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The Logo

What makes a good company logo? Fashionable logos tend to share common details whether this be colours or shapes. A logo needs to be attractive and individual. The more unique the more it will be remembered and recognisable. It should be appropriate to a company's product or service. Logos are used on all kinds of media and it is important that it can be reproduced in a variety of size and format. Included colours should have the ability to be faithfully reproduced.

There are several styles of logo. Text only have little or no graphic part. Company name is the main feature and examples of this are CNN and Virgin. Graphics only represents a company in a meaningful way. These tend to be simple and noticable. A classic example is the Nike swoosh logo.Text and graphic contain both and now forms the most used style. Illustrative logos are complex using a variety of colour and this type of logo does not scale down readily.

When it comes to the colour used within the logo there are two types used professionally. These are the Process Colour System and Spot Colour System.

Process Colour System

This is often referred to as 4 colour printing or CMYK. The process involves mixing four colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) to produce almost any colour. Images are split into four component plates and then combined to produce the final image. It is suited to images that contain a large number of colours. Actual colours may vary between images depending on the inks, paper used and some other factors.

Spot Colour System

Spot colour printing makes use of a specific range of colours. These colours are premixed and can faithfully reproduce colour image to image. There are several spot colour systems however the most common is the Pantone Matching System (PMS). The range is defined by a code and are displayed in swatch books similar to those used in hardware stores to sell colours of paint. The disadvantage to this system is that cost increases with the number of colours to be printed. Spot colour printing is more suitable for images containing fewer than 4 colours.

(If you require a specific colour always use a swatch book as colours may vary when seen on a computer screen) [top]

Logo file formats

There are two different types of logo file format. Vector images and bitmapped images.

Vector images are described mathematically and this allows then to be scaled (and printed) to any size with no loss in resolution. Common examples of these are Encapuslated Postscript - .eps (the industry standard) and Adobe Illustrator - .ai This is a 'source file' and can be used to generate EPS and bitmaps.

Bitmapped images are composed of a grid/individually colour squares(pixels). At an appropriate resolution the grid appears smooth but unlike vector images they cannot be easily rescaled and resizing results in the grid appearing pixellated (jagged). Bitmaps can be found in a range of formats: .gif, .jpg/jpeg, .png, .tiff