While we prefer to work on logo design projects from scratch, we work with quite a production houses, as well as one-one-one with clients who have had their logo created somewhere else. Happens all the time when when animating logos in Flash. Most of the time there’s no issue with using outside material, but once in a while, we’re amazed at what passes off for file prep these days. Especially from design companies that market themselves as professionals. Here’s one such example that we stumbled over, while working on a flash animation for a client (won’t say) who’d had their logo designed by some logo company they’d found on the internet (won’t tell you that either). When we took receipt of the vector based .EPS files, we were floored at how badly they had been set up.
Sadly, the client was completely unaware of the technical monstrosity that lay under their logo’s surface. As they had only viewed the pixel based bitmap version, and couldn’t view the wireframe vector version, the logo looked hunky dory to them. The image above illustrates what they saw on the logo company’s website, and how it looked to them when they took final delivery of their logo assets (I’ve close-cropped the design to save anyone the embarrassment). Trouble is, when we’re importing the artwork into Illustrator or Flash (or anything else for that matter) we’re going to use the vector version. That ain’t so pretty. Here’s what the logo looks like when we toggle off preview mode in Illustrator. Eek. All these intersecting lines, maniacal miter corners and overlaps just to create an outline around a font? Stupidly nasty, nasty stuff.
Makes us wonder if some of these shake-and-bake logo companies even prep files before shipping digital to their unsuspecting clients. This one certainly didn’t get any attention at all. Nit picking? Hardly. This artwork will cause nothing but headaches when it comes to any type of digital output, and one can only imagine what would happen if this file ever became acquainted with a vinyl plotter knife blade. And format headaches always equate into expense. Not quite what one expects when paying for professional logo design services.
For what it’s worth, here’s what the file should look like once all the vectors have been cleaned up and trimmed. This file is smaller in size, easier to edit and an be imported into any digital program without worry or hassles. Here’s the thing. While the pathfinder function in Illustrator is fantastic and all for outlines, someone’s gotta get in and clean up the auto-acked vectors once it’s finished doing its thing (same thing goes for tracing images into logos via automated software).
While we’re griping about broken file formats (you know we were) don’t designers close vector shapes and polygons any more? I know one online logo design company that doesn’t. With a ton of blends, transparencies and gradient fills, the logo artwork we’re looking at was overly complicated to begin with. These incomplete vector objects (circled) serve only to make matters worse. Much, much worse. There are some very real, very costly reasons why broken file formats like this are a headache too. Took us a couple of hours to re-do the artwork before we were able to import it into Flash for composition and animation. That works out to billable hours that need to be tacked on to the overall cost of a simple Flash animation. You have to pity clients who take delivery of these obscenely bad file setups, without any idea of the headaches, expense and reproduction hell they’re going to run into when it comes to using their spiffy new logo.
Apologies for the rant, but butchered art files and broken file formats are a pet peeve. It’s also one of the reasons that clients need to work with professionals, rather than someone who’s downloaded a hacked version of Illustrator and selling logo design services at $98 a pop. This client saved a couple of bucks in the front end, but doled out much more than that when it came to turning their logo into a usable form. For more information, visit the design help center for a quick reference guide for all logo formats.