The Fastest Way to Make a Ton of Logo Files

Tutorial
September 15, 2018

There is really no way around it. Creating logo packages is often like raking leaves with a toothpick – especially if your approach is to create logo files one at a time.

If you’re making logo packages manually like this, you can say goodbye to an hour or more of valuable design time and hello to eye-watering boredom, because it’s going to take forever.

I made logo packages one by one for many years. Big fat 100+ file packages too. It was always a painful step in an otherwise creative and rewarding process. Making logo packages this way came with a host of other problems too — accidentally overwriting files as I duplicated them, having to name each file manually, recoloring artwork over and over…

Fortunately, there is a way you can make dozens of logo files in all the formats you need fairly quickly, and I’m going to share it with you in this post.

Instead of packaging logos one at a time like a neanderthal with sticks and stones, you can use Illustrator files with multiple artboards to crank out dozens of logo files like an android on steroids.

It’s pretty easy too. Here’s how you do it.

Create one Illustrator document to export print logos and and another for digital logos

You don’t need to make them at the same time, but it’s important to have both. Your document for print logos should be set to the CMYK color mode. The print document will include both CMYK and Pantone logos. The file for digital logos needs to be set to the RGB color mode.

Setting these color modes is crucial because your color mixes for CMYK and RGB will be altered depending on the color mode of the document. You may have a beautiful red with values c=0 m=100 y=80 k=0. In the CMYK color mode, everything is perfect, but if the document color mode is RGB the values are now c=1 m=100 y=79 k=0. The same is true for RGB values.

I’m going to start with the CMYK document for print logos.

Comparison of the same color in CMYK color mode and RGB color mode

Name your logo file with your client’s name or prefix

In later steps we will be labeling our artboards so that our logo files will be perfectly named upon export. You’ll want to name your file with your client’s name so that it is always the first part of the file name when we export.

Set up your document with multiple artboards

These artboards should be no bigger than 4 inches square. 4 inches is bigger than any standard logo really needs to be. 15 artboards is a good number to start with because it accommodates most of the permutations your logo is going to have, but you may have more or less depending on your needs.

New document window in Illustrator

Make a separate artboard for every logo variation you need

Variations include things like the logo’s configuration or layout, its color scheme, and color gamut. Here is one possible set of variations.

Configurations

  • Full logo
  • logotype
  • logo mark

Color Scheme

  • full color
  • one color
  • reverse
  • grayscale

Color Gamut

  • CMYK
  • Pantone U
  • Pantone C
  • RBG

Label artboards according to your naming convention

When you export these artboards, the resulting files will contain the artboard name. Naming them using your logo file naming convention is a hack to ensure that all your files are already properly named when you export them. If you don’t know how to name your files, read my post about the best file naming convention for logos. Your clients will thank you. Here’s an example of how I label my artboards.

Artboard panel with artboards labeled using logo file naming convention

Copy your logo into every artboard

Your logo design should live in an entirely different document than the documents you are creating to export your logo variations. Open up your logo design file and copy the artwork into the document you’ve created with multiple artboards.

It’s important that you copy the artwork from one file to another instead of dragging an illustrator file into the export document from finder or placing a file in your export document. Artwork that is copied in can be modified, dragged or placed files cannot.

If your logo artwork comes in larger than the artboards, just scale it down. Like I said before, 4 inches is plenty big enough for almost any logo — especially since we’re dealing with vectors.

Here’s a pro keyboard shortcut for pasting your logo into all of the artboards at once:
Shift + Option + Command + v on Mac
Shift + Alt + Control + V on PC.

Logos pasted into every artboard

Recolor your logos according to the artboard labels and remove unnecessary components

Apply your CMYK and Pantone colors to the appropriate artwork.

If you need help picking Pantone colors, read my post about the fastest way to convert CMYK or RGB to Pantone — you don’t even have to use a swatch book.

Color the one-color versions of your logos black and the reverse versions of your logo white. If your logo contains a mark and a logotype, you’ll want to have artboards for just those components as well. Delete the necessary components so that only the appropriate components remain on their corresponding artboards.

You may also have redundant logos. If your logotype is black for example, you won’t need a one-color and full-color version of the logotype because they would be identical. Delete any redundant logos as well.

Recolored artwork with unnecessary logo components delted

Delete empty artboards

Since you will be exporting all the artboards in your document as separate files, you need to delete empty artboards so you don’t end up with a bunch of blank files. Unless you like playing tricks on your clients, then go for it.

You can easily delete all the empty artboards by selecting “Delete Empty Artboards” from the flyout menu in the Artboards panel.

Artboards panel flyout menu displaying Delete Empty Artboards

Resize artboards to fit the logo artwork

Right up there next to blank files on the list of annoying things to find in a logo package are logo files with huge amounts of blank space or padding around them. When you or another designer has to place your logo file into InDesign or some other design application, the last thing they want to do is to crop in on your logo. You can ensure that your artboards are fit snuggly to the artwork they contain by going to Object > Artboards > Fit to Artwork Bounds.

Artboards resized to fit artwork

Export AI and EPS file formats using “Save As”

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…super speedy logo exporting!

There are a few methods for exporting multiple files at once. The first is using “Save As.” To save every artboard as its own Illustrator file, select File > Save As then choose Adobe Illustrator (ai) from the drop-down menu.

After you click save, an Illustrator options window will pop up. You need to check “Save each artboard to a separate file,” the choose the “All” radio button and then you can click “Ok.”

Illustrator Options panel

You can use this same trick with EPS files. Follow the same steps, except choose Illustrator EPS (eps) from the format dropdown in the save as dialog and then select the “Use Artboards” checkbox directly below. You will also