The value of a logo

In previous issues of Foreword, we’ve looked at different aspects of marketing such as brand reputation, marketing strategies and social media marketing to name a few.

Whilst all of these things are important, how much thought have you given to your organisation’s logo? It’s one of the first things people notice when they’re looking for your organisation.

Next time you’re driving home or watching television, look at the logos you see in advertising. There’s many that you would instantly recognise; the famous golden arches of McDonald’s, the three diamonds of Mitsubishi and the colourful letters of Google. Your recall of the product or service they offer is almost instant. These are all good examples of a logo doing its job.

Now think about your organisation’s logo. Is it new or has it been around for a few years? Does it tell people what you do, or has it honestly seen better days? Not all logos make the product or service obvious. In these cases, organisations might decide to add a tagline – a short statement or a few words about their product offering.

For example, CBB’s logo is three green letters with our name in full underneath. Community Business Bureau is our incorporated name. We’ve had it since 1995 and we wear it with pride. The word Bureau may be a little outdated and can be tricky to spell for some, but it explains exactly what we were formed to do, and still do to this day. This may not be clear to everyone, so depending on its use, we often add a tagline that states “salary packaging and business consulting”.

We try to use our tagline logo on promotional merchandise whenever possible. Our lip balms and pens may end up in the hands of someone who doesn’t know who we are, so our tagline tells them. What’s your logo saying?

Tips for protecting your logo

Your logo is your organisation’s gold. It needs to be protected and used with care. I’ve seen some terrible uses of logos where they’ve been stretched to fit into a space, pixelated and/or re-coloured. Poor quality logos look unprofessional and that’s not the message you’re trying to send to potential clients or customers…

Here are a few easy tips to ensure your logo is displayed correctly:

  • Always keep an original version of your logo saved in a safe place (somewhere other than the main location you keep your logos). As we all know, it’s easy to overwrite a file and once you’ve saved over the top of it, it’s hard to get it back!
  • Keep an electronic folder with different logo versions ready to go. Below I’ll give you an explanation of what to use and when.
  • Be careful who you give it to. Graphic designers know how to use a logo, but if you’re sending it to someone externally, always check how it looks before anything is finalised. Ask for a proof or visit the website that it’s being displayed on. If you’re not happy with it, ask them to change it.
  • Consider investing in a style guide. Graphic designers can provide one of these so you have a reference as to how your logo should be displayed, depending on the situation. Style guides can also incorporate instructions for the use of your organisation’s fonts and brand colours in different situations.

What type of logo and when?

There are a range of image file types for different uses. By using the right file type, you’re halfway to getting your logo looking the way it’s meant to. Here are some common ones you might come across or be asked to provide:

AI – Adobe Illustrator document

This is your original file that a graphic designer used to create your logo. Your logo’s AI file can be used to make all the other file types below, however you will only be able to open or edit it if you have the Adobe Illustrator software. An AI image file can’t be inserted into documents or websites as it’s not an acceptable file type.

EPS – Encapsulated Postscript

An EPS file is one of the most preferred formats by printers, custom merchandise suppliers and signage companies. Again, unless you have Adobe design software, you won’t be able to open or view it.

JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

A JPG (JPEG) is probably the most common type of image file that you will come across. It can be used for multiple purposes, provided it’s the right size. Generally, a JPG can be reduced in size, but it can’t be made bigger, as increasing the size past its original dimensions will make it pixelated or “fuzzy”. JPGs can’t have transparent backgrounds, so the best way to display them is on a white background.

Provided they are the right size, JPGs can be used for:

  • Microsoft Word documents
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Web pages and other online uses
  • Email signatures

PNG – Portable Network Graphics

PNG files are usually a smaller file size when compared to a JPG, but have a slightly higher resolution due to the way the file is compressed when it is saved. PNG files can also have transparent backgrounds, so they are a great option for logos that work well on different coloured backgrounds.

Like JPGs, PNGs can be used for:

  • Microsoft Word documents
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Web pages and other online uses
  • Email signatures

PDF – Portable Document Format

The advantage of a PDF logo is that it can be viewed on any computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader installed (free to download). It’s also possible to edit a PDF logo with Adobe Illustrator. Some printers may prefer a PDF file for the printing of common office stationery such as flyers, posters and business cards.

If you’ve started thinking about your organisation’s logo and whether it’s still fit for purpose, it may be worth doing a refresh or rebranding altogether. But be aware, rebranding is not a simple task. It can often be a huge undertaking and shouldn’t be tackled on your own unless you have the capability and capacity to do so. Having done one recently ourselves, we know the ins and outs of a rebrand. You can read more about it here.

If you need some help or advice, drop us an email at