Episode #48:

Preparing and Packaging Logo Files – Michael Bruny-Groth

Preparing logo files

Do you spend a lot of time creating logo files? Are you unsure which formats to send to a client? Do you properly prepare logo files to prevent potential issues? Find out that and how to add value to your work by following these best practices from me and guest Michael Bruny-Groth from The Logo Package.


Show Notes


Michael Bruny-GrothMichael Bruny-Groth found his passion for graphic design by accident when he was in high school. He signed up for a film class but was put into a design class instead. After getting a BFA in Graphic Design from Western Michigan University, he moved to Chicago without a single job prospect or friend in the city. He worked for agencies for four years and then as a freelancer for two years.

After one of his major contracts had to shut down, he decided to try making a product for passive income. He studied design blogs looking for a problem to solve that overlapped with his areas of expertise. Logo Package Express was born from that research, and now the product is his primary source of income.

Michael can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Colleen Gratzer: Welcome to the podcast, Michael. It’s great to have you here.

Michael Bruny-Groth: Thanks for inviting me, Colleen.

Colleen: Now, it’s so funny that you signed up for film and got put into design class because it reminds me of when I spoke to a what I call “mis-guidance” counselor in high school and she told me that I had to take French in order to study design in college. I was already taking Spanish and I loved it. So I added French. But she was 100% wrong. Plus, my favorite artists were Miró and Dalí. So that’s funny you had a similar thing happen.

Michael: Yeah, it’s strange the how the advice that people give you sometimes ends up impacting where you end up in life.

I went on a field trip in high school, and we ended up making little short films. I said, Okay, great. This is what I want to check out, this class in high school. When the summer came, and my buddy and I that both signed up for the same class were comparing our schedules, I had this design for digital media class, and he had this film class… Something’s wrong.

But the high school class that I ended up taking taught me how to use Photoshop and Flash, which, back in the day, was Macromedia. It wasn’t even owned by Adobe® yet.

Colleen: I remember those days.

Michael: Yeah. I think it was like Photoshop 3 or something… And digital photography.

I started making little fan fantastical photo collages as you do when you have a camera and Photoshop. Then I took the advanced class. I won some awards in little teen film festivals and those sorts of things and said, hmm, how do I use this thing that I like to do to make money? The answer was graphic design. So that started the whole journey.

Colleen: And then you got into logos somehow.

Michael: Yeah, I mean, I think everybody who does graphic design ends up doing a logo at some point, unless you’re just really specifically interested in maybe calligraphy or type design or something like that. But yeah, I think that’s kind of a common thread throughout all designers is they’re going to work on a logo at some point.

I ended up at a branding agency as my second agency job. So we did a lot of logo work, as well as the strategy behind branding and the stationery systems and identities and all that sort of stuff.

Colleen: Well, I think the worst part about logo design is actually having to make all those files in the different formats, and the different colors and coated versus encoded, like that’s the stuff that I don’t like doing at the end.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t know many people who do. But that was certainly a big component of that first job, that branding job. I was always in charge of making the logo packages. So I would spend an hour, hour and a half—

Colleen: At least.

Michael: …manually saving out every version of the logo, breaking it up, if it had a mark and logo type and stuff like that, I’d have to separate that out as well. The different color conversions…

You get fast at it. Then you’ve got to go back and double check all the file names, open everything up, make sure all the swatches are gone, or you know, however you present your files. Super big headache and total pain in the butt, for sure.

Colleen: Right. And then if you notice that there’s a problem if you go back to your original file, and then you have to redo everything all over again.

Michael: Yes, certainly. Let’s say most people are working in Illustrator, there’s problems where you try to save something from Illustrator as a raster file, like a JPEG or a PNG. All of a sudden the corners are getting cropped, or the rounded letters are getting cropped off. So then it’s like, Okay, I guess I have to open up Photoshop to export these JPEGs and PNGs. And that adds a whole ’nother piece of software to the mix. It’s totally migraine inducing.

File Formats and Their Uses

Colleen: Right! Well, let’s talk about the file formats and their uses.

