Protecting Your Corporate Image and Market Identity

Entrepreneurs, especially small business owners, are usually too busy running their companies to find time to study marketing principles. Sales and service are priorities, so although you wear many hats, the ones for image consultant or marketing 101 are buried deep in the back room. Matching graphics in print and online provide a familiar look which helps prospects remember your company.

How can you take control of your corporate image in the least amount of time? The following tips will provide practical advice for maintaining a consistent look in print and online without wasting a lot of time becoming an expert. Your logo is the central element of your market identity. Learning a few buzz words will help you protect it and take control.

Your Logo
Having a company logo professionally designed with a unique symbol or stylish text may not be in your budget. Some small business entreprenuers are happy with their name in simple text in a specific color which is okay. Advice is provided for both situations.

Tip #1: For a simple text logo, make sure you know the font name so you can tell a web designer or printing company your specifications for the font. For color, the first time you have something printed ask your vendor for the RGB values and CMYK values for that color. Record the font, RGB, and CMYK specs for future reference.
* Note: You do not need to know the technical details of these 3 terms. Your printer or designer will know.

Tip #2: For a complex or full color logo, having actual artwork is critical to protecting your business. If a designer is unwilling to give you the artwork, you may want to try another designer. Do-it-yourself software preloaded in most computers is usually inadequate for techncial reasons. Your actual artwork should be created using vector art graphics software. Affordable vector art programs are available if you do decide to create a design.

Why Vector Art?
Artwork for print is usually flat art in JPG or TIF format, and a flat version of just your logo will include a solid background (usually white). For more professional results, you need vector artwork because a transparent background gives a new designer more options for placing your logo. Vector art is layered art that includes everything used to create your logo except each element within the design is assembled, and may be disassembled.

Tip #3: Ask the designer for your logo artwork on disk or emailed, and exported in two formats: AI for Adobe Illustrator and EPS format without embedded fonts. Either version should be acceptable for any future marketing projects, and having the digital file protects your interests in the event the original designer closes, moves, or you need to change sources for any reason.

Tip #4: Upon receiving your vector artwork, send a quote request to another company to confirm the new supplier can use what was provided for business cards, brochures, car magnets, or some other promotional marketing material you may be considering for the future. The file types suggested are common, so immediately verify the artwork is suitable before you actually need it. It may not be an issue. Check now and avoid regrets or added expense in the future.

Your Image in Print or Online
Knowing the buzz words for specifying your corporate image will make ordering marketing materials easier and less time consuming. Most printing or web designers will ask about your logo, so now you are prepared to give them what they need.

Simple logo: Tell them the font name plus the RGB and CMYK values for the color.
Complex logo: Say you have the logo as vector art exported to AI or EPS without fonts embedded.

In conclusion, protecting your logo and corporate identity is important. If a customer has your business card, brochure, stationery, or print ad, and visits your web site, your image as a professional company will be enhanced with a consistent look and color scheme.