Disclaimer: for this tutorial, I have used the Duke University logo as an example. Please use this post as a tutorial for sharing designs and not for how to use the logo. For full details on how the Duke logo should be used, please refer to the Duke Style Guide.
As a designer for the Duke Innovative Design Agency, I have had experience designing logos, T-shirts and posters for organizations at Duke. I have corresponded with apparel companies about designs many times. I even help my friend’s mom, who works for a custom merchandise company, with designs she is sent. Often, customers send her designs she can’t translate into prints because they’re missing some key characteristics. To help you (and the company you’re using) the next time you have a custom design, I’ve written a checklist! The program I am using is Adobe Illustrator CS6.
☐ Outline text
☐ Outline stroke
☐ Save in the right format and version of Adobe
☐ Save with a strong title
Here’s the logo we’re going to use
This is the Duke University logo. “Duke” is typed in Garamond and “University” is typed in Interstate. If you don’t already own these fonts, you must buy them. Duke allows its students and faculty to download the font from here. However, if you wanted to send this to a third party, they may not have the font. If you sent the file to a third party and they did not have the font on their computer, then the logo would change. Your font (in this case, Garamond and Interstate) would be replaced by fonts on the other computer. To prevent that from happening, you must outline the text.
This is how you know if text hasn’t been outlined and is still editable:
Note the blue line under all of the text
To outline it, select the text, go to Type on the top menu bar > Create Outlines. Your text should look like this when highlighted (a series of anchor points like any other object):
What if your logo has a stroke? Below you’ll find the same Duke logo but with a stroke (or outline) around the letters:
You’ll know if the stroke is part of the object, instead of being outlined as its own object when you click on an object and only the object is highlighted (not the stroke):
To send a design to a third party, you need to outline the stroke once you’re happy with the thickness in relation to the object. Often, merchandise companies may need to scale your design to the right size so they can make the print onto the merchandise you’re ordering. Depending on the settings of the computer, the proportion of the stroke to the object may change during rescaling. It could go from what we have above to this:
Note how the lines are much thicker when we scale down the word Duke. It’s because the stroke is remaining the same weight (thickness) but the word is smaller. To outline the stroke, go to Object on the top menu bar > Path > Outline Stroke. Now, your image should show highlighted outlines around the object AND the stroke:
Note the blue anchor points around the black objects and the red stroke.
Save in the right format and version of Adobe
Sometimes people you’re collaborating with or merchandise companies will own a different version of Adobe programs than you own. The version on the Duke MPS Lab computers is Adobe Illustrator CS6. If someone you’re sending the design to has an earlier version, you’ll need to save your file as an earlier version so that they can open and edit the file. In addition, some merchandise companies may ask to put the file in an .eps format or save with another file extension. To both save with a different extension and in an earlier version of Adobe, go to File > Save or command + s on a Mac and ctrl + s on a PC. A menu like this will pop up:
Click the drop down menu next to format. In this image, it says “Adobe Illustrator (ai).” In that drop down menu, you’ll find other options. To save it as an .eps file, choose “Illustrator EPS (eps).” Then, click Save. Then, another window will pop up called EPS Options that looks like this:
The first option on this menu is labeled “Version.” Click the drop down menu there and choose the version you need to convert to. Then, click Save and you’re done!
Save with a strong title
Finally, make sure your document has a strong title. The title should clearly describe the document as concise as possible. If sending the document to a company, it would be useful to put your name or the name of the organization in the document name. It would be useful to also put the purpose of the document (logo, shirt, flyer, etc.). For example, I named the document I used for this tutorial Duke Logo.
√ Outline text
√ Outline stroke
√ Save in the right format and version of Adobe
√ Save with a strong title
Use this checklist and make communicating designs with other people easier!