16 May

Vector vs. Raster for Logo Design

Vector vs. Raster for Logo Design


Orc_-_Raster_vs_Vector_comparison
One of the most important things you will need to decide on when getting a logo design done is which computer graphic format to choose – vector or raster? There is a huge difference between the two formats, and choosing the right one will make all the difference to the logo design. Essentially, vector logos consist of points, connected by tiny lines and curves (called as paths) and raster images consist of pixels. We are going to talk a bit more about vector and raster graphics in detail, with a specific focus on logo design. Read on!

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are comprised of extremely thin lines and curves called as paths.  Each path is formed by connecting a specific point or node location on x and y axes of a vector graph. All vector graphics are created using a special computer software which represents the graphics as an intricate wireframe, in which each path/line consists of a well defined node location, node position, length and curves. Vector logos use very formulaic, systematic approach to the drawing and can be sized and resized repeatedly without losing their resolution or looking pixilated (as with raster images, which we will get into later). Indeed, it is easy to identify a logo made from a vector graphic, simply by looking at the edges. Vector logos are always smooth, regardless of their size. They are not much different from a text – a text retains its look regardless of whether you increase or increase its font size. In fact, text is a vector graphic. Typically, a vector logo file is of a relatively small file size, between 300kb and 1mb, regardless of the size to which the logo is scaled up.

Where are Vector Graphics Used?

Vector graphics find a very popular use in the creation of logos and insignia. They are also used in high resolution, high quality clip art. Most text types and fonts are created as vector images and can be resized effortlessly without losing their attributes. But yes, if logos are what you are after, choosing to go with the vector format makes a lot of sense.

Raster Graphics

Raster graphics are also called as bitmap images and are made of tens of millions of tiny squares called pixels. It is easy to identify a raster logo by zooming in and looking at it closely. You will be able to notice the square outline of each pixel in the logo. The edges are clearly visible because of the color contrasts relative to the rest of the image. A raster logo can be of a very small size such as 5kb or very large, as in dozens of MB based on the size of the logo.

Where are Raster Graphics Used?

Most of the images that you see on a website are raster images. They are widely used in digital projects, not so much in printed reproductions used physical books, magazines and newspapers. Raster images are saved as low resolution graphics, which makes them unsuitable for use in logos, generally.
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 Vector vs. Raster - Which is Better for Logo Design and Why?

There is no question that vector images are the best option when it comes to creating logos. Vector images are far more flexible when it comes to making changes. You can resize and rescale them as you wish. This is an important consideration when you are creating a logo. Your logo won’t just exist in the digital form; it will be reproduced to be used as a banner or on merchandise as well. Vector images are very easy to reproduce in a printed form, so they give you more options with respect to the logo design. For example, consider the close-up of the logo done here in the vector format. You can clearly see the points and lines that make the logo what it is. These points and lines can be scaled and sized as you wish without any loss of quality or sharpness of the design.
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Raster images are NOT a great option when you are creating or working with logos, especially if the logo is text based. In some cases, when the logo is image-based rather than text-based, you can go with the raster format without any significant drop in quality, but generally, logos are saved as vector files. You can save the copies of the logs as raster images to be used later for digital projects. Consider the close-up of the logo designed in the raster format. Here you can clearly notice the pixilated edges of the logo. The edges contain shades of gray to create an optical illusion of a curved line. This is fine as long as the logo is kept small, but once you scale it up and make it larger, the pixelation becomes very obvious and it is hard to miss the tiny squares. For this reason raster images aren’t used for logo design, they just don’t make professional logos and certainly look very odd when reproduced on merchandise or on a printed media.
Bitmap_VS_SVG.svg

Vector Logos: Pros and Cons

 

