I was shocked after checking into printing rates this season after a client asked me about low cost printing options. What he wanted was a lower printing bill, and he was afraid that by asking me to handle it he’d end up paying for design time plus printing rates in the neighborhood of the rates he’d seen quoted online. If you’ve got a design you like already, I can still help you get the best possible printing prices with no extra charges for design time. I’m always frustrated when I hear new business or small business owners talk about finding great deals through online sources like Vista Print. Sure, that means I didn’t get their business, but more importantly it means that I know they paid waaaay too much.
Your company logo expresses the heart and soul of your organization. It’s no wonder there are whole companies devoted just to designing branding and logos and still others to helping companies protect their logos in the marketplace. Despite the importance of the logo in American commerce, most of the new clients I meet don’t have any idea if the graphic files they have of their logo will meet the needs of their next marketing project. Worse yet, they don’t know what to ask for when they’re having their logo designed, so they may well pay a lot of money only to find out that the file they’ve received needs to be recreated in a new format, which in turn costs they even more money. It’s frustrating all around.
The good news is that it all boils down to how you want to use your logo files. If you’re like most of my clients, you’ll plan to use your logo in both printed and electronic marketing, like business cards or brochures and websites or social marketing. To ensure your logo looks its best in your various marketing projects, you’ll need two different file formats or versions of your logo. When you talk with your designer, you’ll want to ask what he or she will provide you aside from the logo itself. Ensure that you’ll receive files for both a vector and a raster version. If the price goes up with multiple files, then opt for the vector version.
Your designer should use a vector based graphic design software, like Adobe Illustrator, to produce your logo. Vector based images can be resized using a vector based software without losing the quality of the image. In addition, most vector based design programs can export .png or .jpeg versions, which are rasterized images that require less memory but have enough resolution for most online uses. If your logo includes text and solid colors, ask for a .png image for your online use. The .png format ensures that the edges remain crisp and clean and allows you to make the white areas transparent, which makes adding it to a website or other electronic page with a background that needs to show through easier. If your logo uses gradients or the host or website software you’re using doesn’t accept .png files, a .jpeg file is the format you’ll want for online use.
When I provide logos to my clients, they receive an original file with the fonts used; a version where the fonts have been converted into graphics or artwork, which are easy to share with some providers such as screen printers; a gray scale version; a version that is black; and a version that is white. All of these are in vector format. In addition, I provide a raster copy of each of these versions in a standard size. I can also provide custom-sized versions of any of these files on request. With this file set in hand, my clients are equipped with the logo files they’ll need to successfully create any of their marketing deliverables.