It is 3AM, you are at your desk nailing down the finishing touches of a design that had gone out of scope and crazy late. For many designers, this happens often enough that you have an expectation of this upon the first client meeting. You are a designer and this is the voodoo you do so well. The account executives never stay past 7PM, so you have long ago realized they are worthless after hours. You are a designer, alone in the studio, music blaring at 3:15AM. [sigh.]
3:20 AM: You have been spinning plates for fifteen hours, you have stepped through every curve ball pitch with a patient, powerful swing. This project is going to go over the fence no matter what! You reread the end-of-day emails to discover an oversight—it happens—They need all of their partner logos to be included on the project, and there is a stuffed file named ‘projects-logos.sit’. You unstuff the file… They are all 80 pixel-wide GIFs the client so thoughtfully pulled from their partners’ sites. [double sigh.] Unfortunately for you, now 3:30AM, this is a print job. Your job scheduled to print at 8AM, and there is no money in this budget to delay your press time. You are on your own to wrangle clean vector logos to finish this job.
This is not your first time at the rodeo. You are going to have to source all thirty of the logos yourself. In all other scenarios, I would recommend asking for the logo from the respective partners directly. A company’s marketing or advertising departments are going to be fluent on their brand standards. They know if a tagline should be applied or not, the clear area, and latest edition of their mark. Given the situation I have illustrated where the deadline is extremely tight, I would make sure everyone involved knows that you are going to have to source a logo and get every applicable eyeball on the mark as quickly as possible.
So at this hour, you most likely do not have access to client, account executive, or the partners given that it is 3:45 AM. A first place I would go to is BrandsoftheWorld.com. This site is my favorite resource for logos. Whether for layout FPO, or finding one-color, PMS, or 4-color logo options. One of the most important items to look for when you find the appropriate logo, is verify who supplied the logo. Sometimes logos submitted to this site are by other designers, who maybe under a similar deadline as yours opted to recreate the logo. Avoid these whenever possible. Verify the logo status to see whether the logo shown is active or discontinued. Review the submission date. If the logo was posted four years ago, chances are the logo may have been retooled since. Be cautious of logos over one year old. Let’s face it, not every business with a logo is known outside of their direct area. If this resource fails to offer results, you can use…
Two methods I use often are through specific keyword search. Simply searching for [client name] + “logo” is not an effective way to find those hard-to-find logos. Two keyword searches that I prefer to use are:
[client name] + “brand guide”, or [client name] + “brand standard”, or [client name] + “logo usage”
These variations take keywords one would find in a brand standard, prepared for distribution to maintain consistent branding across all business units.
[client name] + “PDF”
This is a super-sneaky approach to find a logo, but it is very effective. A business brand mark may be impossible to find via the previously suggested methods, but oft times they have posted a press release or annual report, ran an ad in a tradeshow pub, created a brochure or downloadable advertorial. These are often prepared by fellow designers and will likely include a vector logo. You can download the PDF and open specific pages in Adobe Illustrator.
Use the Direct Selection tool (the white arrow) to select corner points of layout. Adobe Acrobat usually applies an overall mask. Select a point and hit delete a couple of times. Try selecting logo with Selection tool (the black arrow). Is there still a mask binding the logo? If so, use the white cursor tool to carefully select a corner node and hit delete twice again. Repeat until you have only the logo on the page, free of masks. You’re good to go!
By now, you are either placing logos on the final part of the project, or recreating the mom & pop logos by hand [bleggh!]. Either way, I hope these tools are getting you out of the studio early enough to be able to catch a few hours of sleep.