Highlight Blog: This post was originally written for Jim Schembri’s blog, “On Target with Jim” August 13, 2009.
If consistency is key in a brand, then it makes sense to know where all your identity and brand files are. Many companies don’t know where their identity files are or which fonts to use in what format. If this all seems like a foreign language to you, here are some basics from the RBKartworks archives to make sure you have what you need to represent your business effectively.
- Vector File: Usually ends with .ai or .eps.
This file is the essential file. No matter how small or large it’s resized its edges will always remain crisp.
- Large JPEG or Tiff format for placement in Office documents. I only include this because many people have a hard time placing the vectors in Office or other business applications. Having a large version of your logo to size down to fit will give you some flexibility while retaining quality.
- One colour version: If your logo has more than one colour you need to have a one-colour version on file. These one colour logos Back were once used mostly for fax cover sheets, but now the biggest reason to have this on file is for promotional products. Stitching, etching, or stamps often come in just the one colour. Avoid delays by having this version on hand.
Ever look at your materials and wonder why one green isn’t the same as the other one that was printed 6 months ago? It’s hard to keep print colours consistent, but with an established colour palette and formulas you can keep the variance to a minimum. Here’s what you should have:
- Pantone colours: The granddaddy of colour consistency, this colour system is like walking into a paint store and handing them the paint swatch. A can mixed at one location will be the same at another granted you’ve bought the same brand. Pantone is no different. They have swatch books that shows you what each of their colours look like on glossy coated paper or matte paper.
Find your colours, and have their swatch number on hand. Printers all use the same ink mix so the colour is the same.
- CMYK formulas: This stands for the 4 colours of plates in a regular printing process. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) Once you have your Pantone colour you can then find out its CMYK equivalent. The colours will not be the same, printing in CMYK reduces the vibrancy of the colour. But having the formulas will keep fluctuations to a minimum.
- RGB equivalents: If you are online or you send out PDF documents to be viewed on a screen, you need your RGB (Monitor colour) equivalents.
Benefit to having swatches and formulas: Both formulas for 2 & 3 can be entered into Office documents and saved for use in word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Pantone swatches can also make a promotional products suppliers job easier by matching up your colour for custom branded materials.
The vast majority of companies have two fonts that they use. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but most have one for headlines, and one for content text. Any more than that and your typography can begin to look cluttered. If your company doesn’t have standard fonts, consider looking at your logo and then your documents to choosing 2 that work well together. Keeping one font consistent with your logo will help your materials tie in with your company identity. Have the names on hand and copies of the fonts saved in your identity folder. Once you have this, ensuring that anyone with a company computer has them installed will be much simpler.
Standardize your signature. Every employee should have the same font format, colours, and order of content used in their email signature. If you use your logo or a graphic ensure that everyone has the same file sized to fit the format.
The Logo Outline
This is a great addition to any identity folder. It’s a simple one or two pager with all of the above information. In one simple reference place it’s a great thing to attach to any files sent to designers, printers, and promotional product people currently handling parts of your brand. The quick reference can save a great deal of time and avoid errors along the way.
Your brand is your key to optically building trust with your clients. Having these key pieces on hand will ensure that you and anyone working for you will have the necessary tools to preserve and promote your brand.