Technical logo design suggestions and tips?
July 8, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Technical logo design suggestions and tips?

I'm finalizing a logo in Adobe Illustrator. It's very simple, but I'd like some advice on any technical things that will cause problems down the line.

It's a very simple vector graphic with associated text. Two colors, one from the PANTONE coated library, and black. I intend the logo to be used on a white or light background. I don't include any "background" elements.

Some things I'm not sure about:
What point size should I use for the type? What about the document size itself? This will be scaled up and down as needed, using this original file.

How do I ensure that elements with strokes can be scaled up and down without oddball results? It seems like specifying stroke weights in points means they get fatter as the logo is scaled down, for instance. I'd prefer them to all be relative.

How do I configure the black color properly for printing? Anything else I might be missing that drives you nuts when someone sends you their logo?
posted by odinsdream to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My 2 cents: use whatever point size looks best, and then use the "convert text to outlines" option. This changes what used to be editable text into shapes that are shaped like text. This way, as you scale the logo to the size you need, the text will scale with it. Also, whoever opens the file in Illustrator will not need to have the font you used installed for it to display properly. Of course, the text is no longer editable so do this step last.

A professional graphic designer would optimize the logo for different sizes, but if you are doing it yourself, that is the best way I know of to ensure the proportions remain consistent.
posted by halseyaa at 7:53 PM on July 8, 2012

The strokes should be converted to outlines so they scale properly. Menu Object>Path>Outline Stroke. Then, select Object > Expand. That way, the stroke will become a separate object.
posted by clearlydemon at 8:01 PM on July 8, 2012

Line weights specified in points will scale up and down with the whole graphic when you resize, unless you go out of your way to prevent that (you need to turn off "resize stroke and effects" in the resize dialog). If you can't bear even the possibility of that happening, you can outline the strokes (Object > Path > Outline Stroke), but that is really an edge case. Agree with converting the text to outlines, since you don't know if the recipient will have your fonts.

Black is…black? 100% K? Just plain old process black? I don't think you need to do anything special about that.

Some of your concerns would need to be addressed by putting together a complete identity kit, which would specify clear zones around the logo, acceptable variations, unacceptable variations, that sort of thing.
posted by adamrice at 8:05 PM on July 8, 2012

What about the document size itself?

Do you mean the logo document? You can go to Document Setup > Edit Artboards and drag the margins to make the space around the logo smaller.

You should save the logo as a pdf so that people who don't have Illustrator can use it.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:39 PM on July 8, 2012

Unless you've been told that this is a two-colour print job, I don't recommend leaving the colour as a Pantone spot colour. Imported into a full-colour print layout, a stray Pantone spot can cause havoc because it invokes a fifth plate besides the four CMYK plates. (This is an effect that can be done on purpose, but you need to know you're doing it and why. It's not very common.)

Prepress folks spend a chunk of their time chasing down this kind of thing and changing it to process colour, but they won't necessarily end up giving you the best CMYK recipe equivalent. You should work on that aspect yourself and make the print version of the logo a CMYK .eps version with the best colour mix you can achieve. Many master logos include both a Pantone colour and a CMYK recipe for the colours needed.

(You're perfectly free to generate various versions of the file. If you're comfortable working with the Pantone colour for now, keep doing it and save the .ai file, then use it to generate a file you can send out.)

As for black – no, adamrice, black is not black. Black can be plain CMYK "K" black or it can be any number of "rich black" tones you get by mixing in amounts of the other 3 colours. "Registration" is 100% of all of them, but it just looks black on screen.

In print graphic design, when there are any uncertainties, it's always wise to consult your printer before finalizing the file to send out.
posted by zadcat at 9:36 PM on July 8, 2012

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