Your logo design can provide instant name and product recognition for your business. It’s a very important part of your brand, your marketing and your business strategy. That’s why figuring out what’s truly important in a logo design is so essential to your business growth and prosperity. Today’s guest shares what non-artists need to know about logo design to increase the marketing value of their logo investment.
What You’ll Discover About Logo Design (highlights & transcript):
- How to know if a particular logo design is right for you. [2:43]
- Why knowing how and where your logo will be used is critically important. [3:35]
- The 3 logo design elements you need to know. [5:10]
- How image color and resolution impact your branding. [7:24]
- Why the cut rate logo designs are not always the cheapest branding solution. [17:22]
- The 3 logo design files you should ask for and why you need them. [16:37]
- Tips for selecting a graphic designer. [26:16]
- And much more.
Your logo design can provide instant name recognition and product recognition for your business. It is a very important part of your brand, your marketing and your overall business strategy. That’s why figuring out what’s truly important in a logo design is so essential to your business success. And if you’re not sure what to look for, you’re going to love my next guest. She’s a talented graphic designer who explains what non-artists need to know about logo design.
This is Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner giving you the inside scoop on how to ignite more business success by doing the right things in the right way.
Welcome to Business Confidential Now. I’m your host, Hanna Hasl-Kelchner. And I am delighted to welcome a gifted artist and graphics designer to the show today to talk about logo design. She’s Miss Abby Greene, the founder of Abby graphics. She has a bachelor of arts from the American University in Washington, DC, and a gazillion years of experience in design. Having worked as a paste-up artist at a full-service advertising agency and assistant art director at a financial advertising agency and a senior director at a very large retail advertising agency. Her work has been featured on all types of media, including billboards and TV. She also taught advanced design at Seton Hall University before starting her own successful graphic design company, Abby-Graphics, nearly 30 years ago. She now designs a wide range of products that go well beyond logos, including business cards and stationary promotional brochures and flyers, corporate reports, catalogs, social media banners, eBooks, web, and a whole lot more. So let’s get this party started. Welcome to Business Confidential Now, Abby,
Thank you, Hanna. It’s my pleasure to be here.
Well, it’s great to have you here, you know, but before we dive in, I think it’s only fair to let our listeners know that you and I have done some work together. You’ve done some design work, including the logo and artwork for this podcast. So if listeners were to go to your website, Abby-Graphics.com and browse your online portfolio, they might well recognize an item or two. And of course, what that means for our interview is that it might be a little bit more casual than usual. So, you know, let’s start with the basics. How does somebody know if a particular logo is right for them and their business? What makes a good logo, Abby?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD LOGO?
What makes a good logo? There are two levels on that. There’s the technical aspect of creating it, but most important, I always say someone has to love their logo. If there, it’s really in your gut, you have to know that it represents what you, the message you want to give to your clients or customers. And that you’re very proud to hand your business card to somebody and know it’s a feeling I think. And that’s how, you know,
Alright, but gut, feel, you got to know that you love it, that you like it, but let’s talk about the process. How does somebody convey what they are going to like or what they’re after in a logo, when it may be difficult to articulate? I mean, what is the process like? Where do you start with someone who says, Hey, Abby, I need a logo.
Well, first things first, I need some information and I have very specific questions and answers information that I would need to start creating logos because I’d like to educate myself about what the business is about, what their mission is. They have a mission statement. So basically I have what’s called the Abby-Graphics logo questionnaire, and that consists of about six or seven questions. For instance, I’ll ask a quick explanation about what their business is or what products are selling or services, how their company name, how the exact spelling of their company name is to appear on the logo. If there’s a tagline, because it’s important to know if I need to add a little extra space, you know, for that tagline, because proportions are very important. Also have to have any color preferences, any specific graphics you might want to incorporate. And then also most important is how the logo is going to be used, whether it’s going to be used for print material on their website, both because that’s very important when it comes to the end product and for me to supply them with the correct files for the correct use.
Okay. All right. So you get this information and then, what happens between the information and files actually being transferred?
Oh, once they fill out the questionnaire I discussed over the phone with them, if there’s a little bit of research I need to do, I will go online and look at their company website. I will look into as much detail as I can, so that I’m basically starting from a point of knowledge because I really want my logo or their logo to say something. So I have a kind of what I call the proven logo method. It’s kind of like ordering on a menu. I’ve broken them down into design rounds, round one consists of three to four concepts. And which then basically we review the three elements of a logo, which is the symbol, the font and the color, you know, logo one. I love the color and logo two. And I loved the symbol and logo three. Well guess what happens in round two?
