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How to Create a Pixel Perfect Logo for Your Brand

    Updating your logo for a business or other organization is very common: Large corporations update their logos every few years, and even small companies eventually find a need to change their logo to meet new needs.

    In today’s digital world, one of the common reasons to update a logo is to make it “pixel perfect.” That’s not just a general term of praise – it refers to very important aspects of a logo’s scalability and similar important features.

    Does your business need to worry about a pixel perfect logo? Let’s take a deeper look at just what this is referring to, why it’s important, and what sort of design steps can make a logo pixel perfect.

    Perfect Logo for Your Brand

    What Exactly is a Business Logo These Days?

    A business logo is a single image that can represent the business in memorable ways no matter what medium the business is represented in. It’s specifically visual, and typically contains a combination of shapes, colors, and words to define the business. Logos can be very simple, like just a single word or abbreviation, or they can be more complex – but they shouldn’t be too complicated, and should always be easy to use.

    An effective logo is designed so that it can be used anywhere, and can help businesses make many additional design decisions. That’s really important in today’s world, where businesses need unified representation on social media sites like Facebook, hiring sites like LinkedIn, advertising boards and pamphlets, signs on brick-and-mortar buildings, and much more. The logo needs to remain relatively the same across these different mediums, so that viewers can easily recognize the business at a glance. A good logo can also inform decisions about website color schemes (which can be derived from the logo), font choices, and more.

    A logo shouldn’t be confused with a brand: Branding refers to a business’s overall messaging, tone, communication methods, marketing strategy, and all types of interactions. The logo is just a part of the brand – but it’s a very important part.

    How Can Logos Be Pixel Perfect?

    “Pixel perfect” is a vital quality for a modern logo. As mentioned above, logos are used on different mediums: That includes many social media platforms, websites, email signatures, mailed flyers, and much more. A logo should be designed as efficiently as possible, with a high-resolution design and very clean look so that it can be easily scaled between different sizes, from say just 40 pixels for a social media profile to 15 feet wide for a business sign. That means there should be plenty of pixels, and every single pixel should be in the right place – hence the name.

    When a logo is pixel perfect, it can be quickly scaled to whatever need is at hand, without needing time-consuming and costly redesigns. That makes the feature a priority for any new logo design.

    Not all logos can reach complete pixel perfection, but they should at least be optimized so that scaling them up or down for various business needs isn’t an issue. Let’s look at some of the ways that can be done.

    How to Create a Pixel Perfect Logo

    So, if you are revamping an old logo or creating a new logo entirely – or working with a design company to do so – what can you do to help make sure a logo is pixel perfect, or as close as it can be for future use? These tips can help while creating the new version of your logo:

    Start with a simple, clean design: When first planning your new logo, focus on simplicity. Generally, the simpler and cleaner a logo design is, the easier it is to assure it’s pixel perfect. The more complex the design, the harder it will be to turn into a scalable version. It’s also helpful to limit the number of colors and shapes: That’s why many modern brands are just a company’s name or primary symbol in an inventive, memorable format.

    Stay away from thin lines: Thin lines are dangerous in logos. They can create too much detail and make pixel perfect status hard to achieve, often blurring as an image is scaled up and down. To avoid making lines too thin, always have lines set an even number of pixels, and make a rule to never go below sale, 2 to 4 pixels for line length.

    Use a pixel preview tool: Pixel preview tools allow you to easily examine an image at the pixel level and look for flaws or problem areas. The best, to little surprise, is probably the Pixel Preview tool in Adobe Illustrator. You can’t really make pixel perfect improvements without a tool like this.

    Study curves and vector paths: These can also be problem areas where edges may get a little hazy due to lazy pixel control. In these cases, it’s time to zoom in and sharpen up images, removing edge case pixels that are unnecessary to make images cleaner.

    Snap pixels to a grid: Pixel Preview and similar drawing tools should also have an option to “snap” pixels to the pixel grid when drawing or moving objects around. This is absolutely necessary when creating or updating a logo to be pixel perfect, and should be one of the features that creators turn on first. For example, Adobe Illustrator uses a clear toggle called Snap Pixel in Snap Options that you can turn on at any time. This ensures that pixels will stay properly aligned without having to go back and check them every time a change is made or a new line is drawn.

    Preview in different formats: Another useful feature that tools like Adobe Illustrator offer is to look at your image in a “rasterized” version, or how it would look as a published graphic. This is a great way to check if the end result is what you need, and to spot any obvious problems that are going to spell trouble when scaling the logo later.

    Make sure it works in black-and-white: Don’t forget to make a black-and-white version of the logo, too. Sometimes monochrome versions can reveal new issues with bleeding grays that will make images look poor when scaled too large. This may need to be addressed if the logo is going to be published in black and white.

    Experiment with scaling: When an image is ready, run it through some testing. Export the image in common formats like JPEG and scale it up and down, then examine the result. Use design platforms to scale the image up to sign or flyer size and watch for inconsistencies or problems.

    What Should You Do After Designing Your Logo?

    Once a logo has been updated to be pixel perfect, there are a few final steps to take for the best results. Don’t forget these!

    ● Make sure it’s universally compatible. Export your logo in the best formats possible for publishing or printing. It’s good to at least have a universal format for web use, and a high-resolution format to send to printing companies. You may also want a version that’s made for future editing, like an Adobe file. Remember, different platforms may have different format restrictions, so it’s important to be flexible. If you are working with a designer, make sure you get master copies of the logo in all file formats you may need.

    ● Plan the rollout. Update your logo in all locations. You don’t want any signs of your old logo left when finished. That means replacing every instance on your website, every social media profile, the email templates you use, and more. It’s best to have a plan for this or at least assign it as a dedicated task, otherwise some logo locations may go overlooked. The rollout should happen everywhere at roughly the same time, so customers don’t see both logos at the same time if possible. If your logo includes major changes, you may want to send a post or email to customers explaining why you have changed it so they know to expect it.

    ● Trademark it. It’s important to trademark your logo, and it’s a big part of protecting your intellectual property. If you’ve made significant changes to your logo, you should also update your trademark to reflect that. Now no one can legally copy your logo and use it for other purposes. It also helps prevent issues with someone potentially creating a too-similar logo in the future.

    Bottom Line

    Today’s logos need to show up in many places, including emails, social media profiles, company graphics, signs, and more. That means that scalability is vital: Logos should still look perfect whether they are sized down to a small box or enlarged for a billboard. That’s where pixel perfect quality comes in, and a number of practices can help – especially taking a close look with tools like Adobe Illustrator.

    When your company has updated its logo, don’t forget to plan a coordinated rollout, and check your legal standing to see if you need a new trademark. Now you’re ready!

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