Pros

Smaller File Size – Vector logos are of a smaller file size than their raster counterparts. That’s because they are identified by mathematical descriptions and not by individual pixels, so they occupy less space and make efficient use of file size. Easily Scalable – Vector files can be scaled up or down as you like without affecting the logo quality. That’s because they use a mathematical description to create a consistent shape regardless of the size.  With vector, your original design does not need to be set in a specific size.  You have the ability to output that design as a raster image to any size/resolution desired.  This is not the case with raster logos, where the colors of all pixels to be added have to be specified when scaling up.   Scaling up with raster images will compromise the quality of that image and create a pixelated effect Easy to Edit – Vector logos are easy to edit using software such as Adobe Illustrator. You can modify each of the individual elements on them without them affecting the other objects in the design. Awesome Special Effects – Vector logos are simple by definition. So using special effects or styling effects such as drop shadows with them is slightly more difficult to accomplish. But with latest software, vector logos can accomplish pretty much any type of special effects that can be achieved with raster images. Excellent Choice for Printing Media – Vector format is now a standard in graphic design industry.  Your cereal box was likely designed using a vector type program.  From logo design to product labels, vectors format allows for easy design manipulation with professional results. Output files can be set to any resolution and will always come sharp looking.   Many print shops will ask for vector files in order to get the best printing result.

Cons

Compatibility – Vector logos have an issue with compatibility. They are not compatible with all programs, apart from the one that you create them on. So a vector logo created in Adobe Illustrator may not be so easy to use with other vector software programs, for example Inkscape and vise versa.  Still not as detailed – Vector logos still lack effects detailing that is available with software for raster images.  Technology has improved over the years, however it is more challenging to capture complex special effects in a vector program as opposed to raster program such as Adobe Photoshop. Complexity – A simple vector file is much easier to create and manipulate.  However, even simple changes in a complex design can become challenging and require more time and skill to overcome.

Raster Logos: Pros and Cons

 

Pros

Much More Detailed – You can create a highly detailed logo design with raster images based on the number of dpi or “dots per inch” The higher the dpi, subtler are the details used in the logo design.  Very Precise Editing – With raster logos, you can modify the color information on each of the individual pixels, one by one. If such precision is what you are looking for, then you should go with raster images for your logo design.  Adobe Photoshop can also be used to create vector files.  Some complex illustrations may require the use of both raster and vector programs.

 Cons

Looks Pixelated or Grainy When Enlarged– Raster logos become blurry when you enlarge them. That’s because there are only a limited number of pixels in the raster images, so it’s hard for your computer to guess the colors of the missing pixels when you enlarge the image or the logo. Has Bigger File Size – Raster logos have larger file sizes than vector logos, as the software has to render each of the pixels present in them. This could be a problem if the storage space on the server is limited. Lack of Sharpness in Text Appearance – A raster software program such as Adobe Photoshop can be used to capture some very amazing effects with images.  Unfortunately,  Photoshop lacks the ability to deliver sharp text appearance that can be easily achieved using a  vector software program such as Adobe Illustrator.

The Bottom Line - Vector vs. Raster for Logo Design 

So if you could use only one format, should you go with raster or vector? It should be clear from this article that when going for a logo design, you are much better off going with a vector logo. This gives you far more flexibility as you can scale the logos up or down as you like. Raster logos on the other hand, are preferred for web or digital applications. One of the issues with vector logos is that you may not have the software needed to view the vector file such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. It is not easy to use vector logos on Microsoft Word, for example. Even if you use vector logos, you will need to save them in a raster format to be used on the web later. So the best approach is to get vector logos and then to save them in the raster format as well, in addition to the vector format, to be used on the Web later.
22 Apr

Some of the Most Interesting Logo Designs Around Today

Some of the Most Interesting Logo Designs Around Today

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Introduction:

One of the most important elements of branding and marketing for any company is their logo design. Whether it is a worldwide conglomerate worth billions of dollars or a home based business that you are starting, the logo creates an identity that establishes its worth in the market.

Some of the Most Interesting Logos Around Today:

The most interesting and creative logos don’t necessarily have to belong to a leading corporation or come out of the world’s most expensive ad agency’s studios. Thanks to the increasing availability of logo design tools on computers, and widely available internet access throughout the world, a plethora of creative designs keeps rolling out online every single day. Online competitions for logos are also held where people share their image and interpretation for what a brand’s existing or new logo should look like. Let’s take a look at some of the most creative logo designs around today:

Lion Bird: A Double Entendre:

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We have all seen examples of logo design that convey more than one meaning within the same limited space. Lion Bird is one such logo that forms two images simultaneously: the foreground is a dark shaded bird with its wings spread. Take a look at the background, and the bird becomes the lion’s eyes, nose, and face while the rest of the images fades perfectly to complete the entire head of a lion.

