To See or Not to See?
Let's talk about logos...the bane of our Director Of Post-Production's (Aaron) existence. There are a lot of things to do when you start a business: Come up with a name; get a website; social media; and get a logo. We've seen logos of all kinds created by people of all kinds. Some are detailed and intricate, some are simple and elegant. But this isn't an article on what a logo means...it's how it's supposed to be delivered. File Type When you're living in a digital realm there are two types of pictures: Raster and Vector. Raster Images are what you're most familiar with. They have file types like JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PDF, and a few others. Then you have Vector Images, they have file types like EPS, AI, SVG, and PDF (this one is a mutant...we'll get to it later). When you take a picture on your phone or a camera that is a Raster Image. It consists of a certain amount of pixels each with a color code. The more pixels, the clearer the image, and the bigger it gets. If you take a picture with a small amount of pixels and try to make it larger, the image gets blurry. A Vector Image is based on points, curves, lines, and math. The best part of this, is that the bigger the picture gets, it still can remain clear and crisp. Here's an example of both types of images using our logo:
Now which one looks better? Obviously the one on the right, right? ...er...correct? The logo on the left is a raster image that was small that we enlarged. As you can see it's blurry and hard to read. The image on the right is the same image, originally the same size, that was saved as a Vector rather than a Raster file. Portable Document Format (PDF)
Remember when I said PDFs could be either? It's true. PDFs have one foot on either side of that fence. It all depends on how it was saved. Vectors are professional level files and therefore need certain programs to read them. PDFs can have Vector Files embedded inside them so they are easily read on a computer without needed professional level software. Then again, you can take a Raster Image and save it as a PDF as well...so it depends on how it was saved. Resolution Another key item to consider is not only the file type of the file...but the resolution, especially when it coincides with a Raster Image. When building your website, your web designer will most likely convert your Vector Logo to the correct resolution then convert it to a PNG file (which is a raster image). This makes the file small and universally read amongst web browsers. Now, on average, logos on websites or social media can range anywhere from 300x300 to 600x600, but rarely bigger. When we work on TV we work anywhere from 1920x1080 to 3840x2160...that's possibly 10x bigger than the logo on your website.
One thing that Vector Files can also do is embed fonts. What that does is that any text that is used in your logo remains editable. The only catch is that sometimes fonts are linked...not embedded. So, what that means is that when I open your logo up to put in our video...I get an error message that says "FontXYZ" cannot be found.
Now your logo isn't going to look right because I don't have the right font installed on my system. Sometimes I can find it online for free with a little luck, but sometimes your designer may need to purchase a special font for you. Or maybe you had a custom font designed just for you. So when you send us your logo, make sure to include any fonts that you used as well.
Color, Hue, and Shade
Another vital piece of your business identity is your color scheme. No matter how small a degree of blue your logo is, you want to maintain that color in all your advertising. We have four colors that coincide with our logo. One color is an off-white, and three others are shades of blue. When someone is using our logo for advertisement, shirt printing, swag production, or any number of things we send them our colors.
As you can see above, not only do we have an example of the color, you have the hex code which is a numeral equivalent of a hue and shade, which cannot be altered by lower-quality resolutions. If you don't have specific colors for your company, then I advise you get some. If you do have some, make sure you can send them out with your vector logo and fonts!
So let's put all we've learned together:
1. Get a Vector Logo for your business
2. Make sure you have copies of your companies fonts
3. Make sure you have the correct colors for your company
It sure would be nice to put all of this info down in one central document that you can send out, wouldn't it? Time to create a Style Guide!
So here is our company Style Guide. As you can see it has the way our official logo should appear and how much space around the logo there should be; there are variations that the logo can appear; there are our official colors with CMYK (for print), RGB (for web and video); and hex code; then there are all the fonts that should be associated with our brand...all in one nice and tidy spot. Now I can send the logo and this guide and my graphics guy has all the information he needs. Or, if I create this document in a vector program; I can embed my logo and fonts and this is the only thing I need to send.
Clean, simple, and efficient!
tl;dr - When doing any advertising, always send your people vector logo (not a raster!); your fonts; your colors; and a style guide if you have it!