Michael: Sure, yeah. There are a lot of different ways to think about who needs what files and what the files are good for. When providing a package to a client, I like to think about, well, who are these files for first. If it’s for the client, they have certain needs. But if it’s going to be to a web developer or a print vendor… All of those different people need different files.

If you’re giving your client a good logo package, you’re going to make sure that it’s not only the files that they need, but the files they’re going to need to give to other people. If it’s for the client, I think everybody can use a PDF. You can place it into most other programs as vector artwork, you can e-mail it to anybody, anybody can open it up, it’s pretty universal.

Then typically, clients are mainly concerned about their websites, or their social media, or their e-mail footer, or whatever, and JPEGs and PNGS, which are raster files versus vector files (those raster files are typically something they really need).

And a design file is ok too, especially if they’re sending it to a printer, something like an Adobe Illustrator file, or if you work in Affinity or something else, that native design file is good.

That’s what the clients use most often.

A designer will most often use a PDF again, because it’s pretty universal, and that native design file.

Colleen: Sure.

Michael: You’re not really interested in the JPEG or the PNG because chances are, they are going to need to use the logo in a context where they can scale it up or down. So that native file is going to be good for them.

Developers, in the same way that clients are concerned about their website or social media, are working on web or on apps, and they need those JPEGs and PNGs as well.

But, additionally, there’s another vector format that you can use on the web, which is called SVG. That’s a scalable vector graphic. It basically is just the math that will generate all the shapes. So it’s infinitely scalable as well. Its popularity has risen recently on the web.

And then a vendor…. somebody who prints your banner stands or who does embroidery on a t-shirt or something like that… Again, a PDF is pretty universal, or say, a format I haven’t mentioned yet, which is EPS. That stands for encapsulated PostScript. But what that actually means, you might want to look up. Essentially, it can store vector information as well. It’s an older file format. A lot of people don’t need it or request it or make it anymore. But you will go to a print vendor every once in a while and they say, Oh, we we need that an EPS because of whatever outdated system they’re using.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: So that’s kind of like an intro to what the different file types are, as far as each of their specific merits and stuff like that. That’s kind of how I think about making a package: who all is going to need to use this and then what types of files do they need.

Colleen: Right. So for vectors, we’ve got PDF, EPS and SVG. Then the raster ones that are pixel based: JPEG and PNG. So we’ve got vectors and raster-based images.

Michael: Yeah, that’s correct. If you make a package with those file formats, you’re going to be covered. Then of course, they have their specific uses, like there’s a difference between when you’d want a JPEG and a PNG.

Each different file type, let’s say, you’re talking about a PDF. If you’ve made vector artwork inside of a design software, like Illustrator, PDF is going to maintain that information and be something that everybody can open up and look at and use, which is great, because you can’t send an Illustrator file to somebody who doesn’t have Illustrator and have them be able to see it.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: An Illustrator file is going to be something you can open up in the software and edit. So you’d really only want designers to use that. That’s what the native design file would be. I’m talking about all the vectors first. So then SVG, as I said earlier, is the vector format for the web, and then an EPS can have raster information or vector information. But its only use really is that typically print vendors on older systems will want something like that.

Vectors, of course, basically, are just mathematical information. So that can be multiplied or made smaller. Basically, the shape can be scaled up without losing crispness or resolution. When you have a raster or a bitmap file—sometimes bitmap confuses people, because there’s actually a file type called a bitmap…

But bitmap or raster. What that is is a specific number of pixels for the exact size that the image is. So if it’s 300 pixels wide that’s 300 pixels. If you suddenly want to scale this up to be 1200 pixels, well, now it’s got four times more pixels, that whatever program that’s rendering the file is going to have to just take its best guess at what those should be. It ends up making something that’s really blurry and not very good looking. That’s why you don’t use raster images for things where you need to scale them up and down a lot.

Colleen: And the vectors are so much smaller in size too. I love that the SVGs on the web are smaller, and load time is an issue on the web. But I also like that SVGs negate the need for having to create a second bigger Retina image, the images that are going to be seen on the Retina devices.

