Sending client design files

How do I send design files to clients for approval, and after they have been approved. Like logos, should I send the individual files or should I include all the variations in just one file and send. And in what format do I send them (.PNG, JPEG, PDF, .AI, .CDR). Thanks for your replies in advance.

This is usually a question for the client but often they don’t know. So you want to cover their bases for them.


  1. B&W versions in vector (EPS if high contrast is good).
  2. B&W versions in raster - Jpegs are OK, but self destructive over extended use (make it 10" wide so they can shrink it down but will never have to size the raster file up)
  3. Color versions as above 1&2 (I prefer PDFs with ability to edit and create acrobat layers saved intact)
  4. Working files - all photoshop and ai files.
  5. Web versions of all the above as PNGs. (transparent background - no need to do a white back and a clear back)

Label the groups by how the customer would use them.

I might add a reversed version of everything.

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Slightly off the subject, but worth mentioning. There’s an extension for Illustrator made specifically for automating the packaging up of logos in multiple formats. It’s called Logo Package Express. I’ve heard very good things about it. I haven’t used it myself, so I can’t recommend it, but if it works as advertised, it would be worth getting for those who do a lot of logos.

I see no reason to give a client a .CDR file unless they specifically request something in Corel Draw.


Hmm. That’s pretty interesting. There is a more in-depth demo video on their website.

please ditch the .eps file format when handing off logos.
Use .ai and .pdf. Be sure to keep the PDF editable and vector, not smallest file size.

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I haven’t purchased Illustrator yet, so I only use CoralDraw to create logos. Anyway thanks for the video you showed me, it’s great, but unfortunately I don’t have Illustrator.

I agree. EPS is slowly dying out. They are useful for proofs because they open in a lot of programs but for art reproduction I only use PSD as embedded art and we print from an Illustrator PDF file.

A sidenote: I love the Print Production tool in Acrobat. Whenever I’m having trouble flattening layers in Illustrator I try Acrobat. Finally, you can open a pdf with fonts you don’t possess, go to Flattener, and outline the fonts. Since the pdf holds the font info it remains vector. Much better than the old days of rasterizing text.

Your post isn’t making sense to me.
“only PSD” and “embedded art”?
About the only reason to save a .eps file out of Photoslop was in the past when you had to do it to get Quark to behave when scaling images. Other than that (and it’s no longer necessary,) I don’t recommend it, ever. Even less so than a vector eps out of Illustrator.

Using.psd or .tif are fine for printing out of photoshop as placed links. Embedding though is another thing I highly discourage, particularly using any of the new in-program editing tools Adobe is foisting on unsuspecting newb designers.

Trouble flattening layers in Illustrator is not something I’ve run into either. Often times, trouble with illy files relates to whether or not the PDF save function is turned on or off, with it being inconsistent over which state is worse for which problem.

But the PDF flattener for fonts is a definite plus skill to know. Especially when you’re a sign guy, need a vector file to cut vinyl and the client sends you a PDF with live fonts rather than a text-to-vector conversion file like requested. With that little trick, I don’t have to try to hunt them down and get a new file out of them when their deadline is hours away. Another trick is to place the PDF into Illustrator and flatten it there. Sometimes though, the fonts explode into crap. Freeware fonts suck.

I usually supply PDF and JPG to a lay person. I’ll only supply PSD or AI if they have asked for them specifically. Most clients cannot open these files and often assume they are corrupt.

Really? First, just to be on the same page, we’re talking industrial digital printing of labels. I’d really like to learn from you because it’s obvious you know your stuff.

So my big question then is where is the file that is linked? If it’s in a library or collected for output cool, but embedding images saves all the PSD info as part of the illustrator file. You can unembed it to work on it. I would NEVER color correct an embedded image in illustrator.

Also, do you know of a good resource that goes in depth into your comments about embedded images? It sounds like I might be missing something.

