This article is focused on what you need to know before ordering a new logo. When you are choosing a new logo design for your business, understanding the consequences of some of your decisions could save you a lot of money later. Your new logo is a critical part of your brand strategy
Agreement With Your Logo Designer
Unfortunately, many logo designers will quote a low price for a new logo, and unsuspecting buyers will set themselves up for a lot of extra charges down the road. Any agreement you make for your new logo has to include at least the following:
- Your company gets exclusive rights to the business logo. Ensure that you get all rights to the new logo, except that the designer is permitted to display it for portfolio purposes. Unless you have this in writing, you do not even own your company logo, since copyright rests with the creator automatically unless otherwise agreed.
- All art in the logo must be original – your designer must not use or modify anyone else’s graphics, or you may not end up owning exclusive rights to your own business logo.
- You get the original, editable design files – whether in Photoshop, Illustrator or another program. This means you’re not tied to the original designer if they ask unreasonable prices for later changes, but can go to anyone who has the appropriate software. It also means that if your designer disappears, you’re not left unable to modify your business logo.
- You get files for all fonts that were used in the new logo design, or at least their names.
- You get the hex codes for all colors used in the new logo, in case you need to match them later. These will be a combination of six letters and/or numbers. For example, white is #FFFFFF.
- Make sure your business logo design works well without color. You may even wish to get a “grayscale” version of your logo graphic – one that is optimized for non-color printing
Why You’ll Need To Change Your New Logo Later
Many logo designers give you a .JPG file, and it seems fine at first. However, as you go to use that file for different purposes, you’ll find that you need it in different sizes, resolutions and formats.
The resolution that you use for print (300 dpi) is different than what you typically see on a website (72 dpi). So, for example, you’ll need a different version of your new logo for your printed letterhead, than the one you use on your website.
Even the shape of the logo may need to change. If your logo is rectangular, you may need a square version for your Facebook page, for example.
You’ll probably need a transparent version of the new logo at some point. This is particularly useful for PowerPoint slides and often for a website – it means the background color of the logo is transparent and lets the color of the background it is placed on show through. Only files in PNG format allow this.
Often, as your business evolves, you may need to change text in your logo. This is particularly true if you include a website name or tagline in the logo. Again, as long as you have the original, editable file from your new logo, this is easy and inexpensive. If you only have a JPG file, it cannot be edited properly to do this.
Edit: Notice our original tagline in the example in this article. If you’re reading New Logo Design Tips on our site, you’ll notice the new tagline above.
In some cases you’ll want to use a simplified version of your logo – perhaps just a non-text graphic, or the logo without the tagline. This often happens when space is limited, such as when you’re printing business cards.
You’ll also want to be able to resize the logo up to a huge size for banners and posters, or down to very small for business cards. Although it usually doesn’t reduce image quality to make the logo smaller, making it larger can drastically reduce its quality and clarity, unless you have the original file.
No, You Can’t Create Your Business Logo In Word
I’ve had a few clients who started off with a logo they created themselves in MS Word. This is a bad idea, apart from esthetic considerations. Any logo you create with Word’s WordArt or Drawing tools can only be displayed at a maximum of 120 dpi. This means that as soon as you try to move it outside of Word for printing (for business cards, for example), your results will be blurry and distorted.
This is just not acceptable in a new business logo. It might work for a quick and dirty business plan if you have exceptional design sense, but you’ll quickly outgrow any logo you create in this way.
Changing Your Business Logo Yourself
I realize you may have software that lets you add text to a JPG, or even convert it to a PNG, but the results often won’t be very good unless you can start with the original design file. If you start from a JPG, it has already been generated from the original file. Each time you change it, another “generation” of quality is lost. Unless you edit the original file, changing the resolution, size or content of your new logo will usually cause a loss of quality. Since your logo is integral to your brand, that’s just not acceptable. If it looks shoddy, so does your business.
Software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements may allow you to edit the original logo file yourself at reasonable cost.
When you own the original, editable file your new logo was created in, as well as the fonts embedded in it, you can be sure that you’ll always be able to produce (or have produced for you) any variation needed, in the best possible quality.
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