Don’t try this at home

Category : Branding, Musings & Thoughts · No Comments · by November 3, 2014


There are loads of things that I believe should be tried at home as personal DIY projects.

I’m a big fan of DIY. But there are some things that are best left to the experts. Logo Design and Graphic Design is one of them…

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked to use a poorly designed logo that was created in Word or PowerPoint. Granted, I could make a living out of the number of PowerPoint ‘logos’ and ‘business cards’ I’ve had to fix in a last resort to supply a print ready file to the printers.

But to save you time and the inevitable, here are a list of reasons why not to attempt your own logo or business card using PowerPoint, Word or less than basic Photoshop skills:

  1. The image will need to be 300dpi - dots per inch. PowerPoint is primarily a presentation program which is viewed on screen at 72dpi. Word is (oddly enough) a word processing program that focusing on formatting words and letters. So think about it, why would you use a word processing program and a presentation program to create a visual identity? Don’t do it.
  1. Your image needs to be in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) to be printed at a Litho (Lithographic) printers. Should you need 500 cards or more, Litho is more cost effective and is always the more accurate printing process when compared to instant Digital Printing. When printing on paper, you should stick to CMYK or Spot Colours. Screens are viewed as RGB (Red, Green, Blue). Ergo – a presentation is viewed on a screen and therefore your presentation program (PowerPoint) will use RGB. Word focuses on documents containing many many words…which are usually in black and white…no real concern for images or their colours…RGB. Word and PowerPoint work in RGB. Don’t do it
  1. Unless your document has a generous amount of white space all around the edges, your document will need BLEED. After your business card is printed it will need to be cut….by a guillotine….that often doesn’t cut completely straight. Imagine trying to cut a stack of 20 sheets with a pair of scissors – your cut pages will not be the same size. Guillotines are a million times better than scissors and reduce the error to a micromillimetres. Which might not seem like much, but when you were wanting a slick, elegant black business card you do not want white outlines to your cards. Word and PowerPoint don’t give you the option of bleed. You could think out of the box and fake it but even after 10 years of experience – I don’t have that kind of patience.
  1. Just because you own a copy of Photoshop does not mean that you have 4 years of training and 10 years of experience in the ins and outs of the programs capabilities. Did you create a document at 300 dpi? Did you include at least 3mm of bleed? Will your text print as crisply as possible when you flatten and save it as a Jpeg?
  1. And considering all of the above, and quite a few secrets that are only ever learned through trial and error, you’d still like your logo or business card to be well designed with a professional look.

You could invest in professional design programs at around R10k a pop, a basic 3 month course to learn to use the programs and wait for your printer to reject the design because they didn’t cover pre press tricks and tips in your course.

Or you could hire an experienced designer who will put energy, focus, creativity and experience into designing a beautiful and appropriate logo, business card, flyer or brochure using the array of professional design programs at her disposal…and that are accepted by ALL printers around the world.

Save yourself time and money and focus on what you do best – running your business and selling your product. Leave the design work to the designers.

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