The story may be true or may be apocryphal, but either way it illustrates a good point: The logo below was Apple’s logo until the day Steve Jobs decided they needed to order embroidered polo shirts.
That logo would never work well stitched at a small size onto your work shirt. Is your logo up to the demands of integrated marketing? Does it fly as well in print as online, stitched onto clothing, 10 feet wide on outdoor signage? While your goal is one unified brand image, that does not necessarily mean you will only have one logo for all purposes.
The logo design you tweaked and approved back on day one is really put to test when you begin to market across different media. Initially, many folks think of their logo only in terms of how it will appear on a card, letterhead or envelope – or perhaps how it will appear in full RBG color on their website home page. But when you begin to explore other marketing needs, the very design of that logo may prove to be limited, to not carry the same impact. For instance, a logo design may look great in full color, but when the day comes you need a solid white logo reversed out on a dark background as an awning over the front doorway entrance, the limitations of the design become apparent. Many times, more complex designs look great at a large scale but then don’t work well if you try to imprint them onto small promotional objects or on websites. Balance is also important – a logo with one oversized element may look fine onscreen, but when printed at a small scale the type can be illegible due to the difference in size with the larger element. The logo that looks great in full color on your website will need to work just as well embroidered on company uniforms, imprinted onto promotional keychains or ink pens, and embossed onto a formal letterhead. That initial design process needs to include the logo in all its variations.
Many brand images are designed with some built in variety to accommodate varying layouts and usage needs: for instance, your designer should offer you a “wide” version, a “tall” or “stacked” version, a version with and without a tagline or company “motto”. This set of logos will allow versatility in your marketing without altering the impact and unity of your brand image. Likewise, your designer can create your logo in the necessary range of color combinations: all black, reversed out as all white on a black or colored background, spot color versions using one or more defined PMS colors, and a full color version as both CMYK and RGB.
And the simplest part is often the one forgotten: once finalized, you will definitely want to have control of your brand by having possession of your actual logo… er, logos! Even if you do not have the software necessary to edit or change your logo, you will want to have the digital files in hand and a basic understanding of what file types you need for different outputs. Your designer and printer should be happy to supply you with these files.
Files… because there is never just one file that works for all occasions. While it is certainly not mandatory, a logo that begins it’s life as a vector is a happy logo! It can be edited, scaled, redesigned, converted, and proves to be the most conveniently versatile file type. Vector logos can be saved as a native .ai file or an .eps file. These can then be easily converted to other common file types such as .tiff, .jpg, .gif or .png. While you do not have to know all the mechanics behind each of these file extensions, you may be asked to provide specific ones. Your web designer may need a .gif or .png while your t-shirt vendor may ask for a vector file in two spot colors. With just the options mentioned in this post, your final logo set would consist of 30 separate digital files!
So, saving or exporting your logo to exist as different file types is not so difficult (well, if it begins as a vector file!) A well-designed logo will work well in spot colors, full color, reversed or as black and white. A logo that is created as part of a design package including a style manual will have its usage already thought out — work with your designer to ensure the versatility of your logo and brand, and once finalized to understand your different file types for marketing usage.
ImageSmith is proud to be a printer in an exciting era of digital communication. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. They should also be able to work with you to solve any difficult prepress issues with your files. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!
Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.