I get asked this question a lot, along with what the files mean. So I’ll answer this as best as possible.
When you pay for a logo design, you should receive most if not all of the following file types of your logo. You’ve paid for it, so ask for it.
.tif – the best resolution of your image – use this one if you’re having someone design an ad for you (they might also ask for an .eps)
.eps – this is a vector file, which means that this image can be as large as a house and still look perfect. You’ll want this one if you make tshirts, signs, etc. Most printers will ask you for an .eps file. You DEFINITELY want your logo to be a vector file. If not, then it’s a raster image – which means it’s a photograph, and can only be as large as the photograph itself. Always ask if your logo is a vector. If your designer doesn’t know, then it’s time to find a new designer.
.jpg and .pdf – these are the ones you’ll probably use the most yourself for emails and what not – these aren’t the highest quality files but are most easily read by most computers.
.gif – use these files for web only
Your designer should also give you the native (original) files that they created the logo in. Maybe some designers want to retain ownership of these, but I think that it’s the client’s right to have a copy of these as well. If for some reason down the road they want to tweak the logo, if you were a good designer then they would probably ask you to change it for them anyway. These files would most likely be .ai (Illustrator) files.
There should also be grayscale images of your logo. I usually name mine -k. You’ll want those if you ever need a black and white version of your logo.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email and I’d be happy to help!