I take all those factors that they have things they like and I’m kind of re . . . I mashed them up into one new logo design. I may present more than one logo, you know, in round two, it doesn’t go right down to the final logo. They might want to see different variations. And the beauty of working on the computer is that I can just with the click of a mouse or whatever, I can change a color. I can change a font. So it’s a very quick process. And basically logo designs can go anywhere from one to, I’ve got as much as seven rounds. I think my average is about three rounds and we wound up with the final logo and it’s just a matter of, I really want my customer to be really, really happy with what they see. I don’t want them to settle. So if it means extra rounds, I do it. One important factor is, is that I, I found that I do not charge by the hour for logo. I do fixed. So they don’t have to worry about how many rounds we’re going to wind up with, but you know, in the end I want my customer to be happy and I actually, I want to be happy. And I always say, I never, present a logo I don’t like, and that’s basically it, it’s a proven, I call it the proven Abby logo method.
IMPORTANCE OF IMAGE FILE RESOLUTION
We got your own branding in there to touché well, I want to come back to something that you mentioned a minute ago about the files. What is it about the files that, that people need? I mean, you know, typically you get a JPEG isn’t that enough?
Never enough. And it’s very important to that. One question I asked about how will your logo be used is very, very critical. There are two criteria there’s color. And then there’s resolution. There’s also really when with resolution comes with its type also can refer to the type of file. So for example, anything on the internet resolution wise is 72 DPI. That may mean nothing to somebody. However, if you want to have your logo printed on a piece of paper, it better be 300 DPI. So people always wonder I just printed my logo. It looks like it’s, you know, it’s, it’s all made of big fat dots. What happened to my logo? Well that’s cause they, they have one logo file that was low resolution for the internet only. So it’s very important that I supply my customers with various types of files and in different color formulas, it can get very technical.
I won’t go into too much, you know, a technical aspect of this because usually people start falling asleep. But when I do give the final logo files over, I also supply my clients with a fact sheet to know what they’re getting. So typically you’re going to get a JPEG. Well, there’s also something called an EPS file, which is a vector image. JPEGs are made up of little tiny dots and EPS files do not have a dot pattern. So that really helps get a nice, crisp, clean look on, say a billboard or even on the side of a building. It doesn’t really matter. You can resize it without any degradation, all the image. You can’t do that with a JPEG JPEGs or dots. You’re going to end up with giant dots. So it’s very important to me that I supply everyone. My, you know, my customers with the correct files for both print and web correct resolution.
IMPORTANCE OF IMAGE FILE COLOR CODING
And at the same time also print and screen viewing are two different animals as well. I don’t know if anybody’s ever printed their logo, printed something off the internet and it, and it was a, red logo or red square. And when you printed it, it looked like it was maroon that’s because your printer and your screen talk two different languages and it gets say, it gets lost in the translation. So I will create logos that are also for printing and also for web use so that if you’re sitting at your computer and you’re showing somebody your website and you pull out your brochure, so color on your brochure looks as close as possible to the color on the screen. I hope that didn’t get too technical.
If I can translate that. It sounds like we need two sets of files. One that you can use on your computer for your website and for any type of online presentations, you know, if you’re doing PowerPoints or something like that. And then another set that would be for print so that you can have consistent professional looking branding as far as the colors between
It’s all, it’s all about. I’m sorry. It’s all about consistency and branding. The screen, when you’re looking at light, that’s the screen it’s RGB. I’m sure everybody’s heard RGB before. It’s red, green, and blue. Those are the only three colors that create the zillion colors. And it’s hard to believe. How do you create colors with light? Well, that’s just the nature of the, of the beast. It’s a screen it’s like old TV sets that used to have the three different color guns, which was, now I’m really aging myself here, red, green, and blue. Now for print, you’re talking about physical ink. Think about buckets of paint and you’ve got blue, or actually see M Y K C being the blue or cyan M being magenta, Y being yellow and K being believing, not K stands for black. And all those colors are combined and in different in percentages to create color. If you want an orange, you’re going to take a certain percent of the magenta and a certain percent of the yellow, and you’re going to get orange. And it’s the physical laying down of ink on a piece of paper where the screen is made up of beams of color that come together to create color.
