Throughout the course of my career I’ve been provided logo material or illustrations that just don’t come close to meeting the quality standards for press. Sadly, this trend seems to be growing in popularity with the continued influx of amateur designers and home grown digital artists.
In most cases, a simple request or demand for higher quality materials is sufficient, but under extreme circumstances we as designers are forced to make the best hand with the cards dealt.
The purpose of this article isn’t to demonstrate how—but to show what is possible with the right tools and skill sets. I will, however, be putting together an in-depth tutorial on how to work with these low-quality originals to produce the best possible final output for your projects. Once complete, I will place a link from this article to the online tutorial.
Here are a couple of logos I’ve had to recreate recently:
Cops for Christmas is a local charity golf tournament that helps raise money to benefit children during the Christmas holiday.
I was recently asked to design an advertisement for Cops for Christmas, and the material provided was to be taken directly from their brochure (designed in Microsoft Publisher).
Now, you can just imagine my joy at the mention of MS Publisher. Never has there been a more loathed application than MS Publisher. It’s right up there with MS Paint, but at least MS Paint can save to some usable file format without jumping through hoops. Another personal favorite, MS Power Point—starting to see a trend here? Anyway, here’s the before and after of their logo.
As you can see, I had my work cut out for me. This recreation was achieved by using Adobe Photoshop to clean up the original file, Vector Magic by ImageMagick to convert to vectors and then following up with Adobe Illustrator for fine tuning the paths.
Just a week or so before the Cops for Christmas logo that prompted my authoring of this post, I recreated the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre logo.
Let’s recap a moment. The previous logo recreation was for a charitable organization, and was obviously never designed by a professional designer. The MPAC logo, however, had been designed by a professional ad agency who must have provided the MPAC with an Illustrator EPS, Adobe PDF or high-resolution jpeg at the very least.
This is a perfect example of how lack of communication between departments and extreme material deadlines can result in this type of logo recreation. Had I just been able to reach someone from either the MPAC or the ad agency—I could have regained almost an hour of my life. Here’s the before and after:
Not half bad, if I do say so myself. I will mention that the white dividing lines were not originally in the recreation, but later added on recommendation by the sales person who was able to produce a previously printed promotional flyer as an example. Now where the heck was that flier when I needed a logo?!
This recreation was achieved with the use of Adobe Illustrator.
- If you have the time, always request an Illustrator EPS or high-resolution file from either the client or their ad agency.
- Never recreate a logo or illustration for a client without first notifying them. This helps them understand the additional time involved and can sometimes lead to them providing you with alternative means for acquiring the material you need.
- If you have to work with the low-resolution file, be sure to preserve the logos original design intent. Be sure to have the recreated logo approved by the client before going to final output.
- When developing a logo for a client, it’s a good idea to provide them with multiple files that are clearly labeled and properly documented as to their output intent. I’ve even gone so far as to make the file names spell it out. (i.e. cpd-logo-color-press.eps, or mpac-logo-website-only.gif)