So What Kind of File Do You Need To Print My Logo?

 

We get this question from time to time, but not often enough! So I thought I’d post a little bit about the type of artwork needed for printing on your products.  It’s really very simple, the preferred format for printing is an Adobe Illustrator ai or eps file. These are vector files that provide crisp clean lines and can be re-sized without losing clarity.  Your graphic designer should be familiar with Adobe Illustrator and can prepare the artwork accordingly. However, if your company does not have a graphic designer or access to vector files, you can submit high resolution jpeg or tiff files and for a small fee most promotional products companies will “redraw” the artwork and create a vector file for you. It’s also a good idea to stay away from images downloaded from the internet, these images are very low in resolution and are not designed for print media and will look just awful on your mini footballs, basketballs and t-shirts!

Another thought, when you or your designer are laying out your artwork for promotional items, it’s good idea to keep it simple, use bold, large fonts and simple clean graphics. Complex graphics printed in small imprint areas can “fill” and end up looking like a blob of ink! So in summary, think vector, think bold, think simple, get your message seen!

 

 

What Most Designers Don’t Consider With Logo Design

 

A logo for a business is a critical component for branding and every business, no matter how small, needs to brand themselves. You may only brand yourself locally, or you may brand your business regionally, nationally, or internationally, however, your logo is a vital part of your company image. Therefore, a lot of thought should go into this process. Logo Design is not slapping your business name under a piece of clipart. Clipart should never be used in a logo, as everything should be completely custom and unique. There are many “graphic designers” who claim to be designers with years of experience; however, many only have what I call tinkering experience. They have played around with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and think they are now graphic designers. That would be like a nurse who has a few years of experience saying, I think I’m going to be a doctor tomorrow. You will know amateur designers if they offer some kind of ridiculously low rate such as $100 for 5 designs or anything unreasonably cheap. With these cases, you will get regurgitated designs which either use stock clipart or rejected designs from past clients. Just know that great design and effective ad layouts take time.

When designing a logo there are many aspects such as color combination, to keep in mind to create a visually appealing logo and most experienced graphic designers can do a decent job with this. However, I want to make light of a few key areas that most inexperienced graphic designers fail to take into consideration when designing logos for companies, which can cost the client dearly in the future with increased or ineffective printing costs.

Key Logo Design Elements That Most Graphic Designers Fail To Consider

  1. Height and Width of Logo – You have to think of how logos are used for business. Logos are printed on apparel, letterhead, business cards, promotional products, brochures, postcards, etc. In my days the the graphic design business, I have seen many logos that are very wide or very high. And while they may look great on the computer screen, don’t forget to think about the practicability of that height/width aspect. When doing printing on most items, there is a maximum imprint area and if your logo maxes out on width way before it maxes out on height, it will print very small. Sticking with a square, circular, or small rectangle, will help to make sure the proportions of the logo print well on most media.
  2. Logo Colors – You can get really crazy with colors in a logo and use many different color that make the logo look great. However, is this the practical thing to do? When printing on paper products such as business cards, letterhead, brochures, and postcards, full color is always an option. But what about printing newspaper ads or printing on promotional items? Full color is not always an option, and if it is an option, it can be much more costly. If you choose to have a full color logo design, make sure you have a version designed that can also be used to print in a spot color form as well as a black/white version.
  3. Small Details – Logos can be designed with great detail and look amazing; however, what happens to those details when your shrink the logo down in size. If you plan on printing your logo on products such as promotional pens or other promotional products, will your logo lose detail at small sizes? Really detailed logos will actually bleed together when pad printed or screen printed if they are printed too small. So really think about the long term aspect of your logo. Ideally, the simpler the logo the better. Look at some of the big brands such as Apple, McDonalds, or Nike. All of their logos are incredibly simple, yet very powerful.

During the logo design process, I urge you to think about all of the future issues you might have with actually printing your logo. Will the shape of your logo fit on most items that you will print in the future? Are you willing to pay more in printing costs should your logo be full color? Will your logo print well at small sizes? Good designers can design nice looking logos, but only great designers can create both beautiful logos AND practical designs.