And of course the pixels, the resolution, which we’re probably most familiar with our high definition TV, the more dots, the sharper, the crisper, the image.
Exactly, exactly. It was interesting to me though, on the, on the websites, you, you can’t consider anything on a website. Most screens of a regular computer screen can only really handle 72 DPI. You don’t really realize that, but that’s all you really need for, for screen viewing. The question is if the native file is done beautifully and sharp, and even as an EPS file and then made into a JPEG or PNG, you’re going to have the best image possible on the internet.
WHY YOU NEED EPS FILES
Okay. So 72 DPI dots per inch is probably also loads faster on a website when people are so concerned about speed. So we want our website files and we want our print files. And a lot of people probably haven’t heard about EPS. Why would somebody need an EPS file who uses those kinds of files? Because we typically don’t on our computer. You know, the average computer users, like what is an EPS ?
And they will not be able to open it without the proper program as well. So I will always send, you know, a PDF or a JPEG, well, this is what the EPS exactly the same thing to answer your question, it’s become a pretty much an industry standard, for things like novelty items, like if you’re going to embroider a hat or you’re going to print t-shirts, any, even now with print you’re, if you’re going to have a logo on a brochure, it’s really the best thing to have that native file. The original file to have been created as a vector versus, you know, a raster image, which is a JPEG or a PNG. So, you know, basically the EPS, no matter what, whether you print it on the head of a pin or the side of a built a building, you’re not going to lose any image quality whatsoever on that side of the building, because it is not made up of dots. You’re going to need it. You’re going to need to have it, you know, as a raster image at some point, but start off with the best image possible. And then I am able in a program like Photoshop to then convert all these files to the right file for the right use. And they’re all labeled and folders and everything easy to find. All right. So just, just to summarize the types of files, you want a fairly low-resolution JPEG kind of file for your online website use, you probably want a higher resolution JPEG for certain print, and you want an EPS file for like, kind of all-purpose for merchandising things that sound right.
Yes. A novelty company t-shirt company will always ask you have a vector file. And that wasn’t always industry standard. I would say 10 years ago, it wasn’t maybe 15 years ago it was industry standard, but now that’s what they want is more technical stuff about it. To throw another very important, um, a very important factor about, about files. Is there something else which is usually more suited to the internet? There’s something called I had mentioned before a P N G file, which is, it’s just like a JPEG, it’s a raster file. But if you ever noticed, when you, when you go ahead and place your JPEG on your website, and you’ve got a color background, you get a white square around your image. JPEG backgrounds are always going to be white, no matter what a PNG is going to have a transparent background. And that way if you’ve got a band on your website of color across the top, and you want to put your logo and have the band of color show through. Then you need a PNG. Because it’s a transparent background. I get so excited about this stuff. But anyway,
I hear that. Okay. So, we also alphabet soup here. We got JPEG, which a lot of people are familiar with PNGs, which are clear backgrounds, which is really helpful. And then of course, these EPS files that are also called vector files. So that’s kind of used interchangeably and that’s real helpful for merchandise.
Yes. And you can always, rasterize a vector file. It’s kind of like going out and buying I’m going buying a Lexus instead of a Plymouth cricket. Nobody knows what a Plymouth Cricket is, but anyways, my first car anyway, um, it’s, it’s a difference is you can just buy the best you can and then you can then change it as you need it.
CHEAP LOGOS – PROS AND CONS
You can always go lower, right? If you need to, as far as resolution and sizing, okay, you’ve got the flexibility and speaking of pricing, because I know especially startups and entrepreneurs that are starting their business, they’re very price sensitive and rightly so because they have limited resources, limited budget. And you know, not too long ago, I was talking to someone about logos – they had previously worked at a very, very large consumer product company. And they spent thousands of dollars on logo work. He was in marketing. And so he was so excited to discover these online logo services that provide, you know, really very inexpensive type logos. What’s been your experience with these types of services, pros, cons, what can you tell us about them? What do we need to know about them?
