For many, the process of developing just the right logo is an excruciatingly long, careful, and utterly exhausting process ultimately rewarded by achieving a final product that was done well and communicates the correct sentiment. As a result, you are understandably and justifiably annoyed when you send the design out . . . only to find that some third party has made changes that butchered your hard work.
Sometimes, this result can occur because the available space to display the logo does not match the shape . . . so they “help” by disproportionately stretching, cramming, and squeezing the graphic to fit. A similar circumstance can happen with color.
Even more annoying is the situation in which the image is changed because that party happened to like their version better than yours! Fortunately, that last instance is somewhat rare. Most often, you will find that such changes happen as a result of handling errors because the end-user did not know the correct procedure for resizing an image to avoid problems such as disproportionate stretching or loss of resolution. Similarly, color correction errors seem to frequently occur when a palette gets changed from RGB to CMYK (or vice versa) or when the incorrect palette is used for a specific application.
So, What Can You Do?
Do you just accept the fact that your logo will get mishandled very often but philosophically hope that the good that’s done will outweigh the damage?
Do you just stop giving the logo out so the design can’t get messed up, accepting the fact that exposure will be lost even though the frequency of use ultimately determines the recognizability (and success!!) of your branding efforts.
Actually, the best solution – while far from perfect – is quite simple and involves little cost. You create an official logo download site and send that link to any party requesting artwork for a legitimate purpose.
If you read Carole’s article entitled A “Legal-Approved” Free Collection of Social Media Icons, you know that social media sites recognize the value of getting good exposure by sharing logos and have elected to provide a place to obtain a correct version.
Do other big companies do the same?
You bet! For example, McDonald’s has a “Media Assets” link on their corporate web site that provides various logos and iconography. If you are a business working with franchisees, the ability to share the right images and branding elements in an accurate and efficient way becomes especially important.
What’s Involved in Executing this Task?
In the past, Carole and I have been responsible for creating this function and found that we had the most success when supplying a fairly large number of the most commonly requested variations. For example, our logo download page would typically offer:
- 72 dpi low-res versions for on-screen use in RGB and grayscale palettes. (Typically, we’d provide fairly common dimensions that would require minimal size adjustments.)
- 300 dpi high-res versions for printing and imprinting in RGB, CMYK (the most commonly used in the category), and Grayscale color modes.
- Easily scalable, high-res encapsulated postscript (eps) files and portable document files (pdf) would often be provided to satisfy frequent requests for them by vendors.
Aside from that final category, the file types typically used for downloads were either jpg’s or png’s.
By providing these various versions with a brief explanation of the most common usages of each type, we found that the number of instances of mishandling could be significantly reduced as well as the number of requests that had to be addressed by providing files to specific specifications.
Could we have given one very large, high-res variation and counted upon the end-user to make the adjustments required for a particular situation. While theoretically possible, we had bad experiences when relying upon the skill levels of a surprising large number of vendors, and we arrived at this compromise because we had “been burnt.”
Remember, the technology for such a page need not be very sophisticated. If you can create an html page that provides a link to an image file, you can probably create your own download page. (In a separate article in the near future, we plan to provide a template that can be used by you as a guide.)
If you set up your download page to require some kind of registration, you can give yourself the ability to notify users of any changes to your logo/branding down the road and can provide immediate access to updated replacements. Since logo changes are notoriously challenging to accomplish expeditiously, this ability can reduce the amount of time needed to get your logo modifications out and circulating to the right people. Then, you’ll be less likely to find old versions still in use five years later!
As always, we welcome any thoughts or feedback, and we encourage you to comment by using the space provided below.