Can you use my logo in the design? Thank you for asking. Sometimes it takes courage to ask and admit you don’t know, rather than do what I did a few years ago and say, “Just use my logo…” followed by, “What do you mean you can’t use it?!”
Before I worked for a graphics company, I didn’t know a raster from a vector. I did leadership training, consulting, and writing. I proved how little I knew about graphics by designing my own business cards. They were pretty awful, and to make matters worse, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just scan the image for collateral marketing materials. Didn’t they know how to do it? It wasn’t the graphics people who didn’t get it — it was me.
Is the Format Correct?
Existing logos can be used, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it may look unprofessional, which is the last thing you want in representing your business. Vector artwork, which can be enlarged to any size without losing quality, is best. These files are typically in .ai or .eps formats, and should include any specific brand colors, such as those in the Pantone Matching System®, for color matching the final logo output.
Raster, or “bitmap” graphics, are made of pixels and they lose clarity when enlarged, but they can be easier to add certain effects, like drop shadows. Altering logos, however, especially of established brands, is frowned upon. The file types for raster logos are typically high resolution .jpg, .psd, .pdf, or .tiff images. If a scanned image is all that is available, it may be best to have a designer recreate it, which will incur additional art fees.
When submitting your logo to a third party vendor or printer, you can also ask for their Artwork Submission Guidelines. This guide offers directions, and helps avoid potential pitfalls and problems.
How Do the Big Boys Do It?
Many organizations use a brand guideline, or style guide, which offers an overview, variations, fonts, and colors. When utilizing someone else’s logo, it’s best to ask if they have a brand guideline to ensure all rules for an organization’s identity are followed. This is done to maintain the integrity and consistency of the brand.
I advise seeking out graphic design professionals for help — otherwise, you could have images and graphics that hurt your brand (you should have seen my cards), or you might break the rules of an existing brand, which could lead to a total redo. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call at 1-888-544-8051 or send us a message — we’d be happy to “guide” you.