I will tell you that I have redone at least three or four lately. People that have ordered these logos online, there are some very talented artists that do this work, but the problem with the online services, yes, it is, maybe you’ll spend $99 on a logo, but you’re going to get one file. And after hearing all the spiel, I just went through, about all different types of files and color formulas, you can imagine how, you know, how limited you are in using that logo. It’s not a one size fits all situation when it comes to a logo. So that’s what I find. The only pros I can see in the online logo service, you need something in a hurry, you’re strictly an online company, and you’re really not going to have a lot of options for, like I say, with my different rounds of design, you’re going to get one or two designs maybe, maybe we’ll just get one. And they’ll say, basically take it or leave it. Do you like it? You can pay for it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay for it. But you still, in the end, wind up with one logo that is not usable in all circumstances, in all ways you need to use it.
So the, the type of files is really one of the things people would need to ask about if they pursue one of these online options that are, I’ll call them cut rate for lack of a better, a better word, which is nothing wrong with them, but you need to understand what you’re getting for the money and what you’re not getting that you might need at a later date so that you don’t mix it up and are spending extra time. And then being disappointed with the result, because you’re using a 72 DPI, a low-resolution JPEG, and you’re trying to print t-shirts and it’s not going to work.
It will never work. The printer will say many times don’t you have a vector file on this logo and they’ll go, what’s a vector file. And then they’ll have to call me that’s, you know, that’s what happens. And the thing is a lot of people are on a shoestring budget when starting a new company, they just have to, and it does often come down to you, get what you pay for. It doesn’t mean that, that I charge a gazillion dollars either for a logo. I, things are so streamlined. You know, we’ve come so far from the days of paste-up. And the day I used to hand render stuff. I used to work in agencies where we used to pull all-nighters in the building because we had a presentation for the client the next morning. So things are very streamlined and things are very quick now. And if you now had to manipulate these images, you can get the best possible outcome for your, for your client. And they’re going to be really happy and love it.
HOW COMPUTERS CHANGED GRAPHIC DESIGN PROCESS
Well, that’s what we want. We all want logos a to really like present a tremendous image to our particular customers and clients that we want to be able to reach and to represent us that we can be proud of to say, yes, this is my logo. Here it is. And we want to put it on as many things to have our brand identity out there. So it’s a very important part of our marketing. Now you mentioned paste-up, this is probably very foreign to people who, grew up with computers. I mean, you entered the graphic design industry at a time, unique time of tremendous transition and evolution from hand drawn artwork that was now being automated to some extent and replaced by computers, which we now all take for granted. Could you give us a little insight on how it can impact the final product? Did anything get lost in the process?
If anything, it was more the process being more embellished by the fact that I think, I think my creativity stems out of the fact that I started out basically drawing stuff. From the time I was in second grade I knew I want to be an artist when I grew up and I was going to go into art education. And then I got the bug in college, my roommate was a design major. I said, design major? What’s, you know, what are you going to do? Well, number one, when I happened to be in college at the time they weren’t hiring a lot of teachers and I said, you know what, I could do this. And so basically I really feel that my ability was designing logos, not to brag, but I feel I’m far more creative than say somebody who started off directly on a computer and was trained on a computer because I’m not satisfied with what I see on the screen.
I’ll move things around. I’ll tighten up line spacing. I will do the weirdest stuff sometimes only based upon, you know, what I learned as a paste-up artist. And then what I also learned, you know, just doing even design projects during school, which you know, I had a great experience too. When I was in college before computers, I had a fantastic internship. Is it OK, if I tell you about that? Now I had a fantastic internship, which I think made me realize that the real world is not this cushy student, isn’t my drawing board. There were, I had to have a drawing. I had a drawing board, both my roommate, and I had two drawing boards smashed in our little dorm room, but that’s not what the real world was like. We could, I could take as much time as I want to, to finish our project.
INTERNSHIP THAT SHAPED A CAREER
Well, I got a fantastic venture internship at the time. It was Metro media TV, which is now Fox, but they had in Washington, DC, they had a very good station. I worked in the art department and one of the, and they basically treated the interns like we were employees, which they did with interns usually anyway, but in this case, I got to do stuff that I don’t think people would normally do in an internship. We had to create 10 o’clock news graphics within an hour. We had to create the media. We had a cut of paper, paste them on a board, run downstairs, have a photographer make 35 millimeter slides out of them. And at 10 o’clock, they were being projected behind the anchor on chroma key. And it was, to me, it was the speed of the process. I couldn’t take my time. And that kind of gave you the training then to go from there.
