The complete guide to logo printing

Whether you plan to create business cards, produce tote bags for a trade show, or post a new sign outside your headquarters, ensuring your logo has the proper size and format for printing is essential. Logo printing requires a specific file type, size, and treatment depending on the end purpose and the printer’s requirements. So before you add your logo to that trifold brochure or ad file, read through the Namecheap guide to logo printing to guarantee the best results.

Your logo appears in most places your brand is represented, from online directories to your website. It’s also a key component of nearly every item you physically give to people or post somewhere offline. Some of the main reasons you need to print your logo include:

  • To remind customers of your brand. Your logo is only one part of your visual identity, which includes associated shapes, icons, fonts, and colors, too. Your logo helps reinforce this identity by putting your company front and center, helping customers to visually link your products and services to your company better than words can.
  • To easily tie something to your company. A logo is what makes a communication or item from your company an “official” one. As the visual representation of your brand, your logo printed on an item, sign, or letterhead makes it clear from the get-go that this item is a formal part of your business.
  • To reach people in a different way. Logos published online, whether on your website or displayed on social media, reach people in a different manner than those viewed offline. That’s because in-person and digital impressions make up two different spheres of touch points, or transactions (large and small alike), that customers make with your brand. It takes an average of six to eight touch points to convince a customer to make a purchase, so getting your brand out there by printing your logo on something can make a big difference.

Formats necessary for logo printing

Logo printing goes beyond .jpgs. Your chosen items or applications may require different image files. Learn more about the various types of logo files for printing and when you may need each one.

RGB vs. CMYK

Colors can be printed in one of two modes: RGB or CMYK. RGB stands for “red, green, blue,” while CMYK stands for “cyan, magenta, yellow, key.” The word “key” refers to black, which is the color produced when cyan, magenta, and yellow are mixed together. RGB prints the colors close to one another so they look like the chosen color, while CMYK lays color dots over each other to build to the right color.

RGB is used for digital graphics, while CMYK is the standard required for printing. If you’re printing your logo, it likely needs to be made to CMYK standard.

Logo variations

When you create a logo, you should also create several versions, each of which has its own use case. First, begin with the color required for printing:

  • Full color: This is your main logo, and it’s ideal to use it whenever possible across applications. Your full-color logo should be prioritized for business cards 
  • All black: An all-black version of your logo should be used for printing onto light or multicolored surfaces. This way, your logo doesn’t get washed out or overwhelmed by the background.
  • All white: Similar to the all-black logo, an all-white logo stands out against dark backgrounds. You can print an all-white logo on black, navy, dark brown, and other dark-colored papers and objects.
  • Grayscale: A grayscale version of your logo involves printing the full-color version of your logo with black ink, so each color appears as a different version of gray. Some printers may ask for a grayscale version of your logo, while others will automatically apply printer settings to print your full-color logo in grayscale. Oftentimes, a printer will ask for monochrome (the all-black or all-white version mentioned above, without tints) over grayscale for better printing results.

Next, consider the amount of room you have to print your logo. Depending on the available surface size, you may need to go with a modified version of your logo for that purpose. Importantly, the modified version of your logo should still be clearly identifiable as part of your brand, so be sure to develop these variations while initially creating your logo.

  • Full version: The full version of your logo is the entirety of your main logo. This will include your wordmark or lettermark, any shapes that may be in your logo, and your tagline, if it’s included.
  • Symbol or monogram only: This version of your logo drops the wordmark and uses just your symbol or monogram in its place. This is used when there’s enough surface area to print a symbol, but not enough for both a symbol and name.
  • Wordmark only: In some cases, you may only have room for your company name as it appears in the typeface used in your logo. 

File types

In addition to the right color and logo variation, you’ll also need to submit a particular file type so your logo prints correctly. The main file types, raster and vector, identify what the image is made of. Raster images are made up of pixels, while vectors are made up of geometric shapes. Pixels do not change size, so these image types are not ideal for sizing up or printing larger versions. Vectors, however, maintain their integrity as they size up or down. For this reason, vector files are preferred for logo printing.

When it comes time to print your logo, the printer may ask for a vector .eps (Photoshop) file. Oftentimes, high-quality, print resolution-ready .pdf files will work, and so will high-resolution .pngs in many instances. The .png file is also the format you’ll likely use to put your logo onto business cards, letterhead, and other printed applications. That’s because .pngs can be made with a transparent background, preventing a “white box” from showing up around the image.

The bottom line is that each printer will provide you with the file type, format, and recommended logo variation you need for the best results. If you have any questions, ask the company making your giveaways or printing your collateral like business cards or brochures.

How to print your logo on anything

Your logo makes its way onto all sorts of items, from your invoices to company giveaways. Here are seven of the most common applications, as well as some tips for printing each.