Additional (perhaps extraneous) information:

We use vector templates (ai). (like everyone)
Art is sent to me as a pdf or ai file (fonts outlined)
Most have raster graphics embedded. (smart objects if I’l lucky)
If I have to adjust the embedded images I just “un-embed” them to work on them.
We fully proof vector and rasters, we then print from a pdf file.

Your comments: (thank you for your time)

  1. EPS: right, all I meant was “back in the old days” it was a good format to use for in-house (corporate) because even word perfect “saw” the colors. It was a throw away comment. Sorry if it caused confusion or consternation.

  2. PSD / Tif - If your images are on your computer and linked that’s no problem (or in a library) but embedding just takes all the psd info and drops it into the illustrator file. If it’s not embedded then you have to do the equivalent of a 'collect for output" or your raster images will only print the low res FPO’s. Maybe I missed something?

  3. Agreed. 99% of the time flattening Transparencies in illustrator works just fine if the client saved the file properly (as you described). For new client’s we generally run one flattened in illustrator and one flattened by the RIP just to see which looks better before sending a proof. (often no difference but occasionally…)

  4. PDF flattening of vector fonts is one of the most useful things I’ve ever encountered. Your comments are dead on.

P.S. I don’t know why or how this works but often finding the “bad” design element and flattening transparencies of the layer / sublayer just fixes it. It’s weird because that means the info to perform the operation IS in the file somewhere, but some “thing” is not allowing it to proceed.

It’s been 20 years, but the pagination system we used to use at the newspaper where I worked would only accept .eps files. Every single image of any sort — raster or vector — had to be saved and sent through the RIP as an .eps file.

Of course, it was a system that was about ten years old at the time and dated back to when encapsulated Postscript was the all-purpose, cutting-edge format. Wrap something up in a Postscript envelope and it was good to go.

The only reason I bring this up is because we really are talking about an ancient format that passed its prime over two decades ago. I think the only reason it’s still mentioned today is due to its ubiquity back then as the somewhat safe and universal format, of sorts. Today, though, I can’t think of any reason to use .eps for anything, unless, of course, some backwater newspaper bought an old newspaper pagination system from the early '90s.

“send an eps” is still a major part of the gang print industry. You’ll also find that most stock vector art is available only as a .eps (or a jpg, which isn’t helpful.)

It was that postscript wrapper on a photoshop .eps that made Quark send ALL the image data to the rip. Because of the old 48" artboard limit, wide format out of Quark was always done in scale. Because Quark was “so smart” with a tif it would only send the resolution data needed to print it at the size it was placed in the layout. If you were then scaling 400%, you’d be quartering that image resolution. They did eventually add a radio button to send all image data, and now they have a much larger artboard.

NM, I don’t think you are missing anything. Remember, I’m wide format, we use profiles that no one has access to. In fact, for some of my outsources with proprietary color management, even I don’t have access to them. If you want the best image output on their machines, you send linked unadulterated RGB images (never converted to CMYK and preferably taken RAW and sent as ProPhoto RGB so they have the largest color gamut available for conversion) and allow them to convert to the proper profile for the machine/media/inkset they are using.

Yes, with Illustrator you can unembed (and InD too,) but that is a fairly recent CC development. Also, IMO, Illustrator has poor image management capabilities when using large images. Anything much over 300mb becomes unwieldy in Illustrator. Saving with such things embedded, along with any effects used, will make your file size unmanageable as well. It’s perfectly fine for small things, once I get past my aversion to the concept of embedding that’s ingrained with 20 + years of hate. It’s just extra steps for me to unembed them. Justifies my set-up fees. :slight_smile:

One of the issues we’ve been having with in-program image editing is bleeds. For some strange and bizarre reason, designers, even experienced ones, seem to think that you don’t need bleed to do a die-cut - that we somehow magically just chop off all the white parts. Often times, those in-program edits remove the bleed I later need to pull. Irksome.

I’ve heard good things about it too. I’m thinking of getting it.

.cdr is the format a lot of smaller signshops use. Not that that is a reason to include it, they should also be using Illustrator et. al. if they want to stay in business.

Agreed 100%.

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