You will probably need to save at least 4 files. You may need many more than that.
You could use just one file for the web and print versions of your logo. Make sure the Document Color Mode (File menu) is CMYK. Whenever you need a raster version (GIF or PNG) just use File > Save for Web. That will let you save a RGB file at any resolution you want.
Now, you may notice that the Illustrator file is CMYK but the exported web graphics are RGB. This means Illustrator is converting the CMYK to RGB. You might prefer to have better control over that and define your colours in RGB. This means you will need two files, one CMYK and one RGB. Other than the different colour models, the files would be identical.
You will probably need to produce a black and white version of the logo, for laser printing, newspaper ads, or fax forms. Now you need three files because you’ll need that black only version for such jobs.
You will eventually run into situations where you want the logo reversed out of black or a dark colour. The colour logo may not work against all coloured backgrounds, so a simple white version will be required. Now you have four files.
If the logo will be reproduced using spot colours you will need a spot colour version with the colours defined so that, when printed as colour separations, each colour prints on its own. Furthermore, you may find that the same spot colours look different depending on whether they are printed of coated or uncoated paper. This means at least one spot colour version (if appropriate) and perhaps two or even three, for a total of five to seven files.
I have been responsible for creating and maintaining logo libraries with even more varieties (such as a light grey and a dark grey version), often multiplied by the various ways the logo is arranged (vertical, horizontal, with or without a tagline, with or without shaded effects). It is not unreasonable to have over 20 files just for one company’s logo.
This brings up the issue of a graphic style guide. This is a short booklet that shows how the logo must be used (minimum size, required space around [usually defined as a function of a component in the logo], restrictions to background colours) and which version is appropriate for which use. This is a requirement for large libraries of logos. Without it, people will use whatever file they want and may interpret such a large pile of logos as a lack of organization, rather than a well defined identity.
Thanks Scott! Wow! Very helpful information. I have a lot to learn. Maybe I can apply what I learn to more than just our (my wife and I) logo. Print has always confused me. Hurts my brain sometimes <g>.
So with all these different versions, do they have to all be built from the beginning? For instance, I may want a black and white version (good point!). Can Illustrator turn a color version into black and white or would it not look right. I would like everything to look the same and doubt I can do things the same way twice.
Make whichever colour version (RGB or CMYK) you like first. All except the RGB version should have CMYK colour mode. Once you have one, just change the colour mode, if necessary, and change the colours, saving as a new file (File > Save As) for each version. You do not have to receate the artwork for each logo.
The black only version might be made by just changing everything that’s coloured to black, but it might not. For example, here are two logos for Nintendo…
Making a black only version of the first logo is easy, but how would the second logo look? Most likely it was never intended for black only printing. But if it ever came up, just changing the colours to black wouldn’t work. A designer would probably need to fill some parts with black and add a black stroke and white fill to others.
One other thing to watch out for is the use of white instead of transparency. Considder this logo…
Looks fine, right? But it I turn on Illustrator’s transparency grid (View menu), I see a problem…
If I use that logo on a coloured background, the white circle eclipsing the black circle will show as white, not as transparent.
Window > Pathfinder. Select only the two circles, click the second button (Minus Front) and presto! Transparency corrected.
Feel free to post an image of your logo for any tips that can help. Either make a screen grab of the logo or use Save for Web to save a PNG and add it using the Camera icon when you make a new post.
It would also help me to know how you plan to use the logo in print.
Scott, you have not mentioned a web hex numbered version. Aside from an RGB version, wouldn't a hex numbered version be appropriate for the internet as well? Just a thought.
Huh? Web Hex numbers are just a method of addressing RGB values. An RGB image is the same thing.
Unless you are referring to the web-safe colour palette. In which case, kindly return to 1998 when it was last relevant.