What is an EPS file and Why Your Logo Needs It

If you have a worked with a designer in some capacity, most likely this question or some version of it came up "Could you please send me your logo file in an EPS format?". Did the deer in headlights look come over you? Or perhaps you thought "I sent a picture of the logo over, why is this designer being a pain?".

All very valid reactions. Please continue reading to see why it matters. Your designer does this because she/he cares about your image versus trying to be difficult.

The Almighty EPS File Format

The acronym EPS stands for Encapsulated Post Script. It's a vector-based file that contains information about the image:

  • mathematical equations (think back to trigonometry) defining the lines of the shapes
  • descriptions of fills (colors, patterns, gradients) that fill in the shapes
  • a preview of the image to see what it looks like on screen

Since an EPS is based on the aforementioned items above, it can be enlarged or reduced and still look crisp and clean on screen as well as print perfectly. Whether your logo is going on a pen or a billboard, as an EPS it will always look crisp and clean, pretty almighty.

Bitmap or Raster-based Files

Raster based files are based on plotting pixels, lots of them, on a grid. If you have ever played Battleship you get the idea. JPEG and GIF are both raster-based file formats. This format is great for photographs. While these file-types look great at their original size, they start to distort like the elephant man when enlarging or reducing them. These lack the flexibility that an EPS has in regard to scaling the image.

Still confused? Keep reading.

Say you need your logo is needed on a large banner for a high-profile charity event you are sponsoring along with other companies. Years ago someone emailed you a small JPEG version of your logo to add to an email signature. You may think, "Cool I have a digital version of my logo, send it, done!". Unfortunately, it will not work.

First off the resolution is for screen display 72 DPI (dots per inch). To print clean and crisp, the resolution must be at least 300 DPI. Next problem the JPEG format is raster-based and will look bad when it's enlarged to go on that banner. "Well the designer can just fix it.", may be your first thought. There are some tricks we designers can use it takes a lot of time, which they often do not have. The end result is your logo looking unattractive next to the other companies' sleek and pristine logos. Take a look at the image below for a visual of the problem.

Another problem encountered frequently by designers when getting logos from clients, is being sent an EPS file that is really a raster-based file. Huh? Well this often happens when your company previously requested the logo in an EPS format. The person who sent it to you probably had it as a JPEG, took it into PhotoShop and saved it as an EPS.

This what designers call a PhotoShop EPS or a wolf in sheep's clothing. It will not have all the mathematical jargon of a vector file which translates to your logo looking jagged and distorted when it's printed. To prevent this from happening, always have your designer send your your logo in 3 sizes to ensure your have a true EPS file.

How do I get a true EPS version of my logo?

The easiest way is the contact the designer or studio that created the logo to send it to you. Checking around your company or with other designers you have contracted to work on projects is another option. If these options prove unsuccessful you can contact us here at Spark Point Design to have us recreate your logo as a true EPS.

While it may seem cumbersome, it is in your company's best interest to invest in having your logo as a true EPS. With the almighty EPS file in your possession, you'll always look awesome in print no matter where, what size and what media your company's logo appears.

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