Filetypes Relevant to Logo Printing and Which to Use
Getting your logo printed onto products (or embroidered) can be a daunting task. You want it to look good, which is why the details are important. That’s why we are here to help you make sense of everything needed to obtain your desired result. In this small guide we will tell you all you need to know about file formats, vectorization, printing areas, resolution sizes and lastly, guide you through your options if you find it too difficult to handle on your own.
Bare with us, this explanation can get a little technical, but we will try and keep it as simple as possible. Vector files are image files that are based on mathematical equations that allows for rescaling of your image while still maintaining flawless image quality. This is exactly what you want when dealing with logos prints ranging from shirts to pens.
In short, having what is called a vectorized file is essential when dealing with logo printing. It’s simply the only way to move your desired print onto products while maintaining the level of quality you would expect.
Vector file formats
Now that you are an expert on vector files, we can delve into vector file formats. There are three different formats you need to know about:
EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript, which isn’t really important, but hey… now you know! EPS files are mainly used for vectorized elements such as logos and needs to be able to vary in size. This format has an advantage, it is usually compatible with both recent and older versions of Adobe Illustrator software. This makes it easier for graphic designers, when dealing with vector elements.
Ai is the file extension representing an Adobe Illustrator Artwork file. This format was created by Adobe and has the purpose of storing vector based graphics in a single page. Remember that vectorized files are used when you want an image such as your logo to be scalable without losing image quality. In short, Ai is another type of file that can be used when wanting your logo printed onto something.
PDF, which stands for ‘Portable Document Format’, is the most common filetype used when sending vectorized files back and forth. This is in large part due to PDF files being way more common among offices and schools around the world. With that said, the actual reason we are telling you about PDF files is because of its ability to have vector images embedded into it. In practice this means you would create your logo inside software programs such as Adobe Illustrator (the most popular one), and from there you can save the image as a pdf – rendering it as a vector file.
Now you have a basic understanding of all the different vector file formats used to print your logos onto products of your choice. If it all still sounds a little alien to you, don’t worry! By the end of this blog post you should feel confident about every process related to logo printing.
To recap: you cannot save a JPG, JPEG, PNG etc. as a vector file. This is because these types of files are called ‘raster files’, meaning the images will be static/unable to scale. Using one of these filetypes will cause your logo to become blurry when trying to resize it, which is exactly why the original filetype e.g. an Ai file needs to be saved as a vector file after you are done creating your logo in a program like Adobe Illustrator.
What if my logo is not a vector file?
Should you happen to have your hands on a logo that is not vectorized, and is instead a raster image file such as JPEG, JPG, PNG etc. Then you have a few options available to you.
You can use a variety of online tools. Here you can insert your logo / replicate it, and now export it as a vectorized file, rather than a raster file. These tools of course vary in quality and capability so your mileage may vary.
If you don’t wish to get that invested into the process, you can always outsource your work to a graphic designer specializing in printing methods. Find someone you can communicate your task clearly to, and who are able to understand the result you wish to gain from this. Make sure they understand the PPI / DPI relationship when it comes to printing and you should be all good.
Lastly, if you just want to get this done, and have no desire to outsource work to multiple people, you can have us help you out with your logo. We have our in-house graphic designers, our own printing facilities and many years experience with this type of work – it’s kind of what we do for a living. So in return for a small fee, we will make sure your logo gets printed on a promotional product of your choice, and comes out looking exactly like you want it to.
When it comes to resolution and logo prints, we have to introduce a new term – DPI. This stands for Dots Per Inch, which technically means printer dots per inch. This is something that will never, ever (no really, never) be important to you except for when it comes to logo printing. The term refers to how many small dots that goes into each pixel in your image, so in other words, DPI measures the density of dots per pixels.
Below is an image that (hopefully) helps illustrate the difference between PPI and DPI for you. PPI speaks of the pixels per inch on your digital image, and DPI speaks of the dots between these pixels when printing out your image. More dots means more small dots that can help replicate color on your logo, making it appear smooth and be of higher quality.
Generally speaking, higher DPI equals higher image quality and color smoothing, but the results vary greatly depending on the machines printing your logo. Luckily for you, we control every step of the way when it comes to getting a logo of your choice onto a promotional product, and through rigorous testing we have determined 300 DPI to yield the greatest results. This means that whenever you send us a logo you want printed, you should strive for 300 DPI.
This is the last thing you need to know about in order to understand all the elements of good logo print. It all comes down to some key elements, that you need to keep in mind:
- The type of product do you want to print on
- Material of the product
- Shape of the product
After knowing this, you can then look at printing type and method. An example of a method is laser printing (engraving).
Lastly you need to know your measurements. These are written differently depending on the type of product you choose. Common measurements we use at IGO Promo are: mm x mm, cm2 or diameter. Other suppliers might use cm x cm. This is because products can vary so much in type/size. For example, while a pen has very small printing area (mm x mm), a shirt has very big one (cm x cm), and a balloon will need its measurements in diameter because the logo is going to be round.
Sometimes we are so busy, that we confuse ourselves with units and measurements. Below is a helping hand to make sure you have an idea of your print area and its size.
- 10 mm = 1 cm
- 20 cm = 200 mm
- 30 cm2 is calculated by multiplying height by width, e.g. 5×6 cm, 10×3 cm, 15×2 cm etc.
To sum up
That’s it, now you know everything you need to know when it comes to logo printing. You have an understanding of vector files, file formats, resolution sizes and printing areas. If this still seems impossible to understand, don’t worry! In return for a small fee, we can help sort you out. This way you can make sure to receive your desired result when wanting your logo printed onto promotional products. All you have to do is write an email to email@example.com or call us on: 1850 812 813, where either Chris or Nate will be ready to assist you.
Where to go from here?
If you enjoyed this small guide, and wish to delve deeper into the world of printing, the next logical step of the way is PMS and Pantone colors. We wrote another blogpost about this, which you can find by clicking this link.