Printability is Key in a Good Logo

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I have been involved in the design world and the printing industry for more than 20 years. I owned a small graphic design firm, and now own a promotional products company. I've been responsible for printing thousands of logos on countless different products. There are many important elements to consider when designing a logo -- such as colors, style and your target audience. But too often, designers fail to consider one of the most important elements of a good logo -- printability.

1 - Layout
When designing a logo, consider creating a horizontal and a vertical version of your logo. If your logo is tall, it will not print well on a pen. And if it's too wide, it will never print well on a stress ball. By creating two versions of your logo (with the same basic elements), you open up endless possibilities for utilization of your logo. You may be surprised at how often you utilize your secondary layout of your company logo.

2 - Color vs Black & White
Every logo needs to look good if it's printed in one color. Convert your logo to black. Does it still look good? Full color logos may be beautiful on your website, but are not always practical for printing. What happens when you put it on your fax cover sheet? What about in a B&W ad in the phone book?

3 - Size
There will be times where you'll need to print your logo small. Is your logo still readable if it's only 1" wide? Smaller? Print your logo at various sizes and make sure that it's still readable and looks great at every size. This is another reason to create horizontal and vertical versions of your logo. Sometimes one of the two formats may work considerably better at smaller sizes. If your logo is unreadable when it's small, you've got a problem.

4 - Shades
A shade or a screen of a color presents certain challenges when imprinting your logo. Let's say your logo is in blue, and the designer has used several shades of the blue in the logo. Shades are printed by imprinting "dots" and leaving some of the background between the dots. The darker the shade, the more dense the printing of the dots. The easiest example is to think of a B&W photo in a newspaper where you can really see the dots. Well what happens if you want to order a blue coffee mug with your logo on it? You'll probably want to print your logo in white. Well then what are you going to do with the screens of blue? I would certainly suggest that you have a version of your logo where only solid colors are utilized, preferably giving yourself an option to print a one color version of your logo without screens.

5 - Simplicity
Complex logos may be "cool", but can often become a printing nightmare. Sometimes a simple logo can be more striking and memorable than a complex logo. And if you create a logo keeping in mind all of the elements we've discussed today, I bet you've already ended up with a logo that's not too complex to print well.

Your logo is important, and is often a first impression with a new client. Sometimes the most important ability for your new logo is printability. Good luck and happy marketing.

 

Lee Eldridge has been involved in marketing for more than 20 years. He's the co-owner of the promotional products company Snap Promotions out of the Kansas City area. As a custom marketing products specialist Eldridge is known as an innovative leader within the promotional products industry. Lee writes for his company's blog as well as Love Promos.

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