When it comes to social media, we are being pulled in divergent directions - an effort to reclaim some semblance of privacy and friends you would actually recognize if you we're sitting next to them on the bus vs. the social-media marketed need to be connected to more and more people. From a personal standpoint, I have to say that I know more about people I barely know than I do about some of my oldest friends. Some pullback would not be a bad idea. To businesses - particularly small businesses that are not marketing companies - my message is different. Get in the game.
Entries in marketing (4)
Acronyms and technology are barrier islands between most of us and the tools we need to use and understand to promote, manage and run our businesses.
So, here are some basics to help you communicate in the language of the designer.
- Icons. An icon is a small image that represents something else. Ideally, it should be very clear so there is no guesswork on the part of the viewer about what they are looking at. Icons - like the ubiquitous man/woman bathroom signs - may be used to overcome language barriers and appear in all manner of sizes. In the online/digital word, icons are often much smaller and designed to be a call to action. When you see an envelope symbol, you just know that is the link to use to send an email.
- Favicons. A variation on the icon theme designed for today's social media marketplace. These are 16X16 pixel images that represent a company or an individual online. Favicons are used on websites (the image that appears in the browser tab alongside the name of the site), on Twitter/Facebook and other sites and in situations where it's not possible to run your full logo. A favicon can be a reduced version of your logo or a specially designed alternative version. If you intend to have a significant online or social media presence, you should ask your designer to create a favicon since not all logos will lend themselves to reduce or crop to this size.
- Pixel? What's a pixel? Take a photograph. Get a magnifying glass. Look very closely at the photo and you will see it is made up of millions of tiny squares. Each square is a pixel, which is the smallest unit of a picture. Each pixel has its own grid coordinates on the image. Step back and the pixels visually join together to create the overall image - or in the vernacular - a pix.
- Resolution roulette. I - or someone with an advanced degree in printing technology - could go on forever on dpi (dots per inch) vs ppi (pixels per inch) and how each is used. But here's what 99 percent of us need to know:
- The higher the resolution the more detail in the image.
- High resolution is only as good as your ability to see it.
- Computer monitors - it doesn't matter how much you spend on them - display images at 72 dpi.
- Magazine quality printing is 300 dpi or better.
- Higher quality images are larger, take up more space and take up more time to load. So unless you are printing a magazine, you want your images to have a resolution of 72 dpi if they are being viewed on a webpage.
- Understanding color: RGB, CYMK, HSL, Pantone, oh my! There are different color processes for different types of printing. The desired color is created by either adding or subtracting colors at certain percentages. Different types of printing utilizing different inking and color systems and thus require photos and graphics that are created using the right color process.
For example, newspaper offset printing is a four-color process known as CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black), colors on web pages are represented by hexadecimal codes created by an RGB process (Red Green Blue), and many high end printers match colors using the Pantone Color Matching System which uses a patented process of base inks with a precise color matching to reproduce just about any color that the eye can see.
Why does this matter? Because there is no such thing as RED. There are hundreds of reds. And if your logo uses Pantone 185 (232 Red/17 Green/45 Blue), it will not match up with Pantone 187 (175 Red/10 Green/45 Blue).
Make sure you ask your designer to provide you with the color values for all the colors used in your logo and any alternate color palette that's developed for you. Only with that information can you guarantee a proper reproduction of your logo and your brand every time.
Great. You decided to get your company's logo professionally designed. So how do you know you've gotten what you are paying for, what should you expect?
- Your designer should provide a logo in several different formats that you can use in different types of applications. At minimum you must get a vector file (.eps). This file is not an image but a data file and can be scaled up to a billboard or down to an icon without losing any detail. It is the .eps file that you will need for any high-quality printing, for clothing, for printing premium items like mugs or clothing. Printers may tell you that they can take your .jpg (j-peg) file, which is really a static image of your logo, but they will then charge you a design or set up fee to basically turn your .jpg into their interpretation of your logo as a .eps file. Since they don't know your fonts or color palette, this may be inconsistent with your approved logo. You can get a feeling for the difference between a jpg and eps file by putting any jpg image into a word processing document. Now select the image and drag it until it fills the page. You will see it lose quality.
- There are many areas where you can get away with a .jpg (such as online uses including digital stationary, email, and websites). If you want to have color backgrounds, you'll need a transparent logo in a .png format. This should be SOP for any designer.
- Color palette. At minimum, you ought to know what colors are actually used in your logo and what typeface and styles are in use. A more detailed "branding book" or "identity guide" may be an option with your designer and may be worth having. But there are many times that know what your actual colors are and what ink settings are required to reproduce them can be very important.