I recently commissioned Denise Tombs, of den@zen (www.denatzen.com) to create my NZ Writing Services logo. Here are some insights from Denise on how she designs logos and newsletters. She also explains a crucial difference in the set up of files for offset printing processes and for online use.
When someone comes to you with a request for a logo or any other design project, what information is it most helpful for them to provide to you?
I meet with clients at the start of the design process to learn:
You generally provide about four logo designs for your client to choose from or adapt – how do you come up with those designs?
First, I sketch out some ideas – this can be based on the image the client wants to work with.
I look online to build up my ideas, then I go back and revisit my original sketches and modify them. The design always gets modified again once I start creating it in my software.
I am also thinking ahead with logos – whether the design will work on clients’ stationery, and whether it is being designed appropriately for printing processes.
I realised through the process of developing my logo, that the look of the words is as important as any symbol used. What elements do you consider to be important when designing logos?
I like the use of white space. I don’t recommend cramming in too much information, or too many colours or fonts. Don’t over-crowd - keep it simple, but effective.
One role of a graphic designer is to create a professional finish. This often involves simplifying an image for a cleaner look. Choosing an appropriate font for the type of logo or business is also important.
I also consider how the image is going to reproduce in both digital and offset print, and for online usage.
Clients can significantly influence the direction of a design, if they have strong personal preferences about the text and images. Sometimes this can result in a more old fashioned design, but if that’s what the client wants, that’s fine, provided they have had the opportunity to consider alternatives. In the end, everyone has their own personal taste.
You work with quite a few businesses to prepare their newsletter for printing. What elements do you work on when designing a newsletter?
Layout is important to ensure a newsletter is presented well. I think through how the newsletter will be folded after printing to avoid having a fold crossing high impact headlines and images.
I also ensure the colours are set up correctly, depending on whether it’s for a small digital print run or a large (CMYK) offset print run.
Businesses now have the choice of using a printed or an electronic newsletter to communicate with their clients or customers. In what circumstances is a printed newsletter a good option for a business?
A lot of people still like to sit and read printed matter. A print version is ideal to hand out to new clients if you are still building up an email database.
A lot of businesses still post out a newsletter with invoices.
I like to encourage clients to include a note on their hard copy newsletter about where people can access an electronic version. I can supply this electronic document (in pdf format) for a business to send to their clients.
How is design for print different from design for electronic media, such as websites and social media?
Colour displays differently on paper and card, compared to on a screen. In addition, everyone’s computer monitor displays colour differently. For this reason, it really is important to see a colour swatch if you are getting something printed.
Printing processes use CMYK and the Pantone Matching System, whereas online electronic files use RGB colour systems. The design can generally be the same, but the building up of the file is different – files for the printing press need to be able to separate out the colours for the press.