I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago on how important it is to have a vector-based logo. But, I think there still needs to be some clarification on how to get your hands on one. If you don’t yet have a logo and are working with a designer right now, then you’ll probably be fine! Just double-check with them that they’re designing the logo in Illustrator or another vector-based program and you can relax. However, like most established businesses, you probably already have your logo and may not have it in vector format. This is where things get a little tricky. If you want to use that logo file on a billboard or poster it might not look good scaled so big. So, you’ll want to have your logo converted (or recreated) as a vector file.
It sounds so simple, right? Isn’t it just a matter of a “Save As”? Unfortunately, no. There are limitations as to how you can convert your file. First, you’re going to need Illustrator (or a similar program). Second, the quality of the logo you have will also come into play. The complexity of your logo is the last factor. Some logos are so simple that the best solution is just to recreate it. If it’s strictly text-based and you have the font then it’ll be done in minutes. But, if you (or your designer) don’t have the font or your logo is more complicated, then you only have two options remaining.
The first is Illustrator’s Live Trace. It’s a powerful tool, but it can only work with what you’ve provided. So, if you place your original file to trace it and the quality is poor (jagged edges, etc.) then the final result will also be poor. It’s not often that this is a workable solution, but it’s worth a try as the last solution is the most time-consuming.
Your last result is to hand-trace your entire logo — piece by piece. It’s time-consuming and takes a practiced hand at Illustrator to do it right. And any designer who’s been in the business for awhile has done it, I can guarantee! When I was teaching Illustrator at Uconn I remember how frustrated my students were on the day we hand-traced a mouse icon, but it was an important lesson for them to learn. And most designers would agree! But, you have to do maintenance work like that sometimes in order for your final product to be perfect.
All of this being said, there’s new technology coming out every day so I wouldn’t be surprised if soon we have the perfect app for recreating your logo as vector art. Let’s hope so! Or, better yet, be sure to get the vector file from your designer to begin with. You’ll be happy to did down the line!