A logo must not only look good, it must also be usable

Jean Gougeon – 14 May 2015

Pragmatism and design go hand in hand when creating a logo because your logo must not only look good, it must be usable in any situation, from embroidery on a golf shirt to displayed on a highway billboard. Small intricate details will often disappear when printed small, so broad lines and negative space are essential to ensure the ink will not clog up during printing.

Scalability and versatility

Your logo must be created in a Vectorial format as opposed to Rasterized (pixels), this will ensure scalability. See the image below, the “S” on the right is a vector logo and can literally be enlarged to fit the side of a truck or building. The logo one on the left is rasterized, much like you find on a website and cannot be enlarged or you get what is called aliasing or stepping.

A well thought out logo design is simple and is designed to print anywhere on any medium using various printing methods such as silkscreening on a golf ball or pen to hot foil stamped or embossed on a business card to embroidered on a uniform.

Flat colours without gradients should be the direction used from the get go, gradients are hard to reproduce in some instances and will divert away from your brands consistency. The amount of colours can vary but usually 2 colours are used as a rule of thumb but should be limited to three or your design will look like an all-dressed pizza.

Trends we see today involve overlapping transparent shapes that limit the logos application in the same way gradients do in that some methods of production will be challenging.

Spot colour vs 4 colour process

Your logo should always be planned from the start using a spot colour system such as Pantone, even if you know that your marketing tools, like business cards, letterhead and brochures, will be printed on a 4 colour digital copier or offset press.

A spot colour is much like a coat of paint on your wall, it is premixed, flat, opaque and goes on evenly when printed correctly. 4 colour process on the other hand, is a combination of percentages of 4 colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) that are mixed together and can only be seen with a magnifying glass. It is much easier to convert your spot colour logo to 4 colour process than the reverse.

The image below shows a yellow colour in both spot and 4 colour process. You’ll notice that process colour on the right is a combination of magenta and yellow, whereas the left swatch is a solid opaque colour. Now notice the same image (B) reduced to a size that plays a trick on our vision and blends the process colours to the point that the two swatches look identical or almost.

This is the magic of 4 colour process, you can simulate any spot colour but you cannot easily match a spot colour from a 4 colour printed piece. There are a staggering 16.7 million colour combinations using the 4 basic colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).

The easiest conversion for your logo is to RGB used in any device or computer that has a screen. The colour spectrum of RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is larger than the 4 colour spectrum so converting your logo to RGB colour will be faithful.

Keep it simple, original and memorable

Your logo is often your first contact point with new potential customers. It can be seen for the first time in a magazine ad, on a product packaging or simply handing out a business card.

Make sure to leave a positive lasting impression with a professionally created logo that represents you and your business in the best possible way.

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