<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=763991110377089&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

You have put time, money and resources into creating a simple image to visually represent your business. You hired a designer, there were brainstorming sessions, descriptive words, sketches, font selections, color swatches, revisions, revisions, revisions, and finally you have found the perfect logo. The design process ends and you are presented with the final product, which comes in the form of several different file formats. You exchange pleasantries with the designer, “It’s been a pleasure working with you.” La dee da. And the designer moves on, leaving these new precious little gems in your charge.

Throughout the design process, the designer has been responsible for the logo, but now the job is done, the deliverables have been delivered, and the responsibility has shifted to you and your business. Now you are the responsible one and you had better have an idea of what the deliverables are and how to use them.

So, the question is: Now that the designer is no longer on the project, do you know how to use these logo files on your own?

Think back to when the designer sent the final deliverables (probably via FTP or as an email attachment). Do you remember how many files he or she sent you? If you hired a thorough designer, chances are you received at least 12 different logo files. You may have gotten twice or three times that many. And guess what, each one of those files have a specific function. Do you know what those functions are? If you don’t, then you have come to the right place. I’m going to go over some of the basic functions of a variety of logo files.

Introducing the long list of files

To start, here is an example of “the final product” and how it might appear in your email or FTP:

  • logo_color_rgb.png
  • logo_color_rgb.eps
  • logo_color_rgb.ai
  • logo_color_rgb.pdf
  • logo_color_cmyk.png
  • logo_color_cmyk.eps
  • logo_color_cmyk.ai
  • logo_color_cmyk.pdf
  • logo_white_rgb.png
  • logo_white_rgb.eps
  • logo_white_rgb.ai
  • logo_white_rgb.pdf
  • logo_white_cmyk.png
  • logo_white_cmyk.eps
  • logo_white_cmyk.ai
  • logo_white_cmyk.pdf
  • logo_black_rgb.png
  • logo_black_rgb.eps
  • logo_black_rgb.ai
  • logo_black_rgb.pdf
  • logo_black_cmyk.png
  • logo_black_cmyk.eps
  • logo_black_cmyk.ai
  • logo_black_cmyk.pdf

You may be thinking, “Whoa! That is a ginormous and overwhelming list!” And you’re right. It is. However, once you understand the purpose of each file and how to use it, then it won’t be overwhelming at all. (Even if it is still ginormous.)

Breaking it Down

Lets break these file names down into four parts:

1. File Content 2. Color 3. Color Setting 4. File Format
logo color rgb .png
  white cmyk .eps
  black   .ai

File Content

This word describes what is in the file. It’s your logo! Woot! No surprises there. Moving on…


Color refers to… uh, well, color. Your logo may be blue, yellow, red or anywhere in between. (I’m excluding black and white for now.) You want to use the color version as often as possible because colors help complete brand recognition.

Notice that “white” and “black” are also options available to you (see the second column in the above chart). These are important options to have for your logo because you always want your logo to pop, right? “Pop” is just a buzzword for contrast. You want your logo to contrast with its background so it is clear and noticeable.

If you have to put your logo on a black background, the color version of your logo may not have enough contrast with the background. That’s when you pull out your white version. Bam! It contrasts nicely.

Black logos are handy when you get stuck in a black-and-white-only situation. If you get featured in a black and white newspaper, or you want to save some money by printing fliers without color, then use your black logo.

Color Setting

There are two color settings you need to be aware of when using your logo: RGB and CMYK. If you use a color setting on the wrong platform, then your colors will not show up accurately.

RGB is an acronym for Red Green Blue. The RGB setting is used when your logo is featured on something that emanates light, like a computer screen. So if you are dealing with the web, be sure to use your RGB logo.

CMYK is an acronym for Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK. (They use “K” for black because “B” is used for blue.) The CMYK setting deals with color pigments, as opposed to RGB, which deals with colored light. Printers and presses use color pigments such as ink and toner to produce printed images. If you are going to print your logo, make sure to use your CMYK logo.

File Format

You will most likely have these file formats to choose from: .png, .eps, .ai, and/or .pdf.

.png (PNG) is perfect for web use due to its small file size. It also works for print as long as it’s not too big.

.eps (EPS) and .pdf (PDF) have similar functions. Both of these are vector formats and can be infinitely enlarged without becoming pixelated.

.ai (Adobe Illustrator) is the raw file. If you need to make edits to your logo, this is the file to use. Don’t place this in your marketing materials, however. It is a big file.

Pop Quiz

Now that you understand how to interpret the ginormous list of logo files your designer gave to you, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. Here’s your quiz:

  1. You need to add your logo to your website. It will be on a white background. Which file do you choose?
  1. You are putting your logo on a ginormous black blimp. Which file do you choose?
  1. You are being featured in the newspaper. The paper is black and white only. Which file do you choose?


  1. logo_color_rgb.png (Use your color logo because it will show up nicely on the white background. Since it’s going on the web, you’ll need RGB colors and a .png format.)
  1. logo_white_cmyk.eps or logo_white_cmyk.pdf (The blimp is black, so you will need a white logo for contrast. Your logo will need to be printed with color pigment so pick the CMYK setting. Also, you will need a really big logo, so pick a vector format that can be enlarged infinitely.)
  1. logo_black_cmyk.png or logo_black_cmyk.eps or logo_black_cmky.pdf (Since newspapers are printed on light paper, you will need your black logo. Printed logos should use the CMYK setting. And most file types will work for this situation.)

I hope this article was helpful in giving you a better idea of how to use your logo files. By understanding contrast, color settings, and file formats, you will be able to get the most professional use out of your logo.

Good luck! And happy marketing!