No announcement yet.

Things to consdier when designing a logo

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Things to consdier when designing a logo

    Having been in the Advertising Specialty business for over 25 years, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly in logo design. I thought a discussion about logos in general and design considerations might be a help to budding graphic designers.

    What is a logo?
    A logo is a graphic representatioin of a business or entity. An icon that through repeated exposure identifies that corporation or entity. For example, when you see a yellow running deer on a green background, do you have to see the name to know it's the John Deere logo? That swashy looking check mark you know is Nike. A piece of fruit with a bite out of the top right side - Apple Computer? These are all great examples of iconic (pictorial) logos. Coca-Cola is a fine example of logo text. In either case, iconic or text, a good logo design is at the heart of all marketing and promotion.

    How are logos used?
    Every business or entity uses their logo (text or icon) on the basic printed material that comprise their image package i.e. letter head, envelopes, and business cards. They are also used on a myriad of in-house forms, uniforms, auto decaling, packaging, point of purchase displays, product identification, print and television advertising and now out on the web. All you need to do is take a look around your computer desk to see product logos. I can't even look at my monitor without seeing that Apple logo on the bezel, Citigroup on the calendar, EPSON on my color printer, the Sprint logo on my caller ID gadget, my bank's logo on a ball point pen. They're everywhere!

    What constitutes a good logo design?
    In a word, SIMPLICITY. (There are exceptions for heraldic logos like those of fraternal orders and government agencies). Often the exposure time of a logo is a matter of seconds. Flashed on the t.v. screen, in the header or side bar of a web page, or on a billboard with cars whizzing by at 65 MPH. A simple design can be absorbed and processed by the brain much quicker than something complex.

    What are the graphic considerations?
    From observation of the best in logo design, you will discover that bold, solid blocks of color, minimal detail, and overall composition are the most effective.

    1. While gradients are lovely on a web page or four color process printing, they cannot be reproduced in many specialty print techniques (embroidery, die stamp, hot stamp).

    2, Consider your client's budget when adding color to a logo. It costs much more to print additional colors. If you use multiple colors, always develop a one color version for those times when they don't want to spend the extra money on color (invoices, shipping forms, in-house materials and specialty items.)

    3. Although this is primarily a digital photo forum, don't design in Photoshop. Always design in a vector program such as Illustrator, Corel Draw, or FreeHand. Again, many print processes cannot use pixel based files. Vector files can be printed at any size without getting jaggies. Design the logo once and pass off EPS files to printers for crisp resizing.

    4. Keep close registrations of colors to a minimum. There are often printing up charges for tight or touching colors. This includes for things like raised letter business cards.

    5. Design in Spot (Pantone) colors. Except for web or four color process materials, printers need to separate colors into printing plates, one for each color. Spot color is the only way to go. Although you can use spot colors in Photoshop it is a real pain to set them up to print separate plates. Again, best done in a vector drawing program.

    These are just my thoughts and suggestions based on years of generating artwork for my clients. Feel free to add your own.
    Adobe CS2 on a Mac G5
    Photoshop Tutorials
    Visit my Photobucket art gallery

  • #2
    Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

    Now tell the people who much a Pantone swatch booklet costs


    • #3
      Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

      Stephen, as you probably know, they ain't cheap. Probably $70 to $80, but it's a part of doing business and tax deductible. You can sometimes pick one up free from a local friendly printer. I've got several of them and between the Standard Spot color and Pantone to Process books, I can't do business without them.


      • #4
        Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

        Originally posted by Swampy View Post
        You can sometimes pick one up free from a local friendly printer.
        Cool, I'll have to try that.


        • #5
          Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

          Interesting piece Swampy
          The colour swatch books work out at £55 over here
          and i have yet to find a friendly printer who will let me have one yet ! ! ! ! ! ! they guard them like gold here, In fact i have heard of a printers going out of business and the books have been classed as assets to be sold to cover debts
          ( been married to a litho printer for 30 years )



          • #6
            Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

            I was just going to say the same, Palms! My husband's a litho printer as well, and he says the two books he uses most cost about £130 the pair.


