To print or not to print - Logos

April 05, 2019

As names are to a person, logos are to a company. They are everything - their identity and their brand. Larger businesses will spend thousands in research, design, testing and re-testing to make sure they get it right. Therefore, we have the responsibility to treat our customers' logos with the respect they deserve. Demonstrating your understanding of this will get you off to a good start in your business relationship and show your professionalism.

Here are some rules as well as comments on how to handle them within our Ribbon Print environment:

RULE #1 - Logos can be sized larger or smaller but must always stay in proportion. Within the Design & Print 1.0 program this is accomplished by resizing images only from the corners. Once you import and add a logo to a design, make sure to size it only that way. If accidently you stretch a client logo, delete it and bring it into the design again. A customer is so in tune with his/her logo, even the slightest adjustment will be noticeable.

RULE #2 - Colors in logos are specific and usually based on a PMS number. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a universal color code system that allows printers to obtain specific color results. If replicating a logo, these colors must be precise. Unless you are a professional print shop offering 4-color or digital reproduction, it is wise to stay away from trying to duplicate the colors of a logo specifically. We'll talk about what to do about this for Ribbon Printing below.

RULE #3 - Permission must always be requested to use a company's logo. It is not legal to take logos from other people's websites, photos or advertisements and use them without their knowledge and in some cases, written permission. If you want to use a customer's logo, even for a demonstration, let them know what you are doing and that it is for their demo only. Most small businesses will not mind. If you end up doing a formal job for them, you'll want to get a cleaner graphic file from them anyway. Files usable within our program are the standard graphic files most typically available; jpeg, gif, png, tiff, bmp, and exif. So, how does this apply to your ribbon printing projects? Several common questions come up again and again about logos. Let's get to them and discuss how to handle each one.

Fuzzy Print - If your print comes out fuzzy with a logo, it means you don't have a good source file (meaning original file). Either you've taken it off the internet which results in print distortion and/or the file is too small. In either case, your only option is to get a good file. See the file extensions above for a guide on what to ask for from your customer.

Light or No Print - If the logo you are trying to print has colors that are light ... like a baby blue, grey, or beige, they won't print well. Use a graphics program such as photoshop to convert the image into a black and white file (shown in the lead photo of this article). Better yet, ask the customer for one. All companies have several sets of logos. Some have different versions of the same logo, i.e. with tag lines and without, in color and black and white, etc. When you import a file in the Design & Print 1.0 program, there is a bar that allows for levels of adjustment to your image. In some cases this will work to darken logos, but most of the time it's still better to use one of the other options stated above.

Multi Color Logos - Never try to reproduce a customer's logo by using the multi-color method with our ribbon printer. (That should be reserved for graphic printing only - See demo).  There is no way you will retain the spacing and color characteristics of the original logo. You do have creative options however. I have created this logo to use as an example and to demonstrate several printing approaches.    

  • Treat the logo as a single color. You can select one of the colors of their logo or print in a neutral such as black, white or one of the metallics. Here we've printed in matte silver to replicate the grey and used a blue ribbon.
  • Here's another example of black on a red ribbon.
  • Combine a single color printed logo with another color of their logo so you are creating a "play on colors" that relates to their color scheme.
  • Use a basic color such as white as a base and then pull in only one color of the logo.

These variations on a customer's logo are totally acceptable and achievable within the Ribbon Printing capabilities. It is the best way to ensure logo integrity, add color and stay within the branding framework of your customer's cherished logo.

What other creative ways have you worked with logos?

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