Keep it simple. That’s our advice for folks looking to design or revamp their logos or their brands. But, what do we mean when we say “simple”? These five tips will help you design a winning logo that translates nicely across multiple platforms and saves you money and time when you’re in a pinch for the perfect giveaway item.
Stick with one or two colors. The more colors and detail you add to your logo, the more complicated and expensive it will be to reproduce on a t-shirt, pencil or mug. Many printing processes, especially those used in promotional products, require additional steps for multiple colors, which adds to the cost. If you’re really into having a multi-color logo, make sure you create something that can be easily translated into black and white, or compromise and choose just one or two colors.
Speaking of color, know your color formula/profile. PMS. CMYK. RGB. It might seem like alphabet soup, but each of those is a different color system with specific uses. Pantone Color Matching System (PMS) is useful for translating colors across multiple mediums—from a website to an embroidered shirt to a business card—so your specific brand looks consistent across all your products. Make sure to ask your designer for this information—What PMS color is my background, my company name?
Ditch the gradient! Remember when we said keep it simple? This is what we meant. Logos with gradients look great on the Web, but they don’t print very well on t-shirts or other similar goods. On tumblers and t-shirts, the gradient yields bands of color that break up the image instead of creating a smooth transition (like it is on the Web). Check out this side-by-side comparison for some examples of gradients.
Know your file types. Not all file types are created equally. In order to get the best quality printed product, you need a vector file (.ai or .eps); it’s most likely the original file your designer used to make your logo. A lot of other versions get passed around—including .jpg, .pdf, .gif and .tif— these are all raster files, and unfortunately, we can’t use them to make your logo shine like it should. To save time, make sure you keep that .ai or .eps file in a safe place! Request it from your designer if you’re creating one (or if you lost the original file).
Keep your fonts handy, too. Unless it’s a very common font (Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica) you’ll need to make sure your font information is saved alongside your original logo file (the .ai or .eps). Don’t know what font is used in your logo? Better ask your designer. Here are a few other font-related things to consider:
- If the type in your logo is sized too small, it won’t be readable on the printed product, especially if the product is small (shot glass, pen, button).
- Think about creating a vertical and horizontal version of your logo. Here’s a good post about considering scale for signage. Depending on your needs, you’ll want something that prints great in either portrait or landscape orientation (think t-shirt versus pen).
Each of these elements comes together to make a strong logo design, along with knowing what to ask for from your designer and printer. When you start out with these things in mind, you’re saving time and money later on, too. You can feel confident that you have the appropriate files saved in the correct way for a logo that looks great in print, on the Web, and on your favorite promotional product.