vector logos

When sending a file to your printer, always be sure to convert all your text to outlines.

Here is a scenario.

You’ve got a design for a new tradeshow, banner stand, flyer or even something as simple as a business card.  The design is perfect.  You love it.  You (or your designer) have spent many long hours on the project, matching colours and making sure sizes and bleeds are up to spec.  Making sure it fits your company and your brand.

You’re given the green light (or you give the green light), and send it off to print.  You notice your printer accepts a few different file types (.ai, .psd, .eps and so on).  Great.  Your file is already an .ai file, as you made it in Illustrator.  (Maybe .eps, you get my point.  These tips should be used even if you are sending your file as a pdf.)

Text to Outlines

This is how it looks on your computer.


After sending it off, you wait patiently for a screen proof to return from your printer.  It shows up, and you notice when you open the file that either some, or all, of your fonts have changed.  It’s all wrong.  Or, better yet, your printer comes back and asks for you to convert your text to outlines.



Text to Outlines

How your file is seen on another computer.


What happened?

Fonts on your computer are specific to your computer.  Yes, quite a few are installed by default on most computers, like ‘Times New Roman’ or some ‘Arial, but there is no guarantee that the font you’ve used will be universal.  Even if you use ‘Garamond’, your designer or printer might have a slightly different (ie: ‘Adobe Garamond Pro’) which might cause unnecessary font substitutions.

Their program (ie Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, etc…) will automatically fill in a substitute font in place of yours, which is not something we want to happen.


So what can you do?

After your files are tweaked and perfected, just before they’re ready to be sent to your printer, you can convert all your text to outlines.

What does that mean?

Short answer, it makes all your text into shapes.

** Please note that this means it will no longer be editable, so save a back-up of your file with the text preserved for future use.  There is nothing worse than opening an old file to update a minor text entry only to find that everything has been flattened. **

To do this, depending on your design program of choice, takes two easy steps.

I am going to use Adobe Illustrator, but the steps work for InDesign too.


Text to Outlines


First of all, select all of the text in your file (Ctrl+A, or the top menu Select > Select All).  Nothing will happen to any other objects, so do not worry about selecting everything here.  If you’ve set-up you file so that all your text is on one layer, even better.


Text to Outlines


Secondly, select Type > Create Outlines from the top menu.


Text to Outlines


You will notice the base line for the type is gone, and the letters are now outlined.  They are no longer editable text, and will retain their appearance.


Text to Outlines


Now you can send this file for printing.  Simple.

Aside from sending files to your printer, converting text to outlines is a must for creating logos or corporate identities.  There is no telling who will end up needing to put a company’s logo in a design, or what fonts may or may not be installed on their systems.

Think broad, stay fresh
You may have noticed that many large corporations are rolling out new logos lately; Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc. While it may not seem like much to think about, these corporations regularly refresh their logos, and so should you. Here are a few things to consider:

Modern Media Adaptations

Can your logo be easily incorporated into digital media, such as your website or on social media? If not, it might be time for an update. Besides having a standard logo, you may also need an icon to be designed for use in smaller spaces.

A Change in Business

All businesses change over time, if they don’t it’s likely that they won’t survive. As your business changes it may not be in line with your logo; a change can help to realign your marketing strategy with your business and help it look towards the future.


Logos help to tell people about your business. While a mom and pop store may get away with a logo designed in-house for the first few years, any business can benefit from investing in a professionally-designed logo. Designers know what colours, typefaces, and sizes work for best visibility and impact to ensure that you get compliments (and business) as a result of your new logo.


If you admire your competitor’s logo more than your own, it’s time to do something about it. Likewise, if you don’t love your current logo it’s also time for a change. While it may seem silly, a good logo design can work wonders for a company’s reputation and visibility.



Simplicity and Modernization

Trends in logo design change, so sticking with a logo that is 5 or 10 years old can quickly date your company and make it feel as if they are behind the times. A simple, modern logo can identify your company, tell others what your business is about, and attract attention. A new logo design can be prepared to work across both digital and print mediums, so you can incorporate it into emails, online newsletters, etc., to get even more value.

Designing a great logo is no simple task, so look for a good logo designer who can show you a portfolio of design concepts that are in line with your business’ brand and values. Don’t settle for second-best, investing in a great logo now will benefit your company for many years to come.

If you don’t have a vector based version of you logo you should!! You can quickly order a vector version of your logo by visiting the ‘Logo Vector Conversion’ section of our web site and uploading your logo, within 24 hours you’ll have a vector based logo sent to you via email.

A logo that’s in vector format can be scaled to any size and retain its crisp, clean quality which is important when you’re printing vinyl banners or trade show displays.  Most logos that are supplied to us are in jpeg or gif format which is bitmap or raster based and is dependent on the resolution of the image. I’ll quickly outline the difference between vector and raster based files.

Bitmap or raster images are made up of pixels; the resolution or number of pixels per inch (dpi or PPI) effect the quality of the printed look of the image. Images on the internet are usually 72 dpi, images in a printed brochure should be 300 dpi. The example below shows a small inset logo that is 72 dpi, beside it is an example of what it would look like if you tried to enlarge it 4 to 5 times.

An example of a 72 dpi rastor or bitmap image.

An example of a 72 dpi rastor or bitmap image.

Vector based graphics are scalable to any size and are defined by mathematical equations rather than pixels. Vector graphics are also much easier to edit; colour, lines, fills  and outlines can be individually changed. Vector based graphics are not dpi or resolution dependent which means they can be 1″ x 1″ or 10′ x 10′ and still be the same quality. The example below shows a small inset logo that is 72 dpi, beside it is an example of a vector version enlarged 4 to 5 times.

An example of an enlarged vector based image.

An example of an enlarged vector based image.

Every company should have a vector version of their logo if they’re creating signs, printed banners or trade show displays.  It’s surprisingly inexpensive to have one created and you can convert your logo to vector for as little as $30.00.