Whatever you do, keep the originals!


There’s a situation that has come up over and over in dealing with businesses who sponsor events I’m involved with or that I want to feature in blogs or newsletters. It has happened so often it’s prompted this post. I urge you to take heed, particularly if you’re starting out in business.

When you get a logo designed, a product or professional head shot taken, or even a brochure designed – get the original files and file them somewhere safe and easy to access! It will save you a lot of money, and stress, down the line.

Why it matters with images and logos

Many people still don’t know the difference between a ‘high res’ (high resolution) and a  ‘low res’ (low resolution) file. I’ll ask for high res and someone will send me a 50 kb jpeg.

You always need to have the largest files possible. Why?

If you provide a low resolution file, it can’t be used for all applications – that is, it can’t be used in print and can’t be made larger in any way, or it will distort.

You can’t make a photo or image file larger without degrading it’s quality. Image files usually end in extensions like. .jpg or .png.

As a rough guide, a high resolution file is usually quite large – over 1 MG – and if it’s a logo, it will ideally end with a .eps (Adobe Photoshop) or .ai (Adobe Illustrator).

So make sure you don’t just file away small versions of images or logos – get the largest ones possibly upfront and file them somewhere handy. Otherwise you may find yourself having to get logos recreated or images re-shot, which costs you money!

Why it matters with design files

Designers and agencies prefer not to give you “working files” – but I’d encourage you to negotiate upfront to get these, even if you have to pay a little more.

There are some valid reasons for why they don’t want to give you working files – not wanting you to ‘ruin’ their work by tinkering, to have it go to another agency to change and that they want you to come back to them for future work and edits.

However, for many smaller businesses, you simply don’t change artwork very often. And relationships with designers can be transient – who you use one year is often different the following year, perhaps because someone was doing you a favour, or you have a disagreement, or because they’re no longer in business.

If you don’t have the original files, and you want to make changes and don’t have the original files, a new designer will need to start from scratch. And this costs you more money.