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Graphic Design Tips: October 2007 Archives

Very often, clients will provide logos that are copied straight from a web page and wonder why they look so cruddy enlarged to any size larger than a postage stamp. Without resorting to eye-glazing descriptions of the difference between raster and vector art, you have two choices - trace the logo or find a suitable vector version. Now I am a huge advocate of not creating work for myself, so I generally lean towards grabbing from PDF documents posted around the web. It's also better for you to find an 'official' version than a recreated version, as some people have tender feelings about the sanctity of their brand.

(You can also find quite a few logos at brandsoftheworld.com - this is a technique of finding those logos you just can't seem to find anywhere)

For example, we needed a logo for AIG Investments with "AIG Global Real Estate" as a footer. A quick search of Google with "AIG Investments filetype:pdf" turned up quite a few PDF documents, most of them were press releases and such. After downloading a few and not finding the correct logo, I tightened up the search with "AIG Investments global real estate filetype:pdf". Bingo! The first result was a two page profile of the Global Real Estate division of AIG Investments. Drop that into Illustrator, delete all the extraneous information, and I had my official, vector logo.

The key to this search is to use the filetype:pdf modifier of the search. This will return only PDF files, which generally will contain vector information. From time to time you just will not be able to find the logo you want no matter how long you search - or you will find only a raster version. In rare instances, the PDF will have a no-edit security placed on it and you won't be able to open it in Illustrator (there are ways around this, however).

However, this technique beats recreating the logo from scratch. Why do all that work when someone's already done it?