If you want great Logo Design, check out some of the packages below:

Basic Logo Design Package

$195 Basic Logo Design Package -3 Unique Designs-Up to 2 Revisions of Selected Design-Supplied in 5 Popular formats (.eps, .ai, .pdf, low res .jpg, high res .jpg)-1 artist working on your project

Bronze Logo Design Package

$295 Bronze Logo Design Package -4 Unique Designs-Up to 2 Revisions of Selected Design-Supplied in 5 Popular formats (.eps, .ai, .pdf, low res .jpg, high res .jpg)-Business Card Design with your new logo-Black/White version of logo-2 or more artists working on your project

Gold Logo Design Package
$495                                      Gold Logo Design Package      -6 Unique Designs
-Up to 2 Revisions of Selected Design
-Supplied in 5 Popular formats (.eps, .ai, .pdf, low res .jpg, high res .jpg)
-Business Card Design with  1000 full color business cards
-Letterhead Design
-Envelope Design
-Black/White version of logo
-Style Guide
-2 or more artists working on your project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Branding Checklist For Small Business

 

Branding

So some people ask, “What is Branding?” Steering clear of any cattle, branding in business simply means the identity of a business or product. A well know example would be Kleenex. Kleenex has done such a great job of branding that many people don’t say, “I need a tissue,” but they say, “I need a Kleenex.” Kleenex is the name of the product; but it is now interchangeable with the type of product it is.

A top priority for any business should be to create a unique branded image and protect that image at all times. This means that any time you print business cards, brochures, promotional products, produce videos, post on social media, create custom apparel, or do any other forms of marketing, you should stay consistent with your brand. You have many competitors both locally and online that offer the exact same service, so how do you differ from them?

Below are 3 key points to use as a simple and easy checklist to make sure you are staying true to your branding when doing your marketing.

  1. Always use your logo. Think about how many people know the McDonald’s arches. Better yet, think about how many people DON’T know what the McDonald arches represent. While you may be a small business and your logo won’t be recognized nationwide, it will be recognized within your local business region if you brand it properly. Don’t skew the proportions of your logo and don’t change the colors. Sometimes you have to print black/white and that is okay. The ultimate goal is for people to be able to recognize your logo without having the business name printed below it. That’s successful branding!
  2. Stay true to your company colors. Most companies have certain colors used with their logo and their marketing theme, which is great. When possible, always use the color combination in both your marketing products and when printing your logo. This consistency of color branding reinforces your brand.
  3. Develop a tagline that highlights why your company is different from competitors OR a tagline that is catchy or funny and represents the mood of your company. Always use your tagline on any printed products.

Overall, the main theme to remember in branding is consistency. Always keep a uniform look and make sure your employees understand this as well so your branding comes across consistent in all forms of communication. Over the long term, your branding will pay off big time and your company will have a much better recognition with not only your current clients, but also with potential clients who have yet to use your products or services.

Pantone LLC Names The Official Color of 2012

 

Pantone LLC, the company who is responsible for creating the Pantone Matching System, also known as PMS colors, have announced the official Pantone color of 2012. Just like clothing styles and patterns of speech in teens, colors are very fashion based. Colors come and go in popularity, only to reborn again years later. In the last few years this particular chosen color has gained popularity and it is now named the color of 2012. The color is Tango Orange, known in the printing industry as Pantone 7625c. The closest CMYK match for full color printing would be C=5, M=90, Y=100, K=0 and for the RGB closest match for the web would be R=227, G=64, B=34.

Orange is not just for Halloween any more though. You’ll not only see a lot more clothing in 2012 being from the Orange color family, but also a lot of promotional products. Sometimes with your business, you have to go with the ‘in” fashion and capitalize on that even if you don’t personally follow the crowd. When giving out your promotions, if you give people what they want, including the “in” colors, they will use your giveaways more, giving your company more marketing exposure. This is yet another idea to incorporate into your marketing to help boost your company exposure.

