A logo may look great in preview mode on a monitor, but what’s lurking under the hood should give you pause. We take a look at some common technical issues with your digital assets.

While our logo design projects are in-house,  there are times when we need to take delivery of external assets – logo files that have been set up elsewhere. Collateral brand development – brochure design and other add-on design services – and we also do quite a bit of animation using logos that we didn’t design. Generally speaking there’s no issue with using outside material, but once in a while – wow – I’m truly amazed at what passes off for “professional” file prep. As in not very professional at all.

A vector-based horror show.

Was working on an animation project for a client (no, I won’t say) who had their logo designed by a company they had hired over the internet (sorry, won’t tell you that either, but let’s say they’re in the top 5 Google results if you search for the key words logo + design.) Anyhoo, when we got our mitts on the .EPS files, I was floored at just how badly they were set up. This is a tricky thing that a lot of design buyers may not understand, nor even know is an issue with their logo, so I figured this is a good place to explain, using this mess as an example.

You don’t know until you do.

Keep  in mind this is what most clients see when they take delivery of logo files (this instance from a shop that advertises themselves as a budget logo design firm – though as not to bag on anyone in particular, I’ve close-cropped the design.) When taking digital sight-unseen trust is a major factor. In this case it was misplaced. As they didn’t have access to vector-based design software like Illustrator, here’s how their logo looked to them when they viewed it the only way they could – as a pixel-based image or as a .PDF using their reader.logo-digital-preview-mode To our hapless client, it looked fine and dandy. That’s groovy, but when we open the digital files with Illustrator (or anything else for that matter) we’re going to be able to see the wireframe vector version. And here’s what this hideous beast looks like when we toggle off preview mode. Yikes.logo-digital-wireframe-modeAll these intersecting lines, maniacal miter corners and redundant overlaps just to create an simple outline around a font? Makes me wonder if these so-called “designers” even prep files before shipping digital to unsuspecting clients from their so-called “design firm.” Here’s the thing – while this artwork looks fine on a monitor, it will cause nothing but grief when it comes to any type of digital output. I can only imagine the press guy’s reaction (and that of his output device) if this file ever found them itself becoming acquainted with a vinyl plotter knife blade. For what it’s worth, here’s what the file should look like once all the vectors have been cleaned up.repaired-digital-wireframe-modeThis file is smaller in size, easier to edit and an be imported into any digital program without fear. The pathfinder operation in Illustrator is fantastic and all for outlines, but ya gotta clean up the auto-acked vectors once it’s finished doing its thing. While we’re at it – don’t designers close vector shapes any more? I know someone who calls themselves a design agency that doesn’t.open-vector-shapesThe artwork we’re talking about was fairly complicated to begin with (complete with blends and gradient fills) and these incomplete vector objects (circled) serve only to make matters worse.

Much worse.

Took me a couple of hours to re-do the artwork before I was able to import it into Flash for composition. That worked out to a couple of billable hours that the client shouldn’t have incurred, if only their original designer had done it right the first time. Sorry for the Thursday afternoon rant, but butchered art files and logo formats are a pet peeve of mine. And I pity clients who take delivery of these file, without any idea of the headaches – and expense – they’re going to run into down the road when it comes to using their spiffy new logo.