Spartan Golf Club: Getting More from Negative Space:

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This logo design is one of the few examples of clever use of negative space out there. With a light colored background, this logo relies on a pure black logo that dictates elegance and power.

Design Tent: The Vertical Pencil:

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Another contender for the double entendre category, this logo design uses a simple abstract shape of a tent. The twist lies in the unique coloring of the tent, which gives it the appearance of an upright pencil.

Artistic: The Upside Down Pencil:

4a

A symbol of free thinking and creativity, the pencil conveys a sense of unconstrained expression and perfectly represents all types of design work. This logo turns a parachute shape into an upside down pencil through the clever use of color and shading.

Giraffe: Starting with a  ‘g’:

This logo design incorporates the clever use of the small case letter “g” to form the face of a giraffe. Complete with horns and ears to the side, it creates a distinctly recognizable logo.

The Bird’s a Word:

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Have you heard about the bird? Has Peter told you about the bird? While you look that up, this is a clever example of using a shape as a letter. The logo utilizes the silhouette of a bird flying away as the letter B, followed by the remaining three letters of the logo.

Minimum: A Minimalist Approach that Stands Out:

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An example of nice, clean design, this logo relies on a uniquely shaped text and a shade of red that pops. Recognizable from a good distance, and distinct enough not to be mixed up with similar logos, this is one that truly stands out.

CodeFish: Bringing Out the Code:

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This logo design relies on a clever use of characters including brackets and an asterisk to form the shape of a fish. This is a really fitting logo as it relies upon characters that are used in coding and conveys a subtle hint at the ingenuity and creativity of the team – both essential for success in software development and coding.

A Maze for Amazing:

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Now this is a great example of a play on words used to the maximum advantage. By incorporating a real maze in the middle of the word, “Amazing”, this logo scores on all the right criteria. It is simple and neat, uses a uniform two color shade, and adds a visually attractive element of creativity.

Cahoots:

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This logo also uses a similar play on words technique for its design. One unique thing about this logo is that it manages to spell out the name “Cahoots” and adds a graphic logo without distorting the word or the shape of two persons too much. This may be one of the few logos out there that successfully incorporates both letters and shapes with ingenious clarity.

Match:

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This logo design counts on a cleverly placed shape to go along with the name. The shape took quite a bit of thinking to come up with from what it seems. Showing two matches together with flames lit conveys a secondary meaning to the logo that would be otherwise unexplained.

Uptown:

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Simple and representative of the new minimalist trends sweeping the web, the Uptown logo relies on using abstract shapes. It shows 5 arrows pointing upwards that can just as well be seen as houses. Another unique feature of this logo is the shading on the shape which gets lighter with height.

Backspace:

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Relying on one of the nuances of typing, this logo uses the misspelled word “bckspace” followed by a writing prompt. The logo uses a light shade on a dark brown background for a clean, modern look that remains aesthetically appealing.

Look:

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Another logo design that stands out for integrating a shape with letters is the LOOK logo. Perhaps ‘O’s are the easiest letter around to replace with a shape, and the designer for this logo has sure taken advantage of that. The logo incorporates two large ‘O’s that can double as eyes. This is achieved through the clever reverse coloring effect given to the logo by using white font against an all black background.

Chair Sit Logo:

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Furniture design requires a good deal of creativity. We can say for sure that if the furniture makers behind this company are as talented as the logo designer, we would be their most loyal customers. The logo is based around a chair facing the viewer. The back of the chair is cleverly used to incorporate the word “SIT” and is only evident when you look closer for a second glance.

Further Reading
If you’d like to see more interesting logo designs, you will find more information at the following places:
http://webneel.com/best-logo-design
http://designshack.net/articles/graphics/50-fantastically-clever-logos/


26 Mar

The History of Logo Design

main logo

The History of Logo Design

What is a Logo?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a logo as: “A symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.” This is understood by most people today, and is a simple way to define a logo - yet there is usually much more to a logo (and to logo design) than we might think. We can consider how the logo came about historically, how the idea of a logo has evolved, and the subtle yet powerful forces at work within logo design and how logos are used. This article looks at the historical origins of logo design and usage, and uncovers some of the factors involved, including some fascinating facts and reasons why logos have come to exist and be used.  

What’s in a Symbol?

