it. We live in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Clients live in Word.
If your clients make money, they send invoices, and if they send invoices, they use some sort of branded software to do it. They’ll need to upload their logo so their invoices can have some of that sweet, sweet branding.
Internal meetings, sales pitches, employee on-boarding, birthday celebrations, company trivia. What do all of these things have in common? They’re likely to feature a projector and a powerpoint presentation. Clients will find all sorts of whacky uses for PowerPoint, and they’re going to want that sexy logo you designed on every single slide.
This one is pretty obvious, but any modern client is going to have a website and probably a blog too. Their logo will be featured prominently in the header and the footer at minimum.
Clients use all sorts of SaaS (software as a service) to fulfill their business needs. CRMs (customer relationship management) like Salesforce, file management systems like Dropbox and Google Drive. Don’t forget Slack too. The list goes on, but the point is all of these services can be branded, and your clients are going to need logo files to upload for their accounts.
Clients often like to make fancy branded email signatures with their logo contact info and social media links.
Companies almost always use their logo as their profile picture, and sometimes include them in their cover photos as well.
It’s a good rule of thumb that if a client is going to make something that is branded, it will have their logo on it. This applies to social media posts as well. Promos, news, all kinds of posts are candidates for branding.
So how do these files rank in importance to clients? I think the pattern above is pretty evident.
PNG is the premier file format for client needs because it can be uploaded anywhere on the web, or to any kind of office software. It has transparency so PNG logos can be placed on top of any type of background. Their relatively small file size also makes them an excellent choice for profile images and branded SaaS accounts.
JPGs come in at a very close second. I think JPG is probably the most well-known file format so many clients will default to it for that reason alone. JPG file size is usually smaller than PNG, and it works in all the same places. It does NOT allow for transparency, however, so can only be used when a white background is acceptable or if the logo is part of a larger JPG image (like a social media post).
SVG earns the number three spot simply because it is becoming more ubiquitous on the web. Clients are becoming more and more apt to use this format for logos on their websites and blogs because it is vector based and does not lose sharpness on higher resolution screens like retina or 4k.
Tech-savvy clients may know that they can import PDFs into their favorite Microsoft Office applications to get super crisp vector logos at any size. Unfortunately, most of them don’t, and the opportunity is lost on them. Feel free to educate your clients about this particular ability of the PDF format. PDF logos cannot be uploaded to the web as an image like the previous formats in this list, so for that reason, PDF comes in last on this list. However, most clients know that PDFs are universal and that anyone can view them, so they are still more likely to be used by your clients than Illustrator files or EPS.
When it comes down to it, clients spend most of their time dealing with the day to day chores of running a business. This does not typically involve designerly tasks, so the file formats clients need most often are actually the formats we designers use the least.
Make sure your clients get the logo file formats I discussed in this post along with your vector files, and you’ll make yourself much less vulnerable to ad-hoc client requests. Your clients can make Word letterheads and PowerPoint sales presentations to their heart’s content, and you can move on to your next logo project.
I’ve developed an extension for Adobe Illustrator called Logo Package Express which can export every version of your logo in every file format your clients need in just a few minutes.