What to Expect from Your Logo Designer
I recently had my website designed, and my new logo created for my company. I would like to use it, but my printer can’t use the file he gave me! I just got business cards printed from it, but they didn’t look good. I don’t know what to do.
A frustrated business owner recently came to me with this problem. I told him to calm down, I can redraw the logo in a program where he can use it, and it will always look professional. He was relieved, but didn’t like the idea of having to pay for the logo – AGAIN. It has been my personal experience that it is easy to get the wrong type of art when you purchase a logo design. IThis was not the first business owner that came to me with this exact problem. Beware – the Internet Designer!! They design for the web. This is not a bad thing, they have some really cool programs and will build you an awesome website. But when it comes to your logo, you may want to create a brochure, or business cards, or a banner for a show. You will either have to live with a pixilated and unprofessional logo, or pay someone else to fix it for you. (You know when you look at a printed piece and the edges should be clean lines but come out fuzzy, or jagged – that is pixilated)
~Don’t be afraid to ask questions~
What I aim to do is arm you with basic knowledge about graphic lingo, files types and what you should ask for from your designer.
~It is always a good idea to get multiple formats on disk from your designer~
This allows you the freedom to use your logo in different software and applications. It also allows you to give printers the format that they need. This will save you time, and above all, setup charges when you go to utilize your logo for print.
Raster vs. Vector
When your logois initially designed it may have lots of flare, and be visually stimulating; eyecatching. Your logo can have fancy drop shadows (a shadow of the image projected on the page behind it to add depth) and pretty gradients (gradual fade from one color to another) and look amazing. But, this logo may not be useful for every project.
Example: Your company wants to use the logo for a brochure, but the budget only allows for a one color print. When the brochure is printed your company’s logo looks jagged and spotty.
Example 2: Your company wants to take out a telephone directory ad and the colors are red and black. You do not have the option to add red to your logo, and when it prints it looks fuzzy.
You need to begin with clean lines and no frills! So, when you hire your designer, be sure to tell them that you need the logo initially designed in a VECTOR based program.
~Be strong! This is important!~
What that means is that your logo or artwork is made up of mathematical lines and points that tell the computer where to draw the lines.
What that means to you is that your logo can be resized, re-colored, and changed to fit any project at any time without compromising the integrity of the art. You will have those clean lines at any size!
If it is not vector, it is considered a raster image. Those gradients and drop shadows mentioned , they are usually created in a RASTER based program. Raster images are photos.
What that means is that pixels and dots make up these images.
What that means to you is that you cannot go as big as you want with it, and you cannot have your graphics person or printer change the colors on a whim.
Vector Programs and file extensions:
Adobe Illustrator .ai
Macromedia Freehand .fh? (7,8,9,10… version number)
Corel Draw .cdr
.eps – (encapsulated postscript) virtually any artist, or print shop can open and save this kind of file with any of the programs listed. This is usually a sign that you are getting VECTOR art. However, raster images can also be saved with this extension. That does not make them Vector!!
.pdf – (portable document format) not all that portable. Not even a little bit changeable to the common printer. Can be vector – but usually not. (it is all in how they created and saved the file.)
Only after the initial design phase, if you want gradients, drop shadows, or a beveled edge (a way to give a shape three dimensional depth) have the artist add these elements. If they say they design in PhotoShop, be wary. This is a raster based program, and the artwork can only scale so large before it begins to look bad (pixilated).
Computer formats for the final design
.eps – Have them save this to an older version, to be sure more printers can use the file.
Parent Program – whatever program the vector art was initially designed in.
Raster: (totally optional)
.jpg (.jpeg may not work on your computer) Get a one color and a full color jpg in two sizes, a large and a small one.
.bmp (bitmap) Ask for a black and white bitmap at a high resolution (1800 dpi). There is no white background – so it is more versatile than a jpeg. This is created from your one color logo Vector art.
.gif (optional) with transparent background for web use
.tif (tagged image format) This can be the full color logo. Ask for this in CMYK for printing projects.
.psd (PhotoShop Document, they may use Corel Photo-Paint) This is the program most widely used for the fancy FILTERS, (gradients, bevels, drop shadows…) If they use this program, get an UN-FLATTENED file. It will take up tons of memory, so just get it on disk. This is also for printing projects. It is especially useful if your printer needs to change something.
If you bought a car and the salesman offered to install a CD player for $200, or you could go to a store, buy the same stereo, and pay another company to install it for $500 – what would you do? Everyone wants to save money and hassle down the road. Ask for the logo in vector first and have an open discussion about your options.