They say ‘a picture paints a thousand words,’ and this is certainly true when it comes to the shapes, lettering and images included in logo design through the years. There can be little doubt of the power of images to convey a certain idea or feeling, if we consider just a few examples. Think of the swastika, for example, which instantly brings strong feelings of repulsion and negativity to millions of people, through its association with the atrocities of the Nazi party. The symbol itself had many more positive associations before being used by the third Reich, and yet its meaning has been changed forever. Another example is that of the cross of Christ, which resonates with billions of people as a sign of sacrifice (whether Christians or not, people will still recognize the image and have ideas associated with it). Symbols such as these clearly illustrate the power of symbols to evoke a human response. Logo design for an organization or company often involves a broad study of human responses to image, and attempts to convey the essence of the company in as simple a way as possible.  

The Historical Origins of the Logo

The word logo which we commonly use today is a shortened version of ‘logogram’, meaning a sign or character that represents a word or phrase. Perhaps ironically, the word originated from the ancient Greek word ‘logos,’ which simply translates to ‘word.’ Hieroglyphs and pictograms are some of the earliest historical examples of logos, and since the world was non-literate at this time, the need for images which convey meaning was perhaps far more crucial than it is today. When we talk about ‘branding’ in business today, consider what farmers did to their sheep and cattle to identify them as their own - they would brand their mark into the skin of the animals. Brands are therefore about identifying something as belonging to an organization. The logo, on the other hand, is about communicating something. In the medieval period the logo and brand were brought together, as with heraldry. In heraldic there was a unique design that identified which house you belonged to but also said something about the values and characteristics of the house. In business, logos and brands remained quite separate, but this began to change. With the advent of the printing press, people had a way of advertising and communicating their message across the country, or even the world. Distinguishing yourself was suddenly much harder, but the potential benefits were much greater. Logo design was therefore becoming of greater importance to business owners and organizations of all kinds, as competition across countries and borders increased. Of course, with digital and internet technology, this has now reached a whole new level once again.  

Logo Design Today

It became clear throughout these developments that consistency was the key to being remembered and a way of becoming successful in the larger market. Having a logo which also identified you was a big advantage, and today nearly all businesses recognize the importance of having an effective logo which is linked to powerful branding. Advertising and marketing budgets have increased on a huge scale, and the advertising and marketing industries have come into existence. Professionals now dedicate their whole careers to refining logo design and understanding what makes logos successful in the modern world. Many clever and often quite deeply profound tricks are employed within logo design, including ones which most people don’t notice consciously. A belief that influencing the subconscious more than the conscious mind of potential customers could be of greater long term benefit means that the process and decisions within logo design is often very subtle.   Take the simple Google logo as an example, which might appear as something a child could have thought of. Yet the simplicity is part of its intention. The fact that it has four primary colors in a row, which is then broken by a secondary color, shows that they don’t play by the rules. Because the name is interesting and memorable in itself, nothing more is needed from their logo. Another modern logo example with something subtle but clever is that of Amazon, which has an arrow appearing as a smiley face, but which is pointing from the A to the Z, suggesting that they deliver everything from A to Z. There are, of course, countless examples of logo design throughout history which use similar ideas to help convey their message. It’s perhaps impossible to gauge exactly how successful a logo is being and will be in the future, but the main question to answer is - do people easily remember it? There is even a logo board game and logo computer games in existence today, where the object is to recognize as many as possible. This is further evidence, if we needed it, of the profound cultural and human significance that logo design continues to have on the world.  

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about the history of logo design, from ancient times to the present day, then check these online resources for more examples and analysis: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/07/the-evolution-of-the-logo/ http://www.famouslogos.us/

07 Mar

4 Font Types for Logo Design. Typography in Logos.

4 Main Font Types for Logo Design

4 types of font styles - typography

Introduction


Whilst we can often take logo designs for granted when we see them, and perhaps more so the font types used in logo design, it’s clearly of great importance that we make the right choices here. Some of the high profile companies spend thousands of dollars to research typography for their logo design. Of course, it probably won’t be necessary for most of us to go this far, but font types within logo design is certainly not something to be taken lightly. In this article we explore the main font types which are used in logos and the reasons these font types are used in particular logos to help convey a company’s message.
The main typefaces that we find used within fonts can be grouped into one of four classifications: with serifs, without serifs, scripts and decorative. Many subcategories have been identified within these, but for now we are simply looking at the broad characteristics of these four main groups. The feelings and associations you put across with your logo design is going to be greatly affected by the choice of typeface where letters are present, so it’s worth giving this some serious consideration.
 