            • #7
              Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

              Above all true about the cost of PMS swatch books. But if you are going to do professional work, you need professional tools. Having a Pantone book is every bit as important as having fonts, software clipart or other tools of the trade. It *IS* the industry standard for describing color and you will look like a dufus if your client asks "what color red"? or even more so if the printer asks, "what color red".


              • #8
                Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

                that's something else I have learnt
                never ask a printer "what's that colour" you get blinded by info



                • #9
                  Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

                  Point taken, Swampy. I'm just jealous that things seem to be so much cheaper on your side of the Atlantic! Just about everything seems to be more expensive in the UK!


                  • #10
                    Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

                    Swampy, That's good advice. Thanks for posting that good information.

                    One minor point though, I prefer to design in photoshop, because I am much better with that tool than illustrator. If you are keeping your design simple as you suggest, it isn't too hard to covert it to an illustrator drawing using live paint. I know it's an extra step, but for me that is easier, because I am so much better with photoshop.


                    • #11
                      Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

                      True, Dave. The main thing you need to remember though is output. Everything except web and 4 color process printing is going to need color separation for printing plates, dies, silkscreens, hotstamp, embroidery, etc. So be sure to set up spot colors when you trace or color fill in Illustrator. It is so much easier to deal with spot colors in AI than in Photoshop.

                      A lot of people think that even if they assign PMS colors from the Photoshop library, that they can get a plate separation from it. But you can't without dealing with each color in a special spot color channel in the channel's palette and that is torture.

                      Although Live trace does a pretty good job, I much prefer to trace by hand. Just put your Photoshop file on a layer, reduce the opacity, lock the layer and start tracing on a layer above.

                      A vector file also allows for placing in Photoshop and resizing and outputting a very clean, sharp JPEG or GIF for web or process color work. This JPEG version was enlarged from about 3 inches to a little over 7 inches and didn't lose any of the fine detail in the petals or the butterfly.

                      Here's a logo that was taken from a photo of a painting. I hand traced it in FreeHand from a color TIFF file. It has been printed on large banners, billboards, letterhead, t-shirts, ball caps, sports bottles, key tags, coffee cups, foil covered chocolates, balloons, real estate signs, magnetic car signs, homeowner's identification car decals, license plates and other stuff that I can't even think of. (Obviously a good customer, LOL) Having a vector version let's me scale the size small enough for something like keytags, or big enough for billboards without losing resolution or detail.
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by Swampy; 01-05-2008, 04:52 PM.


                      • #12
                        Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo


                        awesome post!

                        Originally posted by Swampy View Post
                        Having been in the Advertising Specialty business for over 25 years,
                        These are just my thoughts and suggestions based on years of generating artwork for my clients. Feel free to add your own.


                        Related Topics


                        • SamuelSlade007
                          How i can improve this logo?
                          by SamuelSlade007
                          Hi, I'm new here, and to Photoshop (been given access to it through work)

                          I have an image i've been working on for a department logo and wondering if this was the right place to gain honest feedback on how i could improve aspects of it. I have attached a jpg copy though unsure of sizing....
                          01-04-2008, 05:46 AM
                        • richardi734
                          Logo flying site
                          by richardi734
                          My Dad is a flying instructor and the site he is doing doesn't have a logo. Being new to PS I gave it a go. Please feel free to CC or have a go yourself.

                          06-22-2007, 03:34 PM
                        • christo
                          Transparent background
                          by christo
                          One of the things that I a constantly asked to do, is to place an existing logo into a PageMaker 7 doc. Usually these pages have colored backgrounds, and the logo supplied is often not of sufficient DPI for print work, and usually has the ubiquitous white box around the logo. I have tried using PhotoShop...
                          01-17-2006, 10:12 PM
                        • imaginative
                          Need an exceptional Logo designer
                          by imaginative
                          Hi folks,

                          I’m looking for an extremely talented logo designer to take on the task of working with a startup companies logo. I need a designer that’s on the same creativity and results level as say

                          This work would be for a company that’s...
                          03-31-2008, 11:49 AM
                        • phillip6653
                          Illustrator Question
                          by phillip6653
                          I need some help with Illustrator. I have someone asking me about a problem with this error "When spot color are used with transparency, changing them to process colors outside of illustrator can generate Unexpected result" We know why the error shows. But how do we fix our graphic so we do...
                          04-02-2007, 09:23 AM