- You need a logo for a new business you are setting up.
- Your sports team needs a logo.
- You are getting married and you want a logo for the invitations or seating place-holders.
- Your company's logo needs to be refreshed, revamped, modernized, or recoloured.
- You have a logo, but it's never been the greatest quality (it's a little fuzzy).
- You have a signature event that requires a logo.
- One of your printing partners is requesting your logo in a vector format.
- You have a colour logo, but you need to provide it in black.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, don't worry. It's usually quite fun and interesting to have a logo created or updated. Having it put into various formats is not that hard either. You just need to know who to work with, what to look for, which questions to ask and what you can expect.
What is a logo? A logo is a mark, insignia, symbol or emblem with distinguishing characteristics. Often, it is made up of words and a picture or illustration, but sometimes the words are the picture. Some of the images that come to mind are the Playboy bunny, the Nike swoosh designed in 1971 for $35 USD, McDonald's golden arches, Audi's four inter-connected horizontal rings, Apple's partially-eaten apple, Mercedes Benz's three point star in a circle, World Wildlife Fund's black and white panda, and Starbuck's two-tailed crowned mermaid.
Logo designers usually come in the form of Graphic Designer, Print Designer, Creative Firm or Marketing Company. Prices can vary from seventy-five dollars right up to ten thousand dollars depending on who you hire, the type of clientele they work with and the size of your company, event, team or project. Before you call them to discuss pricing, take a look at their logo portfolio to see what they have developed. If you like their style, contact them. If they get back to you quickly, it's probably a good start to your relationship.
Once you contact a logo designer and agree on the price, you can expect your designer to ask you questions like:
1) What is the name of your company, team or event?
2) What is your tag line, mantra, positioning statement or objective?
3) What does your company, team, or event sell or do?
4) Who are your primary customers?
5) What kind of feeling do you want your logo to create?
6) Do you have any colour preferences?
7) Is there anything symbolic that you would like to make reference to?
8) What is your team, event or company's history?
If your logo is being designed for your wedding, the designer will want to know the colours associated with the big day, where the wedding will be held, how you met each other, the wedding theme and your names. A Western wedding logo (cowboys, horses) would warrant quite a different style than an Eastern wedding (tiger, temple, lamp, lotus) logo.
A logo for a sports team would need to take into account the team name, gender of the team, uniform colours and if there is a mascot or not. It makes sense for The Calgary Flames hockey team logo to have flames coming off the C just based on the name alone, doesn't it?
Here is a logo Lava Marketing recently developed for candy vending machine company NRG Vending Co.:
Once your designer establishes a feel and general direction for your logo, he or she will produce a number of designs for you to look at. It is important to know how many initial designs you can expect and how many rounds of revisions are included when you are negotiating the price. You can usually expect the designs to be emailed to you in a .jpg format which is easy to open. If you are in the same geographic area, some designers or illustrators will sit down to show you them and to see your reaction. If you are working with a long distance designer, email proofs work great.
Sometimes, you'll see a design that works for you right off the bat. Or maybe you like the imagery, but you can't read the wording (font-type). Maybe you like the overall design and the wording, but not the colour. Colours and font styles are quite easy to change unless you want an expensive font that hasn't been budgeted for in the project. A lot of times, logos are designed with free fonts. Sometimes this makes the logo less unique. Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with free font and it fits in nicely with the rest of the design.
If you hate all of the designs that are shown to you, your designer may have to change direction and/or ask you more questions. It's a process of getting to know what you like. Often, it works out well with several versions going back and forth. It is a good idea to have a "kill fee" laid out during the price negotiation process just in case you and the designer simply cannot agree on the design. That way, you can both walk away from the project with you having paid a little bit to learn what you don't like and them making some money for the effort they put in. It happens.
Most of the time, the design process works well and you will receive an excellent logo that portrays your team, event or company with nice visual impact.
Once a design is chosen and the colours are picked, the graphic must be turned into several colours and formats.
Usually full colour, black on white and white on black will be more than enough colour choices to fulfill most marketing requests.
In terms of format, file types including .psd (Adobe Photoshop), .eps (encapsulated post script), .ai (Adobe Illustrator), high resolution .pdf (Adobe), and .tiff or .jpg are all of the file types you will ever need to provide to any number of print or online marketing partners.
What if you have a logo and somebody asks you for a vector file? Vector files come in .cdr (Coral Draw), .ai (Adobe Illustrator) or .eps (Encapsulated post script). If your logo was not created in any of these file types, don't panic. Often, a good designer can recreate your logo into one of these formats. It may cost a couple hundred bucks to have a designer do it for you, but once you have it in that format it will save you time and money in the long run. Because of its scalable nature, vector format will definitely ensure that the integrity of your logo is maintained whether it's on a tiny pin or a large billboard.
Embroidery companies can be the exception. I have come across the occasion where an embroidery company needed a different type of file than any of the types mentioned above. There was nothing I could do to get them the file type they wanted and they charged my client a set up fee to get the logo into their specific file format made for their machines.
What if you already have a logo that you have been using for years, but it's kind of fuzzy when printed or shown on websites? An existing logo can be remade into the file formats I mentioned so that the quality of the logo will be perfect in future print materials. You just need to provide a picture of the logo to your chosen designer.
A good quality logo can make your team, business or event look like a million bucks, so don't be afraid to invest in one. Who knows....maybe someday it will be as well-recognized as McDonald's golden arches, The Calgary Flames' flaming C or Nike's Just Do It swoosh.
Thanks for reading.
Courtenay Pitcher, Logo developer