Creating a logo for your business is exciting, especially when you’re someone who’s inspired by the blank slate before you. But just as there are many things a business shouldn’t rush into, such as a relationship with a new investor or hiring an employee, you shouldn’t be too quick to finalize your logo either.
You’re probably thinking, “Seriously? It’s just a logo. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
But, it’s not just a logo. It’s an identifier—a visual recognition—of your company and your brand. An effective logo consistently reflects your identity in all forms—digital and print.
While the logo is being designed on screen, it’s easy to imagine how it will look digitally on the company’s website or in an online ad because you can view the logo in RGB (red, green, blue). RGB is the method your computer monitor or device reads color, and it’s a very full color spectrum. However, you must ensure that the logo will not lose its identity when it’s transferred out of its digital capacity—whether that is in print or promotional marketing materials.
Here are tips to ensure your logo remains consistent on both print and digital platforms:
1. Keep colors to a minimum.
It can be tempting to want to add several colors to your logo, but it’s a good rule of thumb to keep colors to a minimum. Think about Walmart’s logo. It uses two colors— medium blue and yellow.
If you plan to pursue promotional marketing, your logo could be printed on a number of promotional items, such as pens, tumblers or beach towels. Most promotional suppliers charge a setup fee for applying a logo to promo items. Suppliers will allow you to print the logo on an item using one of their stock Pantone inks, or they can provide a Pantone match for the colors in your logo. If you choose the latter, there is typically a $40 to $50 fee per color match. If you have multiple colors in your logo that you need to match, those fees can add up quickly.
It’s a good rule of thumb to have a 1-color version and a black-and-white version of your logo as well. These alternative options will come in handy when printing on promo items or when gradient tones cannot be printed.
In addition, the colors in your logo will be important for printed materials, which are typically printed in the CMYK color spectrum—with cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. Digital printing can be less expensive for low quantities, and conventional printing is good for higher quantities and large sizes. If your logo uses Pantone colors, they can be converted to CMYK. However, not all CMYK and PMS matches are truly equivalent. Conventional printing will also allow you to use both CMYK (for photos and graphics) and Pantone colors (for your logo), but that cost will also be higher.
It’s a good idea to choose a coated Pantone number, an uncoated Pantone number, and custom CMYK and RGB builds for each color in your logo to ensure they remain consistent across various platforms, multiple items and/or collateral.
2. Be mindful of small details.
Many logos have small print or tiny artistic details within them, but those small elements do not always print well. Consider if you’re applying your logo to a pen. The imprint area on the pen will be small, usually no taller than an inch, and that’s generous. When your logo is shrunk down to fit into the imprint area, small details can be lost—or worse—they will run together. You certainly don’t want the details in your logo to merge together because the logo would then lose its brand effectiveness.
Keep in mind a logo could shrink down better if it’s printing at 200 DPI (dots per inch) or higher. The lower the DPI, the thicker the dots will be, reducing the clarity of those small details. (See image to the right.)
Now let’s think about apparel—t-shirts, caps, etc. Many companies require employees to wear uniforms, while some companies use apparel for merchandise or promotions.
When decorating apparel with your logo, you usually have the option of screen-printing or embroidering the logo onto the item. If you elect embroidery, most decorators charge for embroidery based on the number of stitches it takes to create the logo. A lot of detail in the logo may increase the stitch count, which would increase the embroidery price. And, just as you risk small logo details getting lost on small promotional items, those details could also become skewed when the machine is trying to stitch them on a piece of clothing.
Before finalizing your logo, shrink it down in size to make sure you’re okay with it. If you must have small details in your logo, consider having a simplified, second version to use when the logo will be small.
Creating a logo for your business is a fun process because you’re able to transfer the identity of your brand into a specific design. However, it’s important to remember that your logo may appear on a variety of items—like t-shirts, business cards, vehicles, markers or digital display ads. In order to ensure your logo remains consistent and identifiable across all items, you must carefully consider each design element of your logo.
Once you finalize the logo, establish graphic standards to provide guidelines for multiple team members and different uses.