Michael: Right.

Colleen: Because their resolution is only dependent on the monitor, so you don’t have to make all these different versions.

Michael: Right, right. There’s Retina, there’s 4K, there’s 5K. These are all, of course, resolutions for screens that people are looking at.

Yeah. If you don’t want to have to make a file that is twice as big and three times as big and four times as big, so that when it’s on a screen that has so much resolution, it’s still looks crisp, yeah, SVG’s totally the way to go and it’s a much smaller file because it’s just containing a little bit of math that describes what the shape is, whereas JPEGs and PNGs—somebody who’s a little more expert on this might have more knowledge—but I think it simply has to keep track of what color is each pixel across how many pixels are in this file. It’s still a small file compared to a design file. But, yeah, raster images will be bigger than SVGs, typically.

So the different types of raster images, the JPEG and the PNG, I think most people know, but JPEGs, there’s some jargon about lossless compression. If you save a JPEG over and over and over again, it’s going to degrade in quality every time. But who does that? Who saves the same JPEG 12 times over itself.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: Not really an issue. But the primary difference between JPEGs and PNGs is that in JPEGs all of the pixels in the image have to contain color. If you just have a logo, then everything that is around the logo that’s empty space is going to be white on a JPEG.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: If you put a JPEG over a blue background, it’s gonna have white, whereas a PNG can support transparency, which means that if you save the logo, any space that is not filled by the logo artwork can be seen through and therefore if you put that on a blue background, there won’t be any white surrounding your artwork.

Colleen: Well, the other thing too is, with PNGs, I like those better because they always represent solid colors and lines much better than JPEGs. Sometimes you save a JPEG of a logo when it looks a little bit blurry but clients still always request a JPEG. They’re never asking for PNGs, it seems. They’re always asking for a JPEG but JPEG is a really better for photos and gradations of color.

Michael: Yeah, I could be wrong on this, but I think the JPEG was invented first sort of as like—

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: …the first really popular way to put an image online. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just so common that it’s just what people know.

Colleen: Yeah, exactly.

Michael: But yeah, PNGs are definitely more versatile, but they can be larger size than JPEGs. Sometimes I think that’s another reason why people request JPEGs over PNGs. But on anything that’s going to accept an image online, JPEG and PNG are both going to be something that you or your clients can upload with no problem. They’re universally accepted on the web.

I guess there’s only one more thing to say about the different file types—that some of these file types are specifically meant to be printed out.

Colleen: Right.

Color Types and Color Modes

Michael: The others are specifically meant to be on the web. Of course, we talked a lot about what file formats you would use on the web. But if you’re printing something, it’s important that these files—and I guess this does go right into color, so this is perfect. If you’re printing something, it needs to be in a color gamut that matches what the printer is going to output.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: That is typically going to be CMYK, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Those would be the four different colors that are combined to make all of the colors that you’re going to see when something’s printed out.

Or you would want those files to be in Pantone color. There are other solid inks, but most people know Pantone. Pantone is just a solid ink that’s premixed. It’s the same everywhere you go to have something printed, so it could be green or neon yellow or red or whatever. But whatever pigments they used to create that ink are premixed and applied in a solid layer, as opposed to combining and building up different layers of cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

But those colors are those color gamuts are not information that can be stored inside of, say, a PNG.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: So you’ll never want to send a PNG to your printer to have them print it, because the colors are not going to come out the same. JPEG, which we said was a web format can be saved with the CMYK. format. But there are better file formats to provide for printing.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: Those would be the native design file, which you can determine in the settings what color mode there in: RGB, which is the web gamut, or CMYK. PDFs you can also save out in either format, and EPS files. Those are the three—the native design file, PDF, EPS—that you’d want to use for printing, because they can be saved in the appropriate color gamut.

For digital, SVG, which cannot be saved with a print color gamut, PNG and then JPEG, which, as I said, you can do both for [print and web]. But it’s better to just use it for the web because of the scaling issues that it has.

