Once you’ve decided to make the leap to invest in logos or brand identity packages, here are tips to save you money and get a logo that will serve you well into the future:
Do Not Have a Family Member or Friend Create the Logo – Of all the logo disasters I’ve encountered in my networking, this is the most prevalent. Unless your family member or close friend is a true professional graphic and identity designer–and even then, I would not only recommend it with caution–hire someone that is a “stranger” of sorts. They will be looking at your image from that all-important outsider viewpoint.
Do Not Barter for Logo Design – A networking contact is a “graphic designer” (or thinks he is). He needs the service or products you provide and offers to create your logo for either free or for a dramatically discounted rate. Here’s what happens. You provide your products or services. He creates a logo (or several) that just don’t work for you. Now you’re stuck. Should you use the miserable mess he’s created? Or should you use another designer? If you use the mess, you mess up your brand. If you don’t use it, you will essentially be paying double for it since you’ve already given away your time, talent, products, and maybe even income.
If You Don’t Like What They’ve Created, Say So – Anything that involves creativity involves judgment. And everyone has different tastes. While you don’t want to become a prima donna client, if you don’t like what’s been created, tell your designer. Be specific about why you don’t like it and make constructive comments as to how your designer can change it to meet your needs.
Insist on Receiving a Complete Set of Electronic Logo Files – Your designer must provide you with a complete set of electronic logo files that you can provide to printers, web designers, and places where you advertise. The main file that you will need is a vector format (non-pixel) rendering of your logo; this is typically an Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) file with clean, smooth edges on all elements. If you do not have a program that can read these files, ask your designer for an Adobe Reader (.pdf) file to view. This will assure that your logo can be used on items such as promotional products and can be scaled up or down, without distortion, for signage. When viewing the proof the artwork, zoom it up to around 500% to check for the clean edges. If they’re ragged, all the person has done is convert a .jpeg file to .eps and the artwork is not usable in design applications.
In sum, this logo file set will, at minimum, include: 1) Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) file in color; 2) Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) file in black and white; 3) High-resolution JPEG file for use in commercial print jobs such as brochures; and, 4) Low-resolution JPEG file for use on the web.
Another word of caution: If, in the black and white rendering of your logo, you see any portion that is a shade of gray, reject that logo and tell your designer to render it in solid black. Why? When using this logo for promotional products or signage, gray cannot be imprinted. Imprinting equipment can only see solids and gray is always a “screen,” meaning it is a collection of micro dots. The results will either be messy or come out solid anyway. To illustrate, imagine this. Let’s say your logo is a black circle on a gray square. When imprinted, all you will see is an almost solid black square which looks nothing like your logo. A good graphic designer will create your logo in solid black and white first, then add color later. Ask for the black and white version before you see it in color so that you can evaluate. Ask for this before the designer begins work. If the designer refuses or tries to tell you that it isn’t possible, reject the designer because you will be using the one-color logo more often than you think!
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