Goldfish

You probably have a check list, at least in your mind, of what goes into making a good logo design. You may know how to design a logo and you’ve probably studied some of the greats however are you forgetting these four critical factors when you design your logos?

Below are 4 logo design tips for areas that are often overlooked in logo design:

  • Ownership marks
  • Anchor point clean up
  • Colour functionality
  • The correct files

Does the logo need an ownership mark?

Especially if you’re doing a logo for a product or service that belongs to a particular brand, they may require you to put some kind of mark on it indicating its ownership: a registered mark ®, a trademark ™ or a service mark ?. On that note you may want to read up on copyright issues in logo design.

logo-tm

If the logo you are creating requires one of these, work it into the design as the Multimediums example above, don’t just tack it on at the end. First you have to decide if you want to use the same font as you have for the rest of the logo or would a more plain sans serif be better?

Then kern the mark close to the other text or the image in the logo. Baseline adjust it so that it looks like it belongs in the design. You may even consider knocking it out of a solid color area of the logo, like in the Weaver logo above.

What does the logo look like larger?

You know that you have to make sure the logo will work at smaller sizes, but have you considered that your logo might need to be blown up to fit on a billboard or tradeshow exhibit someday? Creating professional logos isn’t just about how good it looks, it’s also about how functional it is technically.

logo-paths

Zoom in as close as you can and check to make sure there’s no funny stuff going on with anchor points or handles (divots, extraneous points and the like). You may not notice these details when it’s small, but blow the logo up and they’ll be the first things your eye is drawn to.

Will the chosen colors work?

Sometimes the client will tell you what the corporate colors are, but if you get to decide, choose colors that will match a variety of applications. Some colors are too neutral in their value (yes, value, not hue) and either don’t stand out very well or don’t match well with most other colors.

logo-pms300

PMS300, for example, is an often used color for logos, but I’l tell you from personal experience that it is a very difficult color to work with and I end up using the pure black or knockout (white) version of the logo instead! You have to consider how colors work for more applications than just the stationary system you may create to go with the delivery of the logo.

Do you have four high quality files ready to give the client?

Deliver high quality files to your clients includes taking into account all the ways the logo might be used. Create a spot color-based file, a pure CMYK (i.e. no spot colors!) file, a pure black and a pure white (knockout) file. That’s four files total that you should deliver to a client every time. You can tell if you’re using a spot (aka Pantone or PMS) color, a spot color converted to a process (CMYK) color or a pure process color by looking at the Color Swatches palette.

logo-swatches

Clean up these files, too. Go into the Color Swatches palette and delete any extra color, gradient or pattern swatches that weren’t used in the actual logo. You can also delete extra brushes and graphic styles to further clean up the file.

You may want to add this to your check list of what makes a good logo:

  • How is the ownership mark incorporated?
  • Does the logo reduce and enlarge as expected?
  • Will the chosen colors work in most contexts?
  • Do the files have the technical flexiblity for any possible use?

So are these things that you’ve thought about before? Do you have any other logo design tips?


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33 Comments For This Post

  1. mystudio Says:

    Read the article just at the right time. working on a logo right now. We generally submit a vector file, a .tiff and a jpeg for the web. Not many clients ask for a black and a knock out file. Will try giving it this time and see the reaction.

    Thanks Lauren.

  2. Psiplex Says:

    Very useful! Thanks for pointing out these easily missed factors and bringing more focus to the client and end user aspects. Respect!

  3. Matt Fouty Says:

    Good post Jacob! I recently did a logo that uses PMS 299 for print. I found that Illustrator’s RGB representation of this color seems far off.

  4. Jann Mirchandani Says:

    Great article. I just did a project where we needed to include the sponsors’ logos. It was a nightmare because most of them didn’t have the right type of files for the application. And many didn’t know what they need. As such I would add a simple application guide letting them know which files go with which application; i.e. print, web, etc.

  5. LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Says:

    mystudio,
    It’s nice to give clients the flexibility of black and KO files just in case (with the recommendation that they use the full color whenever possible!). Hope your client will appreciate your extra effort!

    Psiplex,
    You’re welcome, glad it was useful for you.

    Matt,
    I’ve not tried working with PMS 299 before, but I’ve seen color specs that have different CMYK and RGB numbers than what Illy or PS convert the PMS to, so it’s not too surprising.

    Jann,
    I feel your pain! I’ve had similar projects and sponsors try the craziest things, including submitting GIF logos for print. Even with specs, some people just don’t understand or pay attention.

  6. Kelly | Purple Lemon Designs Says:

    Great article Lauren! Definitely things that all logo designers should think about.

  7. Jeremy Tuber Says:

    Nice post Lauren,
    I have a huge pet peeve with designers that don’t clean up their anchor points in Illustrator. There’s nothing worse than zooming into a logo and finding it’s a train wreck with divots and superfluous points.

    Continuing on with that idea, it’s also important that your logo be organized logically (whether in AI or PS). Use layers and grouping appropriately to ensure your logo has some flexibility in manipulating it down the line (if necessary).
    jeremy
    beingastarvingartistsucks.com

  8. lauren Says:

    If you’re just supposed to send .ai or .eps files to the client without attaching a fonts folder, don’t forget to convert the text to outlines so there aren’t any font issues!

  9. LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Says:

    Kelly,
    Thanks!

    Jeremy,
    I completely agree about organizing files. Having a “Layer 1″ with 500 shapes in it is a disaster! And labeling each shape/layer is so helpful for anyone who might have to work with the file later.

    Lauren,
    Ah yes! Very excellent tip. Thanks for the reminder (so second nature to me I forget to mention it).