So yeah, that’s the division of file formats between print and digital.

Colleen: And then we’ve got the coated and the uncoated versions.

Michael: For Pantone, yeah. So I guess just to recap, the color gamuts that you’re typically going to see are either CMYK, which is for four-color printing process. Then RGB, which is red, green, and blue, which will be for web because that’s using light to create the colors instead of ink. Then you have Pantone, which, as I said before, is a solid ink mixture that gets applied in a single layer.

As you mentioned, Colleen, that has two different “types,” I guess would be how I would explain it.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: It’s for their four different print substrates, different mediums that you’re going to print on. There is Pantone coated and there’s Pantone uncoated. Pantone coated is meant to be printed on a coated substrate like a glossy, shiny paper, whereas uncoated is meant to be printed on a matte, dull finish paper.

Colleen: Like newsprint or a paper that you would regularly use in your printer.

Michael: Yeah, sure. Printing paper, which, you’re not going to print Pantone colors out of your desktop printer.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: But, yeah, that same feel and look of paper.

You determine what Pantone color you’re using. It’s sorted by a numeric, an alphanumeric system, kind of. So Pantone 166 is a certain color and Pantone 372 is a totally different color. It’s based on that numeric system and you can find the same number in both coated and uncoated. So Pantone 160… I wish I could remember like a specific—

Colleen: Oh, I can give you a specific one because I was going to go into this as an example: 123 for coated is not the same as 123 uncoated. They look totally different. It goes from yellow to orange.

Michael: That’s a great example where the numbers will match across the system across the two—uncoated and coated. Typically they’re in the same family if one’s green—

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: … and the other one’s green. You gave an example where it’s a drastic proof of your point that they’re different. That goes from yellow to orange.

What most designers do is when they’re choosing a Pantone color, they usually—and this is a generalization—but they usually go to coated first because—

Colleen: Right.

Michael: … not because they’re more likely to print on a coated paper but just because the colors that you get, generally, inside of the coated spectrum of colors are brighter, more vibrant. Then when you go to uncoated they’re duller, and that’s just kind of because things that are printed on glossy are more vibrant, and things that are printed on matte tend to be duller. The light just doesn’t reflect off them the same way.

Colleen: Yeah, they soak into the paper more on the uncoated.

Michael: Yeah, so what people will do is they’ll just go to coated, they’ll say, “I want this yellow.” What did you say it was? Pantone 116 or something?

Colleen: 123 on coated and then it would be 116 on uncoated to get a match.

Michael: Right. So what a typical designer would do, they would go and they’d look at that Pantone 123 they’d say, ”Oh, that’s a nice yellow,” and then they would just kind of either assume that the uncoated should be Pantone 123 as well.

Colleen: Exactly.

Michael: In a less drastic case, they will notice a difference. But it’s not enough to put in all the extra time to find an even better match on uncoated.

But there’s still a lot of value…

I don’t think if somebody came up to me with both scenarios, excluding the really drastic, bad matchings like the yellow to orange you’re talking about…If they said, “You know what. I don’t really think it’s worth it to put in the time and effort to find an exact match between coated and uncoated. They’re close enough.” I’d say, “That’s cool.” Then if somebody came up to me and said, “I want to put in the extra effort to make sure these colors are exactly the same,” I’d say, “That’s great too.”

But your example illustrates the point that you should check it out because they are going to be different. Sometimes they’re drastically different. It may be worth it for you to put in that extra time to find a good match between both Pantone uncoated Pantone coated and the CMYK color that you’re printing most of your print jobs with.

Colleen: I’ve done it for years with the Pantone colors and even the CMYK mixes because the CMYK mixes are going to get darker on uncoated stock. So I look for something that has a little bit less black in it—

Michael: Right.

Colleen: … to make it look more cohesive with the coated version.

Michael: Yeah, yeah. You’re just being a better and better designer to try to accommodate for those different situations.

