Is your logo ready for the printers? Transferring your business logo from the screen to a printed version is a great way to enhance your brand recognition, but it’s more complicated than you think. Since your logo is a direct reflection of the company, it’s very important that your logo be designed and perfected for the print medium. Here are a few important considerations when preparing your logo for print.
Make sure this is the final version of the logo you want to print. Consider the purpose of your logo, where it will be printed, the size, the colors – everything. Having to re-print a batch of business cards or posters because the logo was slightly off not only creates a bunch of paper waste, but also hurts the company wallet.
If you are working with a professional printer, you should talk to them about what formats they prefer to receive. Generally, PDF files (both vector and raster) are accepted and are of good-enough quality. Vector graphics are comprised of points, lines and curves that are all mathematically generated. They can be scaled from the size of a business card to the size of a billboard without losing any of the image quality or detail.
Raster graphics, on the other hand, should only be printer at 300 dpi. A 3” x 3” logo is equivalent to a 900px x 900px image, but if you stretch it to 6” x 6”x, the pixels double to 1800px x 1800px. Now your computer has to guess what to do with the 3,150,000 blank space created from the 6” x 6” image. This is done using a specific algorithm, but the image will still become blurry and lose detail as it’s stretched larger.
It’s also good to know what fonts your printer has on their machines. Whenever possible, you should embed fonts or create outlines of the text. Not doing so may lead to delays or ending up with the wrong prints.
Images for web are usually 72 dpi (dots per inch), which is standard for screen resolution. However, your logo resolution should be a minimum of 300 dpi for the actual print. Most commercial printers print at 300 dpi, though if yours can go higher it is a good rule of thumb to use the highest resolution possible.
Printing in low resolution will result in blurry images which will impress no one. However, if it is a vector file, you shouldn’t have much of a problem as long as it was saved properly.
You need to use CMYK color format to create a logo. CMYK is designed specifically for accurate professional printing, unlike the RGB color format which is better suited for the web and on-screen publishing. Most printers use CMYK ink or toner cartridges to print your images and logos – converting from RGB to CMYK can cause the colors to become muted and washed out.
It is better to use true black (100K black) for small text to help keep it clean and crisp, and dark charcoal or grey shades for larger areas of black.
After checking everything, you should run some test prints. It may cost a little extra, but test prints allow you to see it as a tangible thing and then change any last minute details before sending a large order to the printers.