What files should I get at the end of a design contest or 1-to-1 project?

This article explains which design files are given to you by your designer after a design contest on 99designs.

It also explains the file types, their uses (print v. digital) and the type of designs they work best for (e.g. logo design, infographic, website etc).

What is each file type, and what are they used for?
There are 3 types of files that you may recieve from your designer. Read about each type and how they're used below.
 
1.  Vector files
Vector files are different from raster files because you can scale them up to any size.
Technically, unlike other file types made of pixels, every dot in a vector file is tied to a mathematical equation. That equation makes sure the quality of the image isn't compromised when resizing it.
Vector files are best used for logos and icons because logos and icons are typically used in different sizes and settings.
Types of vector files are listed below: 
  

File type

Best use

Benefits

PDF

Print, web documents

High quality, use-almost-anywhere format

EPS

Vector, logos

Can be scaled to any size without image quality loss

AI

Vector, logos
(must have Adobe Illustrator to edit)

Can be scaled to any size without image quality loss

Sketch

Vector, website design
(must have Sketch to edit)

Can be scaled to any size without image quality loss

 

2.  Raster files

Raster files are made up of pixels, which means this file type has set size dimensions. When you increase the size of a raster file beyond the original size, the picture will become pixelated and blurry.

Raster files are common for photos, animation, and web graphics. Even though raster files don’t have limitless scaling like vectors do, they can still be used for printing if the resolution is high enough.

Types of Raster files, their best uses and benefits are listed below:

File type

Best use

Benefits

JPG

Web (and print if high resolution)

Small size, great for previews, mostly used online

PNG

Web, transparent background graphics

High quality and color-depth, transparent background

PSD

Photoshop, web images

Editable layers, can be exported to other file types such as JPEG

 

Zip files

A .zip file is a package of files that allow you to download multiple files at once. If your designer is preparing multiple different files for you, they may upload a zip file to make it easier to download.

Once you’ve downloaded the .zip file, you’ll have to extract it to view the files inside.

To download and pull out the files:

1.  From your device, right-click on the .zip file

2.  choose ‘Extract’ (You can also use a free Zip extractor - such as 7-Zip (Windows).)

 


 

Tips to make sure you get the right files at the end of the contest

Your chosen/winning designer will upload the files at the end of your design contest. Once they are uploaded, you have five days* to review the files to make sure they are correct.

*10 days for: Logo & hosted website, Logo & brand identity pack, Logo & social media pack

1.  Know your design needs up front
Before starting your design contest, you should have a clear idea of how you'll use the design (for print, web etc). Having a clear design goal gets you started on the right foot by setting you up for clear communication with the designers during your contest.

Pro Tip - Sizing: To make sure any sizing requirements are followed, include dimensions in the brief. If your printer requires a dieline (for things like packaging) upload the dieline as an attachment to the brief.  

2.  Talk to your printing company
Different printers have different file requirements. If you're going to get your design printed, you should know what printing company you’ll be working with and what file types they require. If you already have a specific printing output in mind (for example a glossy magazine or a label with gold elements), it’s useful to include this in your brief as well.

3.  Communicate with your winning designer
If you haven’t received a vector file yet (or if you would like to an alternative file type that isn’t included in your contest) simply message your winning designer. Your designer will answer your questions and might be able to export more files for you - or may be willing to continue working with you in a follow-up project.

Review the design
It’s important to review the design itself in the files your designer provides as well as making sure you have received all of the files you need. Check that you received the agreed-upon version of the design and no typos have crept in.

 

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