When I graduated college, I went right to a job at an ad agency in which you were expected to produce and produce fast. And in that time, be very creative and be able to do everything by hand. And that’s what this internship just kind of gave me an intro to real life. And it was invaluable. Everything I learned. I worked actually with a lot of TV personalities that have made their name in the business now, but, it was a crazy wonderful time for me. And there were no computers. And I think that going back to, you know, me on the computer now, it does help me create things that really kind of pushed the envelope a little bit sometimes, and I have a distinct style I do. And a lot of times people will see my work and “I want exactly that logo there,” about how you did that one, that’s the style that I love. So I’ve developed a certain style and you know, I like to loosen up a bit and I try, to me it’s like art therapy and I just enjoy what I do. And the biggest reward is really having a satisfied customer for me. Boy that really went across the years.
We hit the time machine and time travel well, I think you’ve put a finger on something very important. As people are trying to connect with graphic artists, that they look at their portfolio of work and that they see if there is variety, or if things all look pretty similar and are kind of generic because you want business to stand out, you’re putting a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your product, your service in building something. And so you don’t want to look like the other guy that just has a name change on the bottom of a bunch of circles or something. You want it to really stand out and be unique. So I think looking at somebody’s portfolio is really helpful to get a sense of what their work looks like. Is it, is it light? Is it airy? Is it flowy? Is it a very angular and severe looking at very steep contrast? Or are there a lot of gradations? So, I mean, all those things can, I think, influence somebody and how they choose a graphic designer as opposed to just looking at price and “oh yeah, I mean, what’s the difference.” There are big differences. You just have to be willing to recognize that and be open to it.
Well, you definitely came upon something very, very important. Cause you’re, I mentioned that my, you can see, I have a certain style with logos and the way I work with fonts and things, but I, I think it’s more of a perseverance on my part. I love it when I get a client that says to me, you know, I want this and they know what they want and what they’re describing to me may not necessarily work graphically, but I take everything into consideration and I create their logo. Perfect example is I recently did a logo for a takeout restaurant. It’s a bakery and sandwich shop and we sat down the first day because they happen to be local. I actually met with him, which is unusual too. And he said, here’s what I want. I want a cake. I want a sandwich.
I want to look delicious. Well, I can’t do that by creating a very geometric sharp angled logo. I had to get down, I had to reach back into my illustrator skills and I had to create something that was line art and it was food. And I hadn’t done that in a while, but to me it was really a great process to go through because I was able to focus on what he wanted and come up with a good logo and basically give him a few, a few choices. But yes, sometimes logos in the color, in the shapes. I mean, I look at stuff and I see geometrics. I see circles and I see squares, I see triangles, but they don’t always apply for a certain type of logo. So I got to keep that in consideration. I’ve got a, you know, sometimes do things, a little looser and a little lighter. I did a fashion show a few years ago. It was this beautiful, airy little butterfly and you’re right. You’ve got to have a lot of variety because nobody wants their logos to look alike. And that’s what, you know, that’s the essence of branding is to stand out and be consistent.
There you go. That’s it. In a nutshell, Abby, thank you so much for giving us a crash course in logo design, and especially for educating us about the information we need to get from our logo designers so that we make sure we have consistent professional branding and the files necessary to achieve that. Thanks so much.
You’re very welcome. My pleasure. It was great talking with you.
That’s our show for today. Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest, you can go to our website at BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. It’s got a lot of other powerful information and resources available to help your business grow. So be sure to check that out. The website again is BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. I’m Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, and you’ve been listening to Business Confidential Now.
Have a great rest of the day and even better tomorrow.
Guest: Abby Greene
Abby Greene is a gifted artist and graphics designer and the Founder of Abby Graphics. She has a Bachelor of Arts from The American University in Washington, DC and a gazillion years of experience in design, having worked as a paste-up artist at a full -service advertising agency, an Assistant Art Director at a financial advertising agency, and a Senior Designer at a very large retail advertising.
Her work has been featured on every type of advertising media you could imagine, even billboards and TV. She also taught advanced design at Seton Hall University before starting her own successful graphic design company, Abby Graphics nearly 30 years ago.
She now designs a wide range of products that go well beyond logos, including business cards and letterhead, promotional brochures and flyers, corporate reports, catalogues, social media banners, e-books, web art, and much more.
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