I just had someone design my logo, and when I try to place it on a vistaprint business card the logo came with a white background already making it look real odd. I just wanted the logo itself so when I place it on any background it would be that color. Is this common? Is there a certain format to ask for, because I will be using this logo for business cards, website, merchandise, promo items, banners etc. The logo was also too small and looked even worse when I made it bigger because of the white background.
Congratulations on your first logo.
You will likely deal with more contractors in the future, so allow me to explain some fundamentals so you can ensure you get what you need in the future.
These are your every day digital images. Bitmaps are comprised of tiny squares of color (pixels) that together form an image.
If you have a 200 × 200 pixel image and you attempt to render it at 300 × 300 px, it will suffer a loss of fidelity (blur) because a lot of pixel information is missing.
You’re working with a designer, and she asks for a headshot for the team section of your website. In this instance, you will want to send her the largest image you have—let’s say 1000 × 1000 px.
For her design, she may resize the image and end up only using 400 × 400 px for the image. When you downscale the image, you willingly give up pixel information—but the image fidelity will likely be a lot better. (No missing information, just sacrificed information.)
So while you may be able to see a single strand of hair in the original 1000 × 1000 px image, the 400 × 400 px may not show that—but the image won’t be noticeably blurry.
You need a 16 × 16 px icon, which only has 256 pixels of information. At these sizes, it becomes exponentially important those pixels be deliberately placed—rather than interpreted by downscaling a larger image, which can cause blurring at very small sizes.
Ah, the good stuff. These "images" are actually mathematical instructions (points, curves and shapes) that can be rendered by a graphics application like Photoshop or Illustrator.
The process for creating these images is a lot different, but the salient advantage of vector is the image can be rendered at any size. For this reason, it’s imperative logos be finalized and delivered in a vector format.
Based on the visual acuity of the human eye, 300 dots per inch (DPI) is the standard for high resolution prints. If you need a 40" × 20" poster with your logo on it, that’s 40*300 × 20*300 pixels... that’s a 12,000 × 6,000 px image you need for a high quality poster print.
That’s a pretty large bitmap!
With artwork in a vector format, it’s a simple matter to export your logo from Photoshop or Illustrator at 12,000 × 6,000—or even 120,000 × 60,000 px.
"Is there a certain format to ask for, because I will be using this logo for business cards, website, merchandise, promo items, banners etc."
You should make sure (before working with the designer) that you will receive the original artwork in Illustrator’s .AI, and .EPS just incase future contractors or printers don’t have Illustrator.
I would also recommend asking the designer to provide a few sizes for your ease of use, e.g:
- Full color, 1000 × 500 px .PNG with transparent background
- Single color, 1000 x 500 px .PNG with transparent background
- Full color, 300 × 150 px .JPG on white
- Single color, 300 × 150 px .JPG on white
It’ll be up to you figure out sizes make the most sense—but don’t be afraid to learn how to open, resize/crop and export images yourself. It will go a long way to not have incorrectly sized or blurry images when you need to make a good impression for your business.