A vector file of your logo is one of the most valuable items that you can have in your small business's brand kit.
What is a vector file?
It's a file that was created in Adobe Illustrator or a similar drawing program. It's called a vector file because these programs enable you to create designs that are based on a series of points and lines, instead of just coloring in pixels. This makes your logo design more scalable.
What might you need it for?
If you're designing anything that you need your logo to be larger or smaller for, starting from the vector file and scaling that first will give you a crisper, clearer result. That will look more professional than a blurry logo.
Vector files also don't have background color in the file – so you can layer the logo over a new color without having funky edges. For example, if you need to put your logo in an ad with a dark background, then there won't be a white edge around the logo.
Last, vector files are easier to modify. If you need to change the colors for any reason (perhaps you have a 3-color logo but you're printing 2-color promotional items to save money) – then you can do that with a few clicks, and get a crisp and clean result.
Who might want it?
Printers, other graphic designers, website designers, advertising companies, t-shirt and promotional product printers all might want your vector logo.
How can I tell if I have one?
Go through your set of logo files (you did get more than one from your designer, right?) and look for a file that ends in .ai,.eps or even .cdr. If you don't have any of these, but you have a PDF of your logo, you can have me or another designer try opening that file to see if it's a vector file in disguise.
What if I don't have one?
If your designer only gave you a JPG of your logo, then never fear. When you have a need for a vector file, a designer can trace the JPG logo for you and create a scalable copy. Just make sure to get copies of the new files – and to keep track of them for future use.