Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Going Logo

How would you feel if I treated your logo like this?

Should you include your customer's logo in your presentation?

The jury's still out on this one; just recently a few of my clients have referred to embedding a logo as "a bit nineties". I'd be fascinated to know where this came from, because it seems to have gone viral.

I'm still a fan of displaying the logo; it's a small signal that you've put some thought into personalising the presentation. But if that's all the personalisation you're going to do, it ain't enough.  Both you and your audience are making a big investment of time, so you owe it to yourself as well as them to make it look as though you made the presentation just for this pitch.

I'll deal with personalising the content in another post. For now let's focus on the logo.  Most companies have invested a lot of money and time into their visual identity.  A lot of them have corporate ID manuals that set out rigid rules for how their logo can be displayed.  You're not going to stamp all over that flower bed are you?  No, of course not, because - like people who never move out of the overtaking lane - it's only other people who do that.

One of those other people came to pitch their product to me recently.  The logo at the top of this post came from his presentation.  Know what he was selling? Print and design services.

So just to make sure you don't get mistaken for one of those other people, here are a few play-safe rules for using your customers' logos in your presentations.

Scaling Down=Good. Scaling Up=Bad
When you go looking for your customer's logo, you'll probably start with Google's Image Search. That's fine, so do I.  But make sure that the logo you use is at least as large as you want it to be in your presentation.  If it's too big, scale it down to the right size in Photoshop, taking great care not to alter its proportions.  You could paste it directly into PowerPoint and scale it down on screen, but doing it that way bloats the file size, uses up system resources, and may not look as crisp as a properly resized version.

Never ever scale a too-small logo up by more than around 10%.  When you scale down, information in the image is lost, but Photoshop cleverly smoothes everything out so that it looks fine.  When you scale up, nothing can put that information back.  Individual pixels become large blocks, and it all goes horribly wrong.

Don't take risks with the background

Unless you're very sure of your ground, always put your customer's logo on a white background. Many corporate ID manuals specify allowed background colours - and anything that isn't specified is prohibited. But I've never yet seen an ID that prohibits white.  Don't risk it: white is the safe background.

That doesn't restrict your presentation palette; just make sure you leave a white area that will hold the customer logo.  And please make it look as if it's meant to be there - a floating, closely cropped white rectangle insults your customer's brand almost as badly as a poorly-rendered logo.
Dropping the logo into a lozenge - one of PowerPoint's built-in shapes will work fine - and setting the border to match one of the colours in your customer's logo makes everything look as if it was designed-in.  Make sure the logo has room to "breathe" in its holding shape.

...And don't ignore your own logo
It should go without saying that your own logo deserves the same respect as that of your customer.  But it's amazing how often I see text and graphics that overlap the presenter's own logo.  As a rule of thumb, leave space around any logo equal to the height of one of its principle elements.
Am I being precious here?  Quite possibly, but companies spend a lot of money on their brands, so they may well be equally precious.  You're there to get them to listen to you, not sit seething about what you've done to their logo.

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