Printing your logo on company stationery

Your stationery, such as company letterhead and envelopes, make communications from your company feel official and authoritative. The way you print your logo on these materials depends on the weight of the paper you’re using. Heavier-weight papers may benefit from stamped logos or other elegant treatments, while your office printer is typically sufficient for regular office paper weights. 

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

Printing your logo on apparel and uniforms

There are three major ways to add your logo to apparel: screen printing, transfers, and embroidery. The type of logo printing you go for depends on your budget, the quantity of products, and which application is best for properly showcasing your logo. Here’s a little bit about each type:

  • Screen printing uses a mesh to transfer your logo onto apparel. This method supports multi-colored printing, so your full-color logo can be screen printed onto a company T-shirt or hat. Screen-printed apparel lasts for many washes, too, so you can expect long wear. 
  • Transfers are vinyl stickers designed to adhere to cotton and other fabrics. While they can print your logo in full color with no issues, transfers are not as durable as screen printing and will peel off over time.
  • Embroidery stitches your logo onto your apparel or uniform. While not printed, your logo is still transferred onto the fabric to serve as a guide for the sewing machine. The most durable (and priciest) of the logo application options, embroidery is a great choice for thicker fabrics like those used for polo shirts, hats, and towels.
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Printing your logo on giveaways

Also known as “company swag,” a giveaway is something we get as a handout at a tradeshow, company retreat, or any other occasion that warrants a small souvenir. Common giveaways include water bottles, notebooks, pens, and stress balls, but there are a dazzling array of options from practical tote bags to novelty playing cards.

The way your logo is printed onto these giveaways depends greatly on the swag you want to brand. The size, material, and shape of the product all influence how it’s printed. Here are some of the more common methods that may be used to print your logo onto a giveaway:

  • Dye sublimation printing uses heat to transfer dyes onto plastics.
  • Laser etching engraves your logo onto the item, typically metal or glass.
  • Screen printing transfers your logo onto the giveaway.

Digital printing uses a laser or inkjet printer to put your logo onto a giveaway.

Photo by Rahul Bhogal on Unsplash

Printing your logo on packaging

The main prerogative for printing your logo on packaging is to clearly see your branding. After all, you want customers to easily identify who made the product! 

The color, material type, and weight of the material all influence which version of your logo will be printed, as well as whether the packaging can support full-color printing. For example, if you’re using a dark brown cardboard box, a logo with mostly dark colors may not show up clearly. You may want to consider an all-white version of your logo in that instance. You also want to make sure that your logo does not conflict with any patterns on the package. 

Photo by Daily Nouri on Unsplash

Printing your logo on shipping boxes

Most shipping boxes are brown and made of corrugated cardboard. While there’s certainly variety in color and material, you may face more limitations in how your logo, brand colors, and other assets will appear on the box than you would with other packaging. These same concerns apply when it comes to bubble mailers, poly mailers, or any type of shipping material that doesn’t have a plain white background. No matter which package is best for your product, the main objective is the same: Your logo and branding should be crystal clear.

Photo by MealPro on Unsplash

Printing your logo on business cards

When it comes to printing your logo on a business card, it’s wise to take the paper stock (how thick it is) into account as well as the color of the paper and any finishes you may be applying to the card, such as a glossy coating or spot UV treatment. Generally, you want to allow for space around your logo so it can stand out prominently. Include your contact details on the other side of the card so your logo is given plenty of breathing room and a chance to shine.

Photo by imgix on Unsplash

Namecheap offers a business card maker tool so you can make eye-catching business cards without a design department. Just upload your logo to your chosen card, add your contact information, and wait for your new cards to arrive. The platform offers dozens of designs to choose from so you can pick the one that best suits your brand.

Printing your logo on signage

Signage is another excellent example of “scalability,” or increasing the dimensions of your logo without affecting its appearance or image quality. If your logo still looks good when it prints at a scale that’s several feet tall and wide, it’s a successfully scalable logo. (The same goes for ultra-tiny versions of your logo printed onto much smaller items, like pins or stickers.)

For these applications, a printer will most likely need an .eps vector of your logo. That’s because the original files can be used to export the logo in high enough resolution to accommodate a very large sign. Even though .pdf and .png files can be high quality, printers don’t want to take the risk and would prefer to work with the original file type.

You may also want to consider brand recognition while designing your sign. For example, is it more important to display the full color logo or an all-black or all-white version of your logo against the main brand color? Play around with your options and see which looks best and, most importantly, which is more readable at a distance.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Prepare for logo printing with Namecheap

Using Namecheap’s free logo maker is a cinch, creating a new and original logo in minutes with just a few simple questions. The tool guides you through many options for typefaces, colors, and shapes, generating dozens of options so you can choose the one that best represents your brand. And when it comes time to use your logo on a business card, company T-shirt, or packaging, you can export the file type you need directly from the logo generator. Get started today!


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

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