Why you need a logo pack
We’re bombarded with countless logos throughout our daily lives. As a designer, I’m even more exposed to it than most.
Unfortunately, I’m rarely given a logo pack when working with a new client. I’m often supplied with an unsuitable logo for a particular piece of work. A common example is when a contact sends a small, low-resolution Jpeg and expects to use it for a print job.
It surprises me that some marketing managers at large companies don’t know why this isn’t appropriate. Did their original designer not produce a full logo pack? Did they not teach their client about the different types of logo or are they just not interested?
I’ve contributed to many branding projects. Whether starting from scratch or refreshing an existing visual identity, I’ve always created a logo pack. They aren’t the reserve of large corporates, everyone with a logo should have a logo pack.
A pack should include all the major file types and colour spaces required for the most common print and digital applications.
But having a pack and knowing how and why to use it are two different things. It’s down to the designer to educate their client on why it’s important, and that’s why I’ve created this blog post.
Below is a brief overview of what’s included in a logo pack and why it’s important:
Your logo pack includes all the file types and colour spaces that you will need in the majority of instances.
It might look a bit daunting at first glance but don’t worry. I’ll explain what all the different names mean and what they are for:
There are three main colour spaces: RGB, CMYK and Pantone.
RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue and all colours on a screen come from a mix of these three. If you need to use your logo on screen, a website for example, use the RGB version of the logo.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black). This relates to printing, where every colour comes from a combination of these four inks. That’s why it’s often referred to as a ‘four-colour print job’.
If you’re sending something to print, the CMYK version is usually the best choice, with one caveat.
Every printer will produce slight differences in the CMYK colours. It won’t be drastic but might be noticeable.
Pantone is an alternative printing system that uses pre-mixed inks. Each coloured ink has a code (e.g., Pantone 3272). This means that no matter which printer you go to, you will always get the same colour. This is how Coke gets the same red everywhere.
Pantone inks are great for jobs that only need one or two colours. You can also add Pantone inks to a CMYK print job but it does add cost. It’s useful if you’re adding special colours like metallics or neons that you can’t replicate in CMYK.
The main thing to remember is: RGB for screen, CMYK for printing. If you’re printing a two-colour job or you want exact colours use Pantone.
You might find that you need a black or a white version of your logo and these are included in the pack as well.
There are two main ways you can create an image, called raster and vector.
Raster images are a bit like a pointillist painting made up of pixels. Digital photos use raster because it allows for a smooth transition between millions of colours.
Both Jpeg and Png files are raster. Png includes transparency while Jpeg has to have a white background.
The problem with raster is size; when you enlarge a raster image, it goes fuzzy. You will have seen this if you’ve ever tried to print an image from the internet.
Your logo pack includes quite big files so you shouldn’t run into too many problems. When you do need to go large, the solution is vector:
Vector files use mathematical points, connected by lines, to make shapes. Filling these shapes with colour gives you an image.
Because each shape comes from mathematical points, you can scale them without losing definition. This makes them perfect for logos and just like Png; they don’t need a white background.
Eps files are vector. The drawback of Eps files is that you usually need special software to open and edit them. Don’t worry though, most designers and printers can use Eps files.
The main things to remember are: Jpeg and Png are easy to use but you can’t enlarge them. Eps is more flexible but less accessible. Png and Eps don’t need a white background.
Putting it all together
There are quite a few combinations of file types and colour spaces which is why the logo pack is so big.
For instance, if you wanted to order a new sign above your office your printer may want a CMYK Eps.
If you were putting together a piece of printed literature, your designer might use a CMYK Jpeg.
If you were creating a new website, your web designer might ask for an RGB Png.
90% of the time your designer or printer will tell you which version they need. You could also give them the whole pack but it’s useful to know why the different formats exist and how to use them.
I hope that gives you enough information. If you have any questions about any of the above, drop me an email or leave a comment below.