The Six Things Your Logo Should Have

Your logo uses the literal use of the name of the product or company.
The logo must be clearly read stating the name. You’ve probably noticed Microsoft and Coke both have literal names as their logo. Most large companies do. There are some abstract logos that are identified worldwide, however, such as Apple or the Mercedes Benz star. But these firms have huge brand recognition.Abstract shapes do not communicate anything about your company to the market. How many abstract logo shapes do you remember? And do you or anyone else have 10 years to educate people what your abstract logo represents? Most people can only identify a few logos that are abstract, so stick with having your company name legible and clearly read.

Your logo must pass the “black and white” test.
Take your letterhead to the photocopier and make a copy. Is the logo still legible? If not, you have some work to do.Your logo must work in different mediums and at sizes. Will it show up clearly on a fax? Shipping label? Inside a Word document? In a black and white photograph in the newspaper? In a small trade ad or at the bottom of an arts program? If it is printed in black or grey, is it muddy and hard to discern, or clear and distinct?The test of all of these considerations is to have the logo printed in both color and black and white. In each instance there should be no question as to what it says. One strategy is to create separate logos, one for color use and the other for black and white applications. In this way you are assured the logo will communicate in both mediums.

The message here is to make sure your logo is clearly read when printed, duplicated, copied, or emailed in any medium and in any color.

Your logo must pass the size test.
Your logo should be clear and legible when enlarged to 2 feet in width, as well as shrunk to half-an-inch wide.

If it is too busy or complicated it will not communicate anything at a smaller size. It will eventually show up in various sizes (and more often than not, small) in photographs, magazines, brochures, trade ads, emails, online business directories, and business cards. It is important that it is legible in all of these media.

If it is poorly designed or inaccurately rendered all of it’s design flaws will be magnified when enlarged. Pay special attention to item number six below to ensure there are no surprises, especially if your logo will be displayed at tradeshows or on outdoor signage.

Your logo artwork should be flat and sharp.
Avoid drop shadows and color gradients. They look great on a computer screen in the boardroom or in a powerpoint presentation, but will only cause reproduction problems in other media. Printed media such as brochures, advertisements, exhibition booths and outdoor signs may all have different variations of the same color gradients. Drop shadows do not work well at reduced sizes or in black and white, but if necessary use a vector-based sharp edged shadow to ensure clarity.

Your logo colors should be specified by a numbered color system.
Your logo should be printed and reproduced using match colors, where possible. These match colors should be specified in the logo usage and brand documents that you send to suppliers.

Without a color matching system, your logo will be a different shade or hue every time it is reproduced. A color matching system ensures it is reproduced accurately every time, as color systems (such as Pantone) are universally recognized.

Keep in mind that the colors of your logo will alter from computer screen to computer screen. This is because computer screens do not have any color standards to support match colors. Some control can be maintained by specifying RGB colors for logos to be seen on the web or in an email.

The logo file format should be vector.
This file format can be easily resized and applied to different media, and has infinite resolution. That means you won’t see your logo pixilated on your exhibition booth graphics or on outdoor media.

As well, when you send your logo to a supplier, they will be able to use it at any size without distortion. This saves time (and money), as opposed to asking your agency or designers for proper size logos everytime there is a need. – Tim Robertson

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