Sorry I’ve left all my loyal readers kinda hanging for awhile.  I have SO much stuff to post and seriously no time!  As most of you know, Dave and I are in Italian training for many hours every day.  It’s been far more time consuming than originally thought – particularly when we’re traveling from Rosslyn during the beginning of rush hour!  Fun fun.  Anyway, I figured I could take a quick break (from Italian homework and staying home with what appears to be a flu?  Let’s hope it’s not H1N1 – LOL!)  to post some exciting news:

My article ran in the international trade magazine, Professional Photographer this month! I’m pretty psyched because I’ve never been a published author before.  Anyway, if you’re interested in reading the article, it’s on page 40-41 of Pro.Photo this month.  Make sure to read the following page, too, because it’s by my NH friend, Don Chick.

By the way – the logos shown are ones I’ve done for Andrea Chapelo, Liz Vance, and PhotographyConnect.

Sign Language: Designing A Logo
Stephanie Millner

The cornerstone of a brand is an effective logo. It will appear on all of your marketing pieces, from your website to your print ads and displays. Above all, your logo should be versatile and timeless. It should be appropriate for every kind of photography you do, and every segment of your clientele—a tattoostyle logo designed for seniors probably won’t appeal to brides, and a logo featuring an adorable baby probably won’t send the desired message to corporate clientele.

A strong logo adapts to a changing business. Try to design your logo around what your business will grow into. Two years from now you might find a passion for doing a completely new photographic niche; let the rest of your branding establish your new niche, but hang onto your established logo.

Consider that a logo needs to work at any size—at 1/2 inch, will it be readable on your business card? If your logo has both graphic elements and text, would each be recognizable by itself as your logo? As the identifying entity of your business, make sure it works in every possible scenario, from tiny watermark to signage.

BLACK AND WHITE OR BUST: The primary rule of logo design is If it doesn’t work in black and white, it doesn’t work at all. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use colors, but see how effective your design is in plain black and white. If it’s not visually strong enough to be memorable without color, it’s back to the drawing board.

K.I.S.S. That’s right, keep it simple. The key here is legibility and impact. Use solid fills and strong lines. Avoid gradients, drop shadows, textures, photographs, gazillions of colors and other effects. Don’t design your logo with only optimal viewing and reproduction conditions in mind. In a print ad in a community paper or in the Yellow Pages, whatever, at some point your logo will be reproduced in one color, small, and poorly. Give your design the Xerox test. Find the oldest copy machine you can, and photocopy your logo at various sizes. How bad does it look?

Because logos need to be scalable, do not design yours in Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is made to edit pixels of raster images, and raster images are not easy to resize. Instead, create your logo as a vector image, which is infinitely scalable. The industry standard for vector design is Adobe Illustrator.

Create separate vector files for both positive and negative versions of your logo on transparent backgrounds. If your logo contains colors, create positive and negative color versions as well. Create all versions in both CMYK and RGB. You also need to save raster versions of the vector files for digital usage, like on your website. Save the file in an array of sizes and in the formats JPG, GIF, and PNGs (best for websites).

Another factor in your logo color choices is offset printing costs—the more colors, the more expensive. Limiting the colors to two, particularly if one of them is black, can drastically cut cost, in some cases, by as much as 80 percent.

Peruse your printer’s Pantone color guide, an index of ink colors that can be mixed in various ratios to produce other colors. Perhaps there’s a shade of teal you love, and according to your software’s color picker, it’s a blend of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Most likely there’s a similar shade in the Pantone index —your four-color-build logo just became an inexpensive solid ink. Custom ink mixes can slightly increase printing costs.

When you’ve got a logo that’s versatile, simple, reproducible, scalable, and costeffective, don’t go changing it for awhile! About the time you’re getting bored with your logo, the public is beginning to recognize it.