Choosing The Right Logo File Type For Your Binder Order

Picture of confused woman wondering about graphic file types

How To Pick The Correct Logo File Type For Your Custom Binder Project

Don’t want to read an entire article on logo file types? That’s ok. All you really need to know is:

  • If you have a ZIP file from your designer, that is best. Send it over and we’ll pull the best logo file from it.
  • If you have files that you don’t seem to be able to open on your computer (generally ai, eps, svg or indd file name extensions), those were produced by professional graphic editor programs, and they are perfect for your binder project. Send those.
  • If you have jpg, gif or png files, we can usually make those work, but send the biggest ones you have. Pulling your logo file off your web page, however, is rarely going to give us a printable result.

Getting Into The Technical Details

Logo files are of course graphic files, and there are two basic types of graphic files: “vector format” and “raster format“. Every single image file comes down to one of those two formats.

Vector format uses the geometry of lines and curves to define shapes. Raster format uses a series of dots set to different colors.

Vector Format

Here is an image of our SpeedBinder logo in vector format. (We used Adobe Illustrator to create this). You can see how the logo is a series of interconnected curves and straight lines:

The point of all that geometric information is that now matter how much you enlarge the logo, the edges will always stay razor sharp, like this:

Raster Format

Now look at the same logo, only this time it has been converted to raster format. We used 300 “dots per inch” (called “DPI”) to do the conversion. That means that each square inch becomes a grid, with 300 “rows” and 300 “columns” of dots. Each dot is either orange or black (for our logo) or white (for the background). When you look at the whole logo, it looks pretty close to the vector form above:

But now, if we zoom in really tight, you can see that the edges are no longer razor sharp:

That roughness around the edges is called “stair-stepping”, “aliasing”, or “jaggies“.

What That Means For Printing Custom Binders

Whether you are ordering full color binders (like these or these), or silk screen printed binders (like these or these), your best print result will always come from sending us your logo files in vector format.

Why Website Logos Are Generally No Good For Printing

Web designers go out of their way to try to make websites as fast as possible, and one of the techniques they use is to ensure that image files (such as logos) are only as big as they need to be for a clean display on your computer screen or phone.

As a result, if you download your logo off your website and send it to us, it will generally be a very small version, and is not able to give us a good print result.

Where To Find A Good Version Of Your Logo

If you work for a large corporation with a dedicated marketing department, they will typically have complete logo resources available for use. If you like, we are happy to work with them directly. Their job is to protect your brand image, and so they will have complete technical specifications we can use to make sure your custom binder order is compliant with all the corporate logo and branding requirements.

For smaller or independent business, much depends on where your logo came from in the first place. If you hired a professional designer to create it, they will generally have sent it to you as a zip file containing multiple file versions, for a variety of uses. Send us that zip file if you have it.

Another possible source for a good quality logo file is to find a PDF proof from some previous print job you had done that included your logo. Frequently, we are able to pull a good quality logo out of one of those.

If all else fails, send us what you have, and we’ll see if we can make it work. We have some pretty good tools for cleaning up low-resolution logos, and are happy to give it a shot.

The Final Word

If you’ve read this far, we hope we haven’t convinced you that any of this is overly complicated. The headline here comes down to “We can handle this, no matter what you’ve got.” Our job is to work through all these details and get you a great result, and we’re good at it!