Much of the time working with clients you’ll be given their logo artwork in vector format (AI or EPS), often times with additional information such as colour or font requirements. Lovely.
However, the more projects you work on over time you’ll soon realize that these are “perfect world” situations and don’t always include time restraints (can we have a proof by tomorrow?) or perfect communication (I’m not sure why the CTO isn’t responding?) or perfect knowledge (I’ve sent you my 15kb logo from my website 3 times now, what more do you want?).
I’ve been put in this predicament innumerable times and have found in some cases, it’s just easier to go after what you need yourself. In fact, once your technique is masterful, you can save time, communications, and headaches for both you and your client!
Firstly, be warned that this tip can yield all sorts of results. You are the one that has to have the knowledge and expertise to determine what you’ve found, and to what extent you can rely on or use what you’ve found. More on this later.
Use Your Expertise
Say you’re to create a few shirt designs for a client that needs them for an upcoming event and they are unable to quickly give you a vector copy of their logo for one reason or another—and they only send you a low-res JPG of their logo. Sure you could send them crappy low-res proofs back saying “well that’s what you sent me to use”, or you could step-up and show them design proofs which go beyond anything they thought was even possible from that tiny graphic they sent you.
In some cases this tip below can save you a bunch of time (communications mostly) and therefore save your client a good chunk of money.
Google-Fu To The Rescue
You’ve searched for client logos before with google images—sure. At times you’ve even found hi-res JPGs that you can use for proofing designs—okay. But have you ever used google’s image search to track down company EPS or AI files? Likely not seeing as google images doesn’t return vector-based results directly.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and a google search for “company name logo vector” will yield a brandsoftheworld.com or similar result where someone has created the brand logo in vector format. But still, are those the latest versions of the logo? Are those fonts traced or outlined? Are those CMYK values correct? If you’re going to be creating production ready artwork for a client you need to be sure.
So the tip is to ask google to return the logo you’re after in vector format, and preferably from a result officially released by the company.
Find The Vector
Skip google images and just use google search with the modifier “filetype:pdf” sans quotes, like so: company name filetype:pdf. Note how you’re not searching for the words logo. This will in almost all cases return PDF’s from (or about) the company you’re looking for. Yes, you could be more specific and include a site or domain but I’ve rarely needed to.
Okay, so you’re looking at a page of PDF search results, now what?
I middle-click (to open in a new window) three or four of the top ten results with the most promising titles (titles which also affirm they are officially released by the company) and let them load.
I then flip over to the newly opened tabs and quickly scan the now open PDF with just a quick flick of the wheel mouse. Nine times out of ten the logo you are looking for will either be included on the cover page, or page 1 of the document. If you don’t see something promising within 5 seconds, close the tab and check the others.
I See The Logo!
There it is! You can see the exact company logo you’re after right in front of your eyes—yeah, celebrate! Nope.
Just because you’ve happened upon a PDF from what looks to be a reliable source you still need to know that the PDF file you’re looking at was even created correctly. To get that perfect vector result you’re after you need to verify what you are looking at is indeed vector-based artwork created from a vector-based file in the first place. You’ll just be wasting your time if you proceed from this step without first verifying you’re looking at vector artwork. In fact, roughly 50% of the time I find a good looking version of the logo I’m after, it’s nothing more than a raster-based image used in the creation of the PDF file.
Figure It Out, Quickly
With the PDF open in your browser simply hit CTRL+ numerous times—this will zoom-in on what you’re looking at. Go ahead, overdo it. Enlarge it by 1000% if you like.
If the logo is truly vector-based (and what you’re after) then what you’ll see on screen is still razor-sharp and clear! Any pixelization or blurriness tells you to close the tab and move on to the next PDF result—otherwise, save the file locally.
You’re The Greatest
Without having to contact anyone, with only typing a few words, with only a few clicks and keys pressed, you’ve successfully got your hands on a vector copy of the logo you need… and often in a matter of minutes. Happy dance in your chair and realize that your client is going to be blown away by the high quality proof you’ll be sending their way!
You’re Not The Greatest
This tip of finding vector-based logos (or other artwork) via google isn’t really meant to bypass or be better than receiving the proper artwork from your client in the first place. You should always get the proper artwork from your client for numerous obvious reasons.
I use this trick while waiting for the client to send the proper files, so that I can provide to them high quality proofs within 24 or 48 hours.
You can outperform expectations (quality-wise and time-wise) by providing high-quality proofs, and then swap the correct logo file into your designs (and update artwork with the correct colour values) when they arrive.
Be aware your “happy dance” vector-result may be:
– not up-to-date
– not the correct colour values
– not following the company guidelines for correct use
– not a true outlined version of the logo font
– a password protected pdf
In conclusion there will be many factors that go into whether or not you even consider using the above “tip”. For my workflow, and with my experience, I sometimes use this technique. I wanted to share it with you so you then could decide if it’s a technique that may help you.