Your logo is the face of your brand. How can you ensure your logo is ready for print marketing? After all, how you utilize your emblem online can require different resolutions, colors and sizing than physical advertising.
In a recent survey, consumers ranked Apple as the number one logo followed by McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Nike and Starbucks. People instantly recognize these logos and know the company behind the image. Think about the many places companies such as McDonald’s advertise, including on billboards, newspapers and glossy magazines. Their logos must stand up to the scalability test.
Ensuring your logo is ready for print requires a bit of foresight. Here are the things to keep in mind as you ready your visuals for different uses. Professional printers can also share their specific requirements before you send them your files.
1. Use an SVG
Many printers require scalable vector graphics (SVGs) because you can increase the size without losing clarity. Images saved as portable network graphics (PNG) lose crispness when sized up.
Some printers will ask for a TIFF or other format. However, if you save your logo design as an SVG, you can always convert it into another format without losing resolution.
2. Consider Colors
If you place your logo on a gift card or other specialty items, you might find you have to use different colors than your typical brand palette. For example, one study showed 42% of consumers felt adding foil or textures influences them to buy one gift card over another.
Does your logo look good in a single hue? What about if you add texture? Does the image still pop and offer enough contrast to be clear and memorable to the user?
Use your graphic design program to test different colors, textures and techniques to make sure the design translates well to different mediums.
3. Choose CMYK
Pay attention to the color format of your logo. Web designers often use RGB color format, because it creates a smaller file and is more compatible with internet colors. However, printers often prefer CMYK for truer colors and a wider range of options.
Most programs allow you to convert a design back and forth. It’s best to design in CMYK and then convert to RGB, but if your logo is already designed, you should go ahead and make the minor adjustments you need.
Keep in mind, too, that the way colors look in print can vary from how they look online. Make needed adjustments to ensure consistency so your customers get a familiar face anywhere they encounter your logo.
4. Lose Charcoal
You might love the idea of a softer look to your logo, but straying away from true black can cause fuzzy edges. Remove any charcoal from text and replace it with true black (Hex Code: #0AB0B0B or #000000).
Using only black ensures words on your logo are crisp and readable. Charcoal just doesn’t translate as well in print or larger sizes, so do your best to avoid it.
5. Avoid Lossy Formats
You probably encounter lossy formats such as JPGs all the time. While these files work fine for most social media or website promotions, they are not good for print. They often convert the colors into RGB and they’ll turn out fuzzy when printed.
What is lossy? Lossy is an irreversible compression, so if you don’t save in another format, you may not be able to export as an SVG or higher resolution or CMYK file.
6. Check for Typos
When you’re tweaking your logo for print purposes, you may make a variety of changes, including font types and word arrangement. Make sure you read things over carefully to avoid typos and mistakes.
Print out your design and look at it on paper. Ask for some feedback from family and friends. Hire a professional editor to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
You need extra eyes on the project. Even small issues such as layout can impact the end result of the design and make your logo appear unprofessional at best.
7. Ramp Up Resolution
Your online images are compressed by necessity and the dots per inch (DPI) is likely much lower than what you’ll need for print. The typical website image is under 100 DPI, while a print image should be 300 DPI.
Make sure you save your logo in the highest resolution possible. It’s much easier to reduce and compress an image, and sometimes impossible to go the other direction.
8. Add Bleed and Crop Marks
With printing, you must contend with bleed and crop. For example, an ad in a magazine must be offset so as not to get lost in the fold of the page or fall off the edge. Publishing companies use bleed lines to show where you should leave negative space in your design.
Make sure your logo falls on the inside of the bleed and crop marks. Talk to the printer about the size of the marks and ensure you submit your logo design or ad with a logo in a way that allows for the extra spacing without losing any parts of your image.
9. Pay Attention to Detail
Print marketing requires different skills than online marketing. Make sure you ask whatever questions of the printer you need to fully understand what’s expected. Submit your files in the format requested and always read over any offered proofs to ensure everything looks the way you wish. The finished result will be one you can be proud of.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.