What’s a “Source File”?

Ellina Dent
Art Director

“Source File”…You may have heard this term when talking to a publishing company or a printer. But what exactly is a “source file”? A source file is the file used by a designer to create the design or formatting of something.

What's a "Source File"?If you have a logo, book cover, business card, post card, bookmark, etc. designed by a graphic designer and have paid for the work, make sure that you have an agreement or contract giving you the rights to the work/designs. You will also want to make sure that you ask them for the source files. These are the file types that you should request from a designer:

  • .ai (Adobe Illustrator File)
  • .eps (Encapsulated Post Script File)
  • .pdf (Portable Document Format)
  • .psd (Photoshop Data File)
  • .ttf (True Type Font)

By requesting these files, you can then provide them to another designer or vendor to modify and re-size as needed to get you products that you are looking for. Should you decide down the road that you want to do a new edition of your book, with changes to the cover, you won’t be able to have changes made by a new designer unless you have the previous designer’s source file(s).

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Filed under Book Design, Publishing

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