If you still don’t believe that orange can look good, just take a look at the various Orange items below and picture your own business logo printed on them.

Orange Promotional Tote BagOrange Promotional PenOrange Promotional Beach Ball

 

Orange Embroidered Baseball HatOrange TumblerOrange Ceramic Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Pantone Colors? (PMS Colors)

 

In the printing industry, you will often times hear ink colors referred to as either PMS Colors or Pantone Colors. So a common question we are often asked is, “What is a PMS Color?” PMS stands for Pantone Matching System and it is a system developed by Pantone LLC which allows for the precise mixture of ink colors. For the most part, it is a printing industry standard which makes printing precise colors possible. All total, there are 1,114 solid Pantone colors on coated, uncoated, and matte stock. It, of course, is not practical to have each of the 1,1114 ink colors on hand at all times; therefore, this color matching and mixing system allows for printers to mix very specific colors on demand. One think to keep in mind is that PMS colors do NOT apply to full color imprints, since that printed process uses the CMYK system or Process Printing. Process color printing only uses four colors to produce millions of shades of colors. C=Cyan, M=Magenta, Y=Yellow, K=Black. White is used from the paper (or product) source. If white must be printed on a design and the paper or product is not already white, it has to be printed as a spot color such as screen printing or pad printing.

PMS colors are given numerical values to identify the specific color. Some PMS color only differ by a shade orPart of the PMS Color Chart two while some differ drastically. One thing to keep in mind is that when looking at a PMS Color Chart online, your monitor color settings are very likely different than the computer monitor from your printer. If you need to match an exact color with no exceptions, using an official printed Pantone color guide is the only way to ensure an exact match. However, for most printed items, you will get close enough from viewing an online color chart. On the right, you will see an example of part of the PMS color chart to show you an example of the different color shades from one PMS color to the next.

Below is the link to the whole PMS color chart to download in a .PDF form for reference.

PMS Color Chart

Please note that all PMS colors can’t necessarily be printed on all promotional products and remember there will likely be a little difference in the color shade from one computer monitor to the next. For most screen printed items, there are predetermined stock PMS colors used which are already mixed and ready to use form printing. Mixing custom PMS colors is a premium service because it does take some time to do; therefore, there an additional PMS Match charge is often assessed to smaller orders.

What NOT To Print On Your Business Cards

 

Business Cards

Business cards are a staple of any business. There are very few people in business who can get away with not having business cards. For the rest of us who need business cards, it is very important to have a professionally designed business card in order to portray a positive image of our company. There are many “design your cards online” type of websites out there; however, these are almost always amateur looking designs that will make your business look unprofessional. Is it worth saving 20 bucks on your order of business cards in lieu of having a great design? Certainly not! The most important aspect of any marketing piece, including business cards, is the element of design. Over the past few decades of designing and printing business cards, I have seen many business card designs that were absolutely horrible and unprofessional. As a matter of fact, it is getting worse to the point of an epidemic due to the explosion of “Do It Yourself” cheap business card websites. My suggestion is . . . If you are NOT a designer, opt to have a professional designer layout your business cards for you. Your business card is an extension of your business self and it often times presents a first impression of you and your business. Do you want your first impression with new clients to be positive or negative?

Here are 15 Pitfalls to avoid on your Business Cards:

  1. Low resolution images that will print blurry.
  2. Free emails such as Yahoo, MSN, GMail, etc.
  3. Outdated picture of yourself.
  4. Phrase on back of business cards that says, “These cards were printed FREE at www.^!&t@p#!#t.com.
  5. Gramatical Erors (Seriosly, no mispellings) :)
  6. Blank to write in name of salesperson.
  7. Too many different fonts.
  8. Colors with strong contrast such as Green on Red.
  9. Long distance phone number if soliciting local business.
  10. Microsoft looking clipart.
  11. Font size 8 point or smaller.
  12. Too much info.
  13. Cluttered layout.
  14. Thermal printed business cards. Really? That’s so 1980.
  15. Thin card stock. Thicker is better.