The only downside is that then you have to be reliant upon your client to really strictly follow all of these… The more rules you make, the harder it is for them to be followed as far as the clients are concerned.

So that’s why I say it’s okay if you look at Pantone coated and uncoated and you choose the same color, just to kind of keep it easy for the client. Okay, just make sure they’re not drastically different.

Colleen: Right. Now, one of my listeners, Diane, had a question about color, and it involves the LAB color mode. She said that her local InDesign leader was rabid about LAB being the base, but never have said how to start choosing colors.

Michael: Yeah. So I can understand that because LAB is not… It doesn’t refer to the ink that is being used, right. If we’re talking about CMYK, then we have to choose how much cyan is in this color, how much magenta is in this color. If you go to Pantone, they’re not using the pigments cyan, magenta, yellow and black to mix up their colors. So it’s not a one-to-one relation between CMYK and Pantone.

Colleen: True.

Michael: It’s the same thing with RGB. It’s red, green, and blue. Okay, well, that doesn’t match cyan, magenta, yellow and black, and it also doesn’t match the ink physical pigment versus the light that they’re using in RGB color mode.

So what LAB does—and also HSB is another way of classifying color—but LAB is taking the lightness of a color, which is going to be universal. Its inherent darkness or lightness is going to be common on red is red. If it’s red on your screen versus red on a flower, it’s got a certain amount of lightness. Then the A and the B just represent where it falls on the scale between red and green, and where it falls on the scale between yellow and blue.

Those things are sort of more universal. So I can understand why a designer or manager of designers would want to start there. Because ideally, if you could find a perfect match between, let’s say, CMYK and Pantone, they would potentially have the same LAB formula.

So that’s fine. But then other people have the theory that, well, our client, basically, all of the work they need is advertising, it’s postcards, its brochures. That’s all stuff that’s going to be printed. So we want to make sure whatever printed color we choose is the best possible color, and let everything else fall where it may.

Or our client is a mobile app, and they’re never going to be print advertising. So we want to make sure that we can use those really vibrant RGB colors and not really worry about if we can match it in print.

Preparing the Logo Files

Colleen: All right, great. So now that we’ve covered formats and color, let’s talk about some other things that we need to do to prepare the logo files.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. These sorts of things are often referred to as production tasks to make sure that your artwork is ready for production. The complexity goes from very simple to extremely complex, depending on where you’re working, what your clients need.

But there are some general things that you can do to make sure your logos are clean and to make sure that they are also going to appear the same way across all of their different uses and contexts.

Color Mode

Michael: I actually have a production checklist that I go through. You want to make sure generally that your design document is in the right color mode. If you’re saving out files that you want people to print, make sure they’re it’s in CMYK, make sure you’ve got the CMYK swatches applied, or Pantone.

If you’re doing your web files, your JPEGs, PNGs, that sort of thing, make sure you’re in RGB.

So that’s a really simple one. Because if you export CMYK colors, and they have to get auto converted into RGB, because you saved out a PNG, it’s going to be a different color than you intended.

Colleen: Yeah.

Appearance of Black

Michael: Another important one is to look at the appearance of black. If you have black in your logo artwork, and you were working in, let’s say, CMYK, and then all of a sudden you switch your color mode over to RGB, the RGB black that is converted from CMYK in a program like Illustrator is going to be duller black than 100% black in CMYK or RGB.

Basically, if you’re in RGB, you want to make sure that your RGB values are 000. Because, like I said, sometimes when you switch color modes, it doesn’t do that conversion for you. Or if you’re in CMYK, you want to make sure that it’s 100% black, or if for some reason, you’re providing a rich black—which is 100% black plus some percentage of the other colors—you just want to make sure that your blacks are correct, because they they do get messed up when translating between document color modes all the time.

Converting Text to Outlines

Michael: Another very, very important thing, as far as consistency across the different contexts of a logo, is almost all logos are going to have type in them some sort of font. You really need to make sure you outline that font.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: Outlining it is simply changing it from the program recognizing it as text that is editable, that you can delete, change to solid shapes. Because when you send that file to the client or you send it to the printer, if they don’t have the font that you used, it’s going to auto replace that text with some other font. Then of course, you’ve totally destroyed the integrity of your logo artwork.

