Here’s the scenario – a customer or designer sends a file, usually an ad book or something with sponsors and the logos used are pixilated and fuzzy. Often the person who created the piece grabbed a gif or a jpeg from the sponsor or advertiser’s website. In almost every case – these images are low-res and I am asked the question “Can you do something to make it look better?” The answer is usually yes, but it may take some time.

Here is where I look when I am asked to find a good logo:

  1. The first thing I do is look in a folder we keep on our server where we store commonly used logos.
  2. If it’s not there, the next place I look is in our DVD archives. If we have printed something with that logo before, it should show up on a search – providing that the image file was given a name that I can easily find, not something ambiguous like “logo.tif”.
  3. If I have no luck with the first two options, then I go online. There are a couple very good sites that offer high quality vector logos for free.
  4. The fourth place I look, and this one is my personal favorite, is on the advertiser’s website. I don’t go after the low-res jpegs and gifs, but I search newsletters, catalogs, or press releases. In many cases companies post PDFs of printed pieces online, which have high-quality logos on them. If I can find a good logo (preferably vector art) I extract it with either Illustrator or Pitstop.
  5. As a last resort, we can recreate a logo from scratch in Illustrator. This is the most time consuming and therefore most costly alternative.

So, don’t settle for poor quality logos for your printed project, there is almost always a way to make a low-quality piece look sharper and more professional.