1. Serif Type Styles

serif type font typography  

If you want a classical feeling within your logo design, then consider serif typefaces. Serifs are decorative accents on the letters, such as extra little lines coming from the main shape, or ‘feet’ underneath the letters. They often give an older, more established and traditional message. Some examples of fonts using serifs are ‘Old Style’, ‘Neoclassical’ and ‘Glyphic’, whose names also suggest this characteristic. Ancient Roman writings and engravings often have serifs, and for this reason the serif fonts include a group which are called Roman fonts. Consider the serif type Rolex logo, which gives a sense of class and high quality. If you want a logo design which suggests longevity, an appreciation of history and being well-established, then serif styles might be worth considering.  

2. Sans Serif (Without Serif) Type Styles

sans type font typography  

Sans Serif, or without Serif, is a style of typeface which has a simpler appearance. The Serifs, or extra little strokes on the letters, will not be present within this type. Again, there are many different subcategories of these. The first commercially popular sans serif font was the grotesque sans serif, with obvious contrasts in stroke weight. Transitional, geometric and humanist are other common examples to look out for. Square sans serif styles have, as you might expect, a squaring of lines where you might otherwise have curvature. This can bring a much bolder and even dramatic statement within logo design. Microsoft is an example of this, which gives a simple yet strong message that looks to the future. Consider the Facebook logo as another strong example, also very bold and simple but with a few more little slants to the letters which help them interconnect without actually touching and therefore suggesting a little more interest for the social media world.  

3. Script Type Styles

script type font typography  

The script style is emulating a hand-written writing style, often quite elaborate and sometimes with strokes that join up the letters as in formal scripts. Calligraphic scripts imitate the calligraphic style of writing, which bring an interesting mix of strong angles and sweeping curves. A good modern logo design example is that of Instagram, which is original and sharp yet retaining a sense of culture. Consider another usage of the script style within a classic logo design - Coca Cola. This instantly recognizable lettering was also created just for the logo, and now it’s possible to find ‘Coca Cola fonts’ which are inspired by this style. This is quite a diverse group, as whilst these examples can suggest high quality or luxury, there are also the ‘casual’ script styles. The Walt Disney logo design is a good casual script style, as it suggests fun and imagination, whilst also personalizing it to Walt’s name.  

4. Decorative Styles

decorative type font typography  

Obviously there is no limit to possibilities when it comes to creating a brand new logo design, and the decorative typeface style is where you will find some less conventional ideas. This can work well for promoting a modern business which has a very unique message or quality. Artists and musicians might choose decorative styles, which bring something very individual to the font. The Vaio logo design for the sub-brand of Sony laptops has a good example of a typeface which can be classed as decorative. There is a simple flowing pattern which is clearly taking us into the future and giving us something different, yet at the same time offering class and sophistication. This style of simplicity is often found within modern art and design as artists strive to bring something new. Within this broad category, however, you could also find the logo design for the rock band Metallica. The harsh jagged edges of the first and last letters give the sense of grit and strength which the band want to portray, and leaves us with a completely different feeling than we had in the last example.

Deciding Which Typeface to Use in Logo Design


Logo design is all about engaging the most number of people who see the logo with the correct emotional response, and a surprising amount can be achieved by a clever use of typeface. Companies might update their logos if they discern a change in cultural attitudes, for example, or the direction of their business. Within each group of styles there are endless choices to be made, and so the important thing is to remain focused on the end goal of your logo design. If you have a clear vision of where the company or business wants to go then you are in a good position to start making some choices. Remember that a company’s future is often greatly affected by the choice of logo, as the logo differentiates a brand from all the competitors and it is what sticks in people’s minds. With logo design there are therefore many factors to consider, and these definitely include deciding on the right typeface to use where lettering is concerned.
Further Reading
Here are some useful online resources if you’d like to explore new font typefaces in action or learn more about typography in general:
http://typedia.com/ http://ilovetypography.com/ http://www.fonts.com/ http://fontsinuse.com/ http://typostrate.com/

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