Why does my logo look ‘fuzzy’?
We answer this baffling question once and for all and let you in on a few secrets to make sure you have complete control of your logo.
Ever had your business cards printed and they came back ‘fuzzy’ or ‘dirty’ looking around your logo? Seen your website lately and think your logo looks a bit out of focus? Well, you may need glasses OR you might not be using the correct version of your logo.
Different mediums need different file types to achieve the best looking outcome and consistency for your logo. Its not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. First you need to understand why and how this works.
When your logo (or any piece of graphic design for that matter) is created there are only two types of ways this can be done: Vector or Raster.
What is a Vector image?
In the graphic design world, a vector image is created in professional software such as Adobe Illustrator. Made up of paths, points, angles and curves the program uses mathematic equations to crate clean crisp artwork that can be scaled infinitely. It’s a bit like plotting points on a graph, only seriously sophisticated. A vector image will never loose quality, ever. You can make it the size of an ant or blow it up on a billboard to view if it were on the moon.
What is a Raster image?
A raster image is made up of a series of pixels (little squares) that are joined together in a grid to make up a image. A bit like the way a VanGough works. Up close you can see tiny dots that don’t look like much on their own but standing back and seeing the composition you realise the dots make a picture. In the case of raster, the more pixels per inch (PPI) the better quality your image will be. A raster image can easily loose quality, and scaling up and down can be challenging.
A vector file of your logo will generally be supplied as a .eps (acronym for Encapsulated Post Script) A .eps is the industry standard to supply for professional print use. Unless you have a version of Adobe Illustrator you will not be able to open this file yourself. The .eps is generally used to pass onto other Graphic Designers, printers, sign writers, uniform embroiderers, packaging suppliers, anything to be physically produced would require a .eps for the clearest possible result.
A raster file of your logo will generally be supplied as a .jpeg (acronym for Join Photographic Experts Group, you’ll never need to know that by the way). A .jpeg is used for all other purposes which is anything on screen. Things such as email signatures, placed in word documents, invoicing, social media platforms and of course websites. A .jpeg of the logo can be printed but the quality will be diminished and not as crisp as an .eps. You will be able to open and view and use a .jpg file format without the use of professional software.
So the crux of it is vector (.eps) = print, raster (.jpeg) = screen.
The reason your logo may look fuzzy in print, is because who ever has set up your business cards, flyer or brochure design would have used a .jpeg of your logo. One reason for this is that they may be under qualified and think that is general practice, the other reason may be that you were un able to supply your logo as a .eps because you only have a .jpeg version. The reason your logo may look out of focus on your website, is because whoever has placed the logo on the site has had to re-size and downsize the logo multiple times which gradually diminishes the quality of the pixels or they were supplied a very low resolution .jpeg logo and can’t work with it. You need to make sure you have complete control over your logo and branding to avoid this in the future.
No Grey Creative’s top tips on how to ensure that you have complete control over your logo and branding:
- Make sure your logo is supplied to you from your graphic designer in an .eps and .jpeg format. Every professional graphic designer will know this and should be a standard service.
- Know your brand colours in their CMYK, RGB and Pantone make ups. If you weren’t supplied a basic style guide along with your logo, ask your graphic designer to supply one.
- Install and use your designated company fonts across all your word docs, powerpoint presentations and invoices. If you don’t know what your designated company fonts are, ask your graphic designer to supply a style guide that includes this.
- Don’t ever print promotional material yourself on on inkjet or laserjet. The colours will never be accurate and will always look dirty. If you have business cards, brochures, flyers etc to be printed always use a professional printer (that doesn’t need to be expensive either). Ask your graphic designer for a competitive print price.
- Double check that your graphic designer is designing anything for print in either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign. If it turns out they are designing for print in Photoshop, it may be time to find a new graphic designer. If they are designing in Microsoft Word or Microsoft paint run for the hills!
- Never supply your logo to anyone (eg a web designer, screen printer) in a Word Doc or PowerPoint slide. This type of software compresses the pixels of your logo and by the time the logo is extracted for its intended use the quality will most likely have been destroyed. Always supply logos in their native form of .eps or .jpeg depending on the end use. And finally…
- Have a professional graphic designer manage all your branding across printed and screen material. That way you can ensure continuity and that you always look professional.
Want to check that you have a vector .eps version of your logo? We’d be happy to look over it free of charge for you. Simply email us your logo and we’ll run the check for you straight away.