Colleen: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten logos like that.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, it’s really surprising. But you know, people don’t have awesome podcast sometimes that tell them what they should be doing.

So that’s really important, because then the type is a shape. There’s no way to replace that with a different shape. It’s going to be correct.

Colleen: It’s bulletproof.

Effects

Michael: Exactly. The other thing is, if you are using—and I don’t really recommend using effects on your logos, but sometimes it’s called for—you want to make sure that those effects are outlined.

Outlining Strokes

Michael: Definitely, if you’re using strokes around objects or shapes, you’re going to want to outline those strokes, because you’ve chosen a stroke width. It’s 3 pixels, it’s 3 points, whatever. Depending on the person who receives that file, depending on the settings of whatever design program they’re in, if they scale it up, it may stay at 3 points, and then you’ve got something that’s twice as big, and now the stroke is half as thick as it needs to be.

Colleen: True.

Michael: So you want to outline those shapes as well. That’s actually called “expanding” in Adobe Illustrator. You want to expand your strokes, your fills. Those two things, right there are probably the biggest violators of your logo’s integrity, and they’ll cause the most problems.

Again, I said there’s infinite numbers of complexity here. Do you have production checklist things that you often recommend?

Proper Masking

Colleen: Yeah, so one thing I would add to that would be if you’re masking things, you’ve got to use the Pathfinder tool and you’ve got to get rid of where you might be masking something out with white and actually make it an actual, real mask. So you don’t end up with somebody taking that logo and putting it on a dark background and ending up with this big chunk of white in there somewhere.

Michael: Right. Let’s say your logo is a cookie, and you want to have a big bite taken out of that cookie. So you put a couple of white circles over top of the cookie to make it look like there’s a bite.

Colleen: Yes.

Michael: Now somebody puts your logo over blue, and it’s a cookie with a bunch of weird circles over top of it.

Colleen: Right. That’s a great example. Yeah, exactly.

Michael: Right. Yeah, that’s true as well—just making sure your shapes are unified and try to reduce that complexity as much as you can. Certainly a good way to do that is to make sure you don’t have any overlapping shapes that are only for visual effect but don’t actually change the shape of the artwork.

Master Logo File

Colleen: Yeah. And then the other thing I do too is keep an Illustrator version of the logo with the text not converted to outlines. If the client were to ever come back later, and we need to change—

Michael: Yeah.

Colleen: … then I know what font I used. I know what size it was. I know everything about it. I have that and I can always tweak it from there, as opposed to the one that’s already been converted to outlines.

Michael: Right. Yeah, I refer to that as a “master logo file.” I also refer to it as an “evergreen master logo file” because it’s something you can always go back and change.

I would just add… I’m sure this is what you do. But I would add that that sort of file could have a couple of layers in it. The first layer is the text, the text that’s not outlined. Then you make a layer above that. It’s a duplicate of that layer and you simply outline the text on that layer.

Now you know that your text and the outline texts are going to be identical. But you can turn off the text layer, or you can turn off the outline layer, modify your text, and then bring it back to that outline layer and outline it again.

Colleen: That’s a great idea.

Michael: You know, that way, it’s always… You’ve got all the pieces you need. If you need just the outlined artwork, it’s in that file. If you need the text to modify it for some reason, you’ve got that in the file too.

Swatches

Colleen: I delete all unused swatches as well.

Michael: Oh, yeah, yeah. That is probably never going to cause an issue with your printer. But what it does for sure is it makes the file size a lot smaller, because Illustrator will load up 100 200 default swatches and you don’t need that information.

Also, if a designer goes into your file, it’s good for them to know exactly what colors you’re using and not have to guess from a large list.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: But if you did happen to forget that, and you sent the logo off to the printer to be printed, those other swatches aren’t going to be like auto replaced or something the same way that a font would be.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: So it’s definitely a best practice, I think, across the industry to delete your your unused swatches.

