Monthly Archives: March 2013

March 2013

This month, we’ll return to our roots and focus on Graphic Design, namely logo design.

A logo is one of the first branding pieces we recommend for startups and growing businesses.  Many startup companies on limited budgets attempt to develop their own small business logo. However, the importance of a professional image can not be stressed enough – especially when you are a new company on the scene.

For those who decide to tackle a DIY logo design or those who already have a logo but want to be sure it is going to serve them well in all purposes, this edition of Connectivity will help you get started.

Small Business Branding Begins with A Dynamic Logo Design

10 Tips for Creating Your DIY Business Logo Design

For some people, putting together a logo for their small business is easy. Anyone with a computer and software can do it. Someone actually told me he built a logo in Microsoft Excel, I wouldn’t recommend it but he knew the program and it’s what he decided to use.

Keep in mind, though, that there is a difference between a logo designed by a professional and one made by a first-timer.

Click here to learn how to avoid looking like a first-time logo designer.


Where Will You Use Your Business Logo?

Woldumar Nature Center Anniversary LogoReproducing Your Small Business Logo

Whether you created your own logo or worked with a graphic design firm, it is best to have files in each color format. From start-up businesses to non-profit associations, all companies and organizations have a variety of marketing and communication pieces they need to produce.

Read more on the blog…


How Are You Staying Connected?

Introducing Connection Group Service Packages

Connection Group has grouped the most popular branding and marketing elements into affordable packages to clearly communicate the value of your products and services. Starting at just $550.00!

Project Spotlight Service PackagesMonthly Promotion for April 2013 is 10% off Full color banners

10 Tips – DIY Small Business Logo Design

For some people, putting together a DIY small business logo design is easy. Anyone with a computer and software can do it. Can you believe a person built a logo in Microsoft Excel?

It’s often too easy to distinguish a professional logo design from a DIY small business logo design. These tips can save you grace, time, and money.

charlie's-bar-and-grill-logos1. Color Can Cost You

Remember that your digital logo is in RGB. For professional printing purposes, you will need it converted to the CMYK color ink model. For specialty advertising, promotional products, labels, etc., you’ll get a better price if you use spot or pantone (PMS) colors instead of 4-color process printing. Save money and time by making sure you have all formats in place before ordering printing, creating displays, etc. Learn more about the color models in our recent blog post: DIY Graphic Design – Reproducing Your Small Business Logo Design and DIY Design: How to Choose Colors for Your Small Business Logo and Brand.

2. Can You See Me Know?

Your screen is right in front of you and possibly blown up 1000 percent larger than an actual business card. Make sure your logo is legible when it is reduced to fit clearly on a business card. Print at 100% to check legibility.

3. Consider Old Eyes

Depending on who your small business is marketing to, you’ll want to remember that as the population gets older, eyes can’ distinguish certain colors on top of similar colors. Make sure to balance and contrast colors especially when you are placing color on color.

4. Match Your Font Personalities

wirth-and-fedewa-construction-logo-designNow that you are a designer, it is no longer ‘type.’ Instead, we are sculpting with fonts. My first caution is to please not treat them like they are shoes. ‘The more, the merrier’ doesn’t apply to fonts. We must limit ourselves. Too many styles will appear erratic.

Choose a font that is legible from a distance. This doesn’t mean it has to be simple or boring. A stylish font that communicates clearly establishes a  brand.

Which style feels right for your business? A flowing script, or a vintage schoolhouse font for a bridal shop logo? Solid bold sans serif, or edgy and grungy for a manufacturing firm logo? Choose what fits and keep it clean.

5. Logo Size Matters

Your computer screen is 72 dots per inch (DPI). To reproduce a logo that is clean and crisp when printed professionally, your logo needs to be at least 300 dpi. As a guide for business card, brochure or pocket folder printing, your logo file should be 300 dpi by a minimum of 4” tall. Don’t worry about the width as long as it is equal or larger than 4”. For small business exhibit design and other sign designs including vehicle graphics, I say go as big as you can with your logo file – vehicle wraps cover a lot of area, you want your logo to be crisp and clean even at 8” if it is called to.

6. Use Effects with Caution

Be careful with effects that overwhelm your font or graphics. Effects often use shadowing that may distort your business logo when printed or when it is enlarged on a screen that’s bigger than the original. Don’t let your small business logo look as though it’s from a horror film. Unless it is a horror film.

7. No Stealing!

OMGosh get your hands out of the Google images cookie jar! I know everything looks so good in there but you just can’t have it.

Fortunately, there are plenty of clip art resources and stock photos sites available. You probably have some installed with your software. Don’t get crazy and use the same stick person image from Microsoft Office that millions have used in their logos since the 90s’. Be unique, how can you change a stock graphic to make it your own?

There are free resources for stock images online and some with fees that have limits on use. Read use terms carefully. Be careful and respectful,  and follow online copyright law.

original cartoon illustration logo8. Eye-Catching Original Graphics

Using graphics in a small business logo design is a great way to help your logo design stand out. If your artist  (wife, kid, guy you met at church…) draws a logo graphic for you, the bigger the original, the better. When you scan the logo into your computer, scan it at 100%. If it is a digital illustration the original should be saved at a high resoluton from it’s native application.

