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Getting a logo designed? What to ask before hiring a graphic designer.

Before you can move forward with a website for your business there are a few things that you will want to have already in place.  The most important is that you have a logo for your business.  Your logo sets the stage for how your business is perceived.

It’s very common for people to think that their website designer can create a logo for them while they create their website.  This is not at all recommended.

Take it from me, when I first started my company in 2002, I created my own logo.  When it came time for my logo to be printed on a business card, it was not the right file format and resolution so the business cards (all 500 of them!) had a low quality, fuzzy logo.    I ended up hiring a graphic designer to trace my logo and create the necessary file formats that were print ready.

What you need to know is that website designers have very different skill sets than graphic designers and graphic designers are far better qualified to create your business logo.

In the end ALWAYS hire a graphic designer to create your logo and to put together your corporate branding style guide.  That’s what they do best!   Website designers will use the logo and the style guide to create a website that matches your brand.

When interviewing graphic designers here are some questions you will want to ask them.

  1. What electronic file formats will you receive from the graphic designer when the project is complete?

    Ideally, you are looking for EPS, PNG or JPG and maybe PDF. An EPS file is meant for you to give to a printer/graphic designer/website designer and it’s a file format that you probably cannot open on your computer as it requires a special software (i.e. Adobe Illustrator, etc.) to open the file.  An EPS file is usually a high resolution file and the logo from an EPS file can be any size you need it to be.  So it works well when preparing a business card for print to using the logo in a vehicle wrap design.You want to have an EPS file format of your logo.

    When you request an EPS file be sure that you ask for the text to be “converted to outlines”.  The graphic designer will know what you’re asking for.  Basically it’s a technique where the text in the EPS file does not rely on a font file on their computer but is converted to a line art state just like the rest of your logo.  Therefore if you don’t get the font files (see question 4 below) with your design files, the text in your logo will always remain constant.PNG or JPG files ones that you can open on your computer and you can use them for on electronic letterhead, email signatures, etc.  In some cases you will be given a PDF and provided that you have the right software to view PDFs on your computer, you will be able to open this file.  A PDF file can be as high quality as an EPS file.

  2. How many versions of the logo are provided?

    Normally when you’re working on a logo you will be working on one design.  It will most likely favour a horizontal layout (longer rather than tall) or a vertical layout (taller rather long).  I recommend that you have both versions of your logo prepared.  This way if someone asks you for a logo that needs to fit in a specific advertising space you have 2 versions of your logo to choose from.In any case, you will want to have a full colour logo designed.  Depending on how you are going to use your logo you might want to have a black and white version that works on a light background, a reverse logo in full colour that works on a dark background, and a reverse logo in black and white (or shades of those colours) that works on a dark background.

  3. Will you receive a style guide with your logo design that outlines your logo colours and complimentary colours in a variety of colour codes – RGB (Red Green Blue), CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black), and Pantones?

    This style guide is helpful to have because it solidifies your corporate brand.  You would provide this document to anyone that asks for your logo so that that individual knows what parameters they can work within when using your logo.

  4. Will all relevant font files be provided with the logo files so that you have the necessary fonts to use in your electronic documents, signatures, etc.?

These questions should help you find out what the graphic design process is like as well as what you receive in terms of files when the logo design project is complete.  Good luck!

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