With regards to swatches, it’s also good to use global swatches. You can create a swatch out of any color. But if you set the little checkmark check box inside of the swatch settings that says “global color,” that means anywhere that color is applied across the logo, if you update the formula—say you know, I want to add a little more cyan—then it will update across everywhere you’ve used that swatch versus a non-global swatch. If you change the formula of the swatch, then it’s only going to apply to things you apply that swatch to after you’ve made those changes.

Logo Package Express

Colleen: Right. Well, this is so much and, see, this is exactly what I was saying in the beginning—that there’s so much work involved with all of this, this is why I do not like this part of it. Like you said, it’s great to have a checklist for this because there’s so much that you could forget to do. But you actually have a solution that does all of this for you, and I have to say I love it!

Michael: Oh, yes. I mean, thank you. Well, I think it’s the dream that as a designer, okay, I just make my logo. It looks good. Now, something else can do this sort of robot zombie activity that I need to do to create all these files.

I created an extension for Adobe Illustrator called Logo Package Express. I’ll go into detail about what it does specifically.

But even to come up with the idea, you know, I went online, and I looked at design forums and blogs, and I was seeing that a lot of people had these same questions over and over and over again. That’s why it’s a very, very good topic to talk about with people in the design community, because it’s both common knowledge and something that is commonly asked about.

What I found was people didn’t know what file types to give to the clients, and they didn’t know what colors they should be in, and all of the things that we’re talking about.

Colleen: Right.

Michael: And so I decided that if I could, I would try to make something that automated that whole process. That is what Logo Package Express does. With Logo Package Express, if you have the extension—and it is for illustrator only. It’s not for Affinity Designer or Corel Draw.

Colleen: Ugh.

Michael: Well, I’ve gotten lots of requests. There’s the free one, I think Inkscape, maybe. Anyway, it’s only for Illustrator and for CC 2018 and above, but—

Colleen: And Mac and PC.

Michael: Oh yeah, yeah. Mac PC. You can do it on both. The process when you have the extension is that you take your final logo file. It could be the master file we were talking about, or it could be whatever you’ve determined is your final logo file.

You open it up, you make a selection of that artwork. In the extension, you just set it. You say this is the logo I want to work with. It  creates a new document. It brings over your logo artwork exactly as you had designed it, whatever size it was, whatever colors. It generates global swatches out of all of the colors that you’re using, and it automatically outlines all of your text and it converts all of your shapes to solid shape.

So it will expand the strokes and all that stuff. It does that automatically for you. Then you can start to piece apart your logo. Because one thing I guess we didn’t talk about is that often you need to provide your clients with not just the entire logo. But the logo type by itself. Maybe that’s going to go in the footer of their website, and the logo mark—maybe just the sort of graphical portion of your logo, be it an icon and emblem, monogram, whatever, there’s lots of different names… Maybe that’s going to represent their app badge or something like that.

Colleen: Or it can be a favicon on the website.

Michael: Exactly. So you need to break apart those things as well. The next step of using Logo Package Express is you set out the different pieces that you want provided on their own. So you’d select the logo type. You can set that in the extension. This is the logo type, you can select the logo mark and say this is the logo mark.

You can also select the tagline or the slogan, sometimes those are included as well.

Then you can either make the logos that you need for web or you can make the logos that you need for print by using the extension. So you’ll click, say, “Make print logos,” and it’ll automatically break apart all those pieces you chose, and it’ll recombine them in all of the possible combinations they could need. Maybe I do need to the tagline. Maybe I need the logo type with the tagline as well but without the mark.

So you get rows and columns of automatically generated logo variations. Then the extension also automatically recolors all of those logos. So you’ll need an all-white version, sometimes you’ll need an all-black version, sometimes you need a version where, say, the logo mark is in color, but the logo type is white. I’ll call that an “inverted” or a “negative” version of the logo. Then it’ll automatically convert your colors to Pantone coated and Pantone uncoated. It’ll find the best match for both coated and uncoated as we were talking about earlier, because they may be different. It won’t just automatically apply one color to the other.