An original illustration of a house for a custom home builders logo that is only 1” wide will not reproduce well once it is blown up to fit the side of a vehicle. A small original may also limit how much color can be added. Be sure the style suits the message you want to Not a DIY small business logo design but a logo for Custom Home Builder logo designportray for your small business.

9. Admit When You Need Help

If you find you are spending every weekend for a month researching and designing and restarting to design a logo for your small business, stop.  Think about the value you place on your time as a busy small business owner. Instead, put in a few hours doing what you are skilled at and take the money you made to pay a professional.

10. Honest Feedback

Most important of all, get feedback on your design. Share ideas with your family, friends, people who know nothing about your business and people who know you and that you respect.

Please don’t ask a professional graphic designer for an opinion on your DIY small business logo design unless you are ready to hear the truth. I love it when I can say, it works; good balance and choice of colors, etc. When there are issues… and  you already told me your daughter designed it for you… I’m in a bad spot.  The designer in me knows it’s my job to create strong brand identities. The human says, I can’t squash a kid or a parent’s dream. Prepare yourself to hear the professional truth, maybe don’t have your daughter in the meeting!

Start your DIY small business logo design

All the best on your business endeavor and enjoy creating your DIY small business logo design and honing brand message!

DIY Graphic Design – Reproducing Your Small Business Logo Design

small-business-logo-design-by-connection-graphicsWhether you created your small business logo design or you worked with a graphic design firm, have logo files in each color format. From start-up businesses to non-profit associations, all companies and organizations have a variety of marketing and communication pieces to produce. Each format has specific color requirements.

If you’re printing business cards, you will need your logo in CMYK and/or a standard spot or PMS color. If you’re logo is for your a website, make sure it is in RGB. If you will be ordering shipping labels or printing in t-shirts, etc., you will probably want to provide a black only logo or a spot color logo to save cost. Refer to our recent blog entry on DIY Design-How to Choose Color for Your Small Business Logo Design.

Some software has limits to saving a logo in specified color formats. Graphic designers use software such as the graphic design industry standard, Adobe® Creative Suite. A large variety of color libraries are preinstalled in professional design and editing programs, including Pantone color books.

For desktop publishing software such as Microsoft Office Suite, the options may be limited to the format you save the file in. Save your small business logo as an eps file in Word . In the ‘Save as’ dialog box, you can choose CMYK or RGB, etc. At this writing, Microsoft Office Suite programs did not have the capability to create Pantone® spot colors.

Reproducing your small business logo design

Let your printer know your goals when you send your small business logo to print. When getting bids for printing, get prices for spot color and full color. Compare which best fits your budget.

If you  choose the less expensive option of spot color, include your logo in spot color. If you have chosen a Pantone® color, there may be an up-charge for custom Pantone® inks. If your small business logo isn’t spot color, tell your printer that your logo is in RGB or CMYK.  The printer can quote charges for converting your logo. It’s much better to have all the color formats in place ahead of time. Additional design and set-up fees, along with delayed delivery may result.

DIY Design: How to Choose Colors for Your Small Business Logo and Brand

Whether you’re considering an elegant palette of Tiffany blue and black for your small business logo, or a more buttoned-up navy blue, consider the following factors when choosing colors for your logo and brand identity.

Accepted Color Formats for DIY Small Business Logo Design

red-green-blue-graphicThe graphic design industry uses various color formats that facilitate consistency across the industry. Even as a DIYer, some knowledge of the most commonly used formats will come in handy.

RGB
Your computer monitor, just like television screens, is made up of three colors: red, green and blue (RGB). Digital items, logos, websites, Powerpoint presentations and even some printed signs and trade show exhibit displays use the RGB model.

cyan-magenta-yellow and black graphic (CMYK)


CMYK

Items that are produced on an offset print press use the cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) model. Each color requires a specific plate to produce a realistic effect on paper, so that your photo maintains a realistic impression ‘like you are really there’ impression.

Spot Color 
spot color graphicItems that are printed using the silkscreen method and one-two color offset presses use specific ink colors. Many specialty advertising printers, silk screen printers, vehicle lettering, and short run offset printers offer a standard spot color palette. These are the standard rainbow of colors similar to a 12 piece Crayola® box with maybe a few more thrown in. You can choose navy blue, yellow, white, red, etc. and they are named the same way we learned them in kindergarten.

 

spot-color-graphicPantone Color Matching System®
Another option for spot color is the Pantone Matching System (PMS). PMS is the graphic design industry standard for ensuring the color of your small business logo will be the same in each printed item you order, every time. Even when you purchase items at different years, from different print resources, you will still maintain a consistent color for your brand.
Pantone® has thousands of colors to choose from for your small business logo. The colors are categorized and named with 3 or 4 digit numbers. (Connection Group logo uses PMS 873 Pantone Metallic Gold). If you want to go even further with using your brand color, Pantone offers wall paint and fabric swatches in your brand color too. Specifying a Pantone® color may be slightly more expensive than choosing a standard color. However, using Pantone colors for business cards or one to two color print pieces is often less expensive than full color printing. Plus, it will help establish your brand color.