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Life Health > Running Your Business

Own your brand

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Without a doubt, the most important image you should have on file is your logo. Your logo is your company’s most identifiable mark, and it is found on every marketing piece from your website to your letterhead.

Surprisingly, many advisors don’t have the appropriate logo files they need. Many only have low-resolution versions of their logo and rely totally on their graphic designer when a high-resolution version of the logo is needed. This is a sure path to problems in the future.

Your company’s brand is too important to not have total control of your logo. Your designer may have created your logo, but you should have full control over these files. This means having versions of your logo appropriate for different applications and owning the rights to use it.

Get scalable versions. Your logo can end up on small items like pens and business cards, but it can also be blown up into larger-than-life proportions. If you need your logo for a tradeshow exhibit, a billboard or just a poster or banner, you need a version that scales up well.

The best solution is to get a vector file of your logo from your designer. Vector images can scale up or down without any loss of quality or even a change in file size. Using one vector graphic file, you can make a one-inch square image for a business card or a 30-by-30 foot image for a billboard. Usually the file will end with an “.ai” or “.eps” extension. You shouldn’t be surprised if you can’t open these files, because they require special software such as Photoshop or Illustrator to open them. You might not need it immediately, but having a vector file of your logo will save you from headaches in the future.

Get different versions. Because your logo may end up on several different media, you will need different versions of your logo on file. Aside from the full color version, you will need a black and white version for materials printed in a single color, such as newspapers. You will also need both color and black-and-white versions on a white background, a black background, a transparent background and possibly other colors that match or complement your logo.

You may also need different file types for the different applications of your logo. For the web, the file types that work best are jpeg (“.jpeg,” “.jpg”), gif (“.gif”) and portable networks graphics (“.png”). For larger applications, the same files work with the addition of tiff (“.tiff,” “.tif”) and Photoshop (“.psd”). If you have a vector version of your logo, it will most likely come in Postscript (“.eps”) or Illustrator (“.ai”) format. Different vendors may ask for different file types and you need to have at least some of these files on hand.

Get a style guide. Your logo is your brand’s most prominent symbol, and every aspect of it has to be exact. Aside from the logo itself, your designer needs to address a few other things. These specifications make up your identity guidelines, often called a style guide, and they specify how your logo can and should be used. These include the minimum sizes of the logo in different applications, the different elements of the logo, as well as their proportions, the exact colors used in the logo, as well as the background, the fonts used and the amount of empty space surrounding the logo.

Get ownership. When commissioned to create a logo, many designers will attempt to maintain ownership of their work and try to sell usage rights to their clients. To avoid any future problems, make sure that you own the rights to all logos designed for you by carefully reviewing the contract. You don’t want just the exclusive rights to use your logo–you want to own your logo. This is, after all, your company’s identity. Fortunately, many designers will make an exception, handing over ownership while maintaining rights to display your logo in their portfolio.

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Kristen Luke is the principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for registered investment advisory firms. For more information, visit


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