I get so many clients who have not taken the proper technical steps in securing their logos for future use. It just happened today for the 2nd time in as many weeks. So I’m doing a post about it in the hopes that it helps both my clients & visitors in the future.
When you create your company logo IT IS AN IMPORTANT ASSET and needs to be properly configured for future use by your company.
Now I’m not talking about legal protection. Yes, that’s important too. But that’s one for the attorneys and I meet more clients who have their legal in place but DON’T have their technical in place with their logos.
Here’s what I mean.
When you get your logo created, it’s usually by a logo artist or designer. You need to make sure that they give you ALL of the proper file formats for your logo.
You need to make sure that they give these files TO YOU. Not just your printer or other designer (web, print, etc.). ALWAYS get copies of ALL of your logo files. ALWAYS.
This way you’ll have them all for future use whenever you need to create any branded promotional materials.
Here is the basic rundown on file formats you should have and what they would be used for:
The file format extensions that usually apply are: eps (encapsulated post script), ai (Adobe Illustrator), or psd (PhotoShop Document). My personal preferences are eps or ai as the resolution quality is best.
PDF’s are useless here. Don’t bother with them.
The reasons the vector version is most important and is listed here first are 2:
A. A vector version of your logo can be created in any size needed. That means that if your making print materials, video or television, the artist will have the proper file resolution (dots per inch or dpi) so your logo doesn’t look fuzzy.
B. Vector versions are usually transparent in their native state. This means when your logo is placed in whatever art, it’s background will be transparent and look more professional than having a white background behind it in an environment where it doesn’t fit.
My personal opinion is that nothing shows a non-pro more than having a logo with a white background slapped over something. The logo should be transparent and look as if it belongs there naturally, not as an afterthought.
Just because the logo looks good on your website doesn’t mean it will look good everywhere else. If you don’t have the proper file formats it WON’T.
2. Greyscale Version - This is basically a black & white version of your logo. But it’s not just black and white in color. It will have shades of grey in the places where your logo has color and will usually have multiple shades of grey if it’s done right.
Now any artist worth their salt can convert your color logo to greyscale and it will look okay. But, the original artist who created your logo should provide a pure greyscale version with their vision in mind. This will ensure the right shades of light grey, medium grey, charcoal, black, white, etc. are in the proper places and your logo really looks good when printed in “black & white”.
I’m not a fan of pure black & white logos and believe that greyscale looks more professional. Although sometimes a logo design really only lends itself to pure black & white when the greyscale version is created.
Your greyscale logo can be in any file format as long as it’s transparent and at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). The file formats I recommend are png (Portable Network Graphic), ai, eps and psd (PhotoShop).
If you don’t have graphics software or any experience working with logos I also recommend the following:
3. Web Version – A smaller size version of your logo for use on the web. Vector files are large and will not be accepted usually as uploads to sites where you’re placing your logo such as LinkedIn or YouTube.
So you want a small size that scales easily in one of the following transparent formats: gif or png.
I say transparent because once again, unless the background on your web page is white, you’ll be stuck with that unprofessional white background if you upload a logo that isn’t transparent.
NOTE: Jpeg files (jpg) are NEVER transparent. Jpeg is very common and is perfect for photos but NOT FOR LOGOS. Remember that.
4. Favicon – this is a bonus which your logo designer may or may not be able to do. But you should request it anyway. Most people never think of it. But I mention it here because again, it makes you look more professional, especially on your website.
So, what’s a favicon? A favicon or “favorite icon” is the tiny little graphic that you see in your browser that indicates the website you’re on. Most professional sites have them.
Again, I recommend that this be transparent if your logo is not a true square shape (favicons are always square), lest you have that dreaded white background
You can make your own favicon using your logo with this free tool. You will need to upload it to your website and check it in all browsers to be sure it displays properly.
I recommend designing logos so they have a stand alone branding image feature that you can use without the whole logo. I’ll cover that in future articles. But in the meantime, you can make a favicon with the above tool to get started.
5. Logo Colors & Fonts – A truly professional logo designer should also supply you with the colors and font names used in your logo. If it’s a custom font created by the designer, they may also be able to, and should, supply this as well so you can use it going forward in your branding.
What is meant by colors is the RGB (Red-Green-Blue) and/or CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black) color codes for the colors in your logo. This way, when you go to print, the printer will have an easier time. Especially if your printing on fabric.
Now with digital printing, this is not always necessary. But when creating your web pages, it’s extremely useful to have an exact color match. For the web you’ll need the RGB or HEX color codes. HEX – short for hexidecimal I believe – is the 6 digit alphanumeric code that computer programs will use to translate your logo colors into visible colors.
Simple colors have simple numbers and are an easy match using point & click tools in most design software. But more complex or custom colors, particularly if your logo has 3D or other shading, may be more difficult to match exactly. So it’s best to just get the color codes from your logo designer.
When I create a logo, I use a professional logo designer. I don’t let web designers do my logos just as I wouldn’t go to a regular doctor for an aching tooth.
So, the vector version is really the most important and only file you really must have because all other versions can be created from it if the person working with your logo has the proper software and skill.
Make sure you get ALL LOGO FILES from your logo designer (even if it’s your web designer). Don’t just settle for the file they put on your web site. You’re going to need these logo files for branding & promotion so take care that you receive them all.
Hope this helps.