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Which file to use?

What does it all mean when it comes to a logo? If you don’t live in the graphics world and know these by heart, here is a quick reference to help you know what they are and why they are so important.

File Types

Four types of logo files are available for download from Boise State University’s Logo Library:


EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files are created from mathematical curves and lines that stay in focus and in proportion no matter the file size. This means there is no pixelation and a graphic will look the same at 1 inch as it does at 10 feet. These files are ideal for uses from letterhead to billboards. An EPS of your graphic should be the first thing sent when it is to be designed and printed.

  • Files are resizable, print worthy, and transparent
  • Require Adobe Illustrator CS2+
  • Should always be used for printed files

ZIP files downloaded from the logo library contain two EPS logos in different color: CMYK and PMS.


JPG is a good file type for Powerpoint presentations and other digital applications that does not demand much of an image. Like TIFFs, JPGs are pixel based. They are also compressed and generally have a low resolution to keep the file size low. A JPG graphic may appear acceptable on screen, however JPGs are not recommended for printing. JPGs do not support a transparent background.


PNG is another good option for digital use. Unlike JPGs, PNGs have a transparent background. They have replaced the GIF format.

  • Should be used for on screen applications, such as Microsoft Powerpoint.
  • Should not be used for printed documents


TIFF files are pixel-based images put together from thousands of tiny blocks. If you blow a TIFF up large enough you will see pixelation (blur). All professional image editing programs have the ability to edit TIFF files.

Color Modes

RGB, CMYK, and PMS refer to the color format of an image.

  • RGB files are used for computers and televised screens – never for printing.
  • CMYK is for four-color printing and is not always accurate when it comes to reproducing a specific brand color.
  • PMS, or Pantone Matching System, solves the accuracy issues associated with CMYK. PMS is a universally recognized color scheme to which every printing press subscribes. It is often referred to as spot colors, whereas CMYK is referred to process.

In Summary

Use the table below for quick reference.

File TypeQualitiesUse Cases
EPSHighest quality graphic imagePrinted material
JPGLower quality image.  Small file sizePowerPoint and other digital applications
Do not use on printed documents
PNGLower quality image.  Small file sizeDigital use
Do not use for printed documents
TIFFHigh quality raster imageTo be used as small image (if enlarged may become pixelated).  Use EPS for larger files.