    ——-
    One other thing I didn’t mention which is mostly preference but still helpful:
    For the KO (white) version, set the view to outline mode (View>Outline or Ctrl/Cmd Y) before saving so that upon opening the file people can immediately tell there’s something there! White on white doesn’t show up too well ;)

  10. Jacob Cass Says:

    Ah nice tip about saving in outline mode Lauren, I never realised that setting would save with the document!

  11. LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Says:

    Jacob,
    The zoom and position of the window and artboard will also save with the file—at least it has in my AI/EPS documents (maybe just because I’m on the same computer or OS?)! You may need to make a change (even if you undo it) to make these save though. If the program doesn’t recognize a change to contents of the file (view mode and zoom not included) it won’t let you save it.

  12. Aaron Riddle Says:

    Great tips! I provide these exact files to my logo design clients because you know they are going to eventually need all of them.

  13. Abbas Says:

    Outlining all fonts before sending final artwork is a definite.

    No logo should have any editable text included within it that any 3rd party could edit.

    You should explain the reason why you’re sending out numerous versions of the final artwork to some clients. From my experience, smaller clients are interested as to why you do this and if this makes any impact on the quoted price.

  14. Torrie Foster Says:

    Thanks for the tips. This is definitely helpful!

  15. Patrik Says:

    You have written really critical points. Very few people think like this. I appreciate it. Thanks

  16. Logo Bang Says:

    This is a great article, we send out logos all the time and these are great tips!

  17. (brackets) Says:

    Quote: “You have to consider how colors work for more applications than just the stationary system you may create to go with the delivery of the logo.”

    My 1 Must Know Tip for logo design tipsters…
    Use correct spelling. It’s stationery!
    Designers need to know how to use correct spelling and when and how to use the correct terminology if they want to be regarded as a professional.
    MY 1 BEST TIP = If it’s Stationery = use E for Envelope; If it’s Stationary = use A for At.
    Honestly, I’m not here as a spelling nazi to have a spray. I’ve simply worked for over 20 years in pre-press graphic design and feel its a simple and basic point all designers should be aware of.

    Re the colours – I would also add rgb and or hex colours for use in web appications. (Having first had the client physically point to a colour swatch selection and never selecting from an online proof they see on their ‘usually uncalibrated’ monitor.

  18. robb Says:

    great points there.
    thx for sharing.

  19. asrulsks Says:

    I didn’t get it.. What is the different between ‘PMS turned process’ and ‘regular process’? Why need both? Are they have the same value for each CMYK? Thanks…

  20. LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Says:

    asrulsks,

    You don’t need a PMS turned process and straight CMYK values. When designing a logo, I always start the colors in PMS. The easiest way to then turn them into process/CMYK color is to double click the swatch in the color palette and change the Color Mode in the drop down menu from Book Color to CMYK. Then you have to change Color Type (same dialog box but now above where the color mode menu is; previously this section was greyed out) from Spot Color to Process Color.

    Does that answer your question? You’re right, it was a bit confusing; I didn’t explain the image as well as I could have. Bottom line, you don’t need both. One or the other will do, and above is the way I do it (of course, it’s not the only way).

  21. asrulsks Says:

    Ok, I get it now.. but I prefer to convert the Spot Color by clicking the small CMYK icon right under the color percentage ‘CMYK (click to convert)’, is it produce the same result as yours?

  22. LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Says:

    asrulsks, I’ve never tried to do it that way! I’m sure that would work just fine as long as you have selected the objects that are spot colors before you change this option. The way I do it, you don’t need to select the objects and it removes (well, really changes) the spot color from the color palette, too. You can select multiple colors swatches and perform this step for all of them at the same time.

  23. ETM Says:

    Working on a logo for a school project. Will definitely take these tips into consideration.

  24. Swati Says:

    Thank you for sharing these tips! So far, they’ve simply been on the mind while working, but I now see how they’ve been missed out time and again. This time though they are going down on the checklist!

    cheers!
    Swati

  25. Serene Says:

    A little problem with the straight conversion from process to cmyk in illustrator is the values do not match the Pantone color bridge fan recipe. Sometimes the colors are way off. Printers will use the bridge deck if you send them the process color. Adobe and Pantone are not using the same cmyk conversion recipes. Watch out when printing! It can be disasterous and expensive.

  26. Robert Says:

    Cleaning up anchor points is a big one for me, I really think having clean lines in your logo design is so important. I’m constantly zooming in on a microscopic level looking for any wayward nodes or kinked lines (probably taking it a tad to far, but I am a little OCD about it)

  27. srdjandizajn Says:

    The ownership mark explanation was really useful for me! Thank you for sharing that with us..
    P.S. Here are some mine logos: http://srdjan-djordjevic.blogs...../logo.html

  28. Fizz Web Design Says:

    Although we design (mostly) websites & do content writing, my own first love is logo or business card design. It’s such a ‘free’ area to be unleashed into.
    I must say I haven’t yet had to design a logo for a company large enough to require a very large version as yet. It does make me wonder just how big my basic initial designs should really be for the logo to comfortably be able to be blown up to a large size without breaking up?

  29. Logo Design Miami Says:

    Great logo design tips!! As a logo designer in Miami, I have also found that providing clients with multiple files for print reduces the possibility of problems with printing the final logo in the future. Along with vector logos, we also provide a raster file (jpg) for website use (and in-office) use.

  30. Jon Dev Says:

    Very good icon. Thanks for posting.

  31. David Says:

    Great work. Helpful posting for me.Thanks

  32. Md Arif Says:

    Nice one thanks for posting.

  33. Anil Kumar Says:

    That’s really awesome article for logo design. These tips will definitely help everyone to design an awesome logo for the website.

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