Colleen: And I tested that out. That’s the first thing I did. I tested that out. I wanted to see if it was going to do it right—and it did.

Michael: Yeah. A lot of times, if you’re a freelancer, you might have one process. If you are a global agency, you might have another process. I didn’t want people to have to use my Pantone colors or the Pantone colors that the extension comes up with.

In some cases, you’re following brand standards, or you’ve already got Pantone colors selected. So you can just change within the settings and say I want to do this manually, and it’ll just give you the artwork, and then you go in and apply your own swatches.

It generates all these variations for you. At this point, we’ve spent maybe 10 seconds in the extension. I mean, it’s going pretty quickly, and then you export those versions. Maybe you don’t need some of the combos we’ve come up with. Maybe you don’t need the inverted or negative version. Maybe you only want to provide Pantone coated for some reason.

So you can go through and delete the artwork because what it’s doing is it’s creating multiple artboards with all these different variations. You can delete the artwork from any of the artboards that you don’t need that variation: I don’t need the tag line by itself, just delete those. Then you hit Export. Automatically what the extension is going to do is it’s going to go through all those artboards, and it’s going to export them as whatever you’ve set up in the settings.

But let’s just say, by default, it’s going to export them as Illustrator files, EPS files, PDF files. Then, of course, you go through and you do the same thing for your web files. It’s going to export the JPEGs, the PNGs and the SVGs. You can set a custom size and resolution for your JPEGs and PNGs, which is not something you can do natively inside of Illustrator.

Illustrator allows you to choose a resolution or it allows you to choose a dimension, like width, say, “I want it to be 300 pixels wide.” But you cannot say, “I want this to be 300 pixels wide, and I want it to be 300 pixels per inch.” But our extension allows you to do that.

Now, another huge time-wasting effect of making a logo package is that you have to name all those files—

Colleen: Right.

Michael: You have to make sure that the naming convention is consistent. Then you have to sort them all into a bunch of folders and make all those folders.

Colleen: Yes. I do that too.

Michael: Right. And that takes a ton of time. But the extension will automatically name all of your files. You get to put in a client prefix. So maybe you code them with letters, an acronym or something, or you put the whole client name, whatever. You choose the location for your logo package, and it will automatically create all of those different folders, and it will automatically name and sort all of your files into all of their appropriate folders.

It does all of this work that would take somebody you know an hour or more to do manually, it does all of it in about three to five minutes. Once you know what you’re doing. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s still only going to take you about 10 minutes. So it’s a huge improvement over the time that you’d be wasting normally.

Also, since it’s automated, you can be doing something else during the time that it’s running, you know, if you absolutely have to cram an extra 3 minutes into your day.

Without going into credibly mind-numbing detail in and of itself, that’s basically how the Logo Package Express extension works.

The extension is $99, but after your 10% discount, it’ll be $89 for listeners of the podcast. Essentially, if you’re sort of a middle-of-the-road freelancer as far as rates go, you’re probably charging at least $50 an hour for your time. And if this process for you making a logo package takes an hour or more, you’re going to make your money back after buying the extension, you’re going to make it back in, you know the first time you’ve used it, or at least the first two times.

Colleen: Absolutely.

Michael: And that’s what a lot of people who have written me talk about: “You’ve saved me so much time and I can actually charge my clients more.”

You can end up with 200+ files, and everything is really sorted easily for the client to understand. They say, “My clients have really enjoyed the package.”

So you can actually charge more for a more premium package as well as not having to spend much time on it. But, yeah, feel free to go and grab 10% off get cruising on making some logo packages.

Get the Deal and Freebies

Colleen: Awesome. That’s so generous. All you have to do to get the discount is go to creative-boost.com/logopackage and use the discount code boost10.

Also check out some of Michael’s freebies and tutorials on YouTube.

Well, thanks for being on the podcast, Michael. It’s been great.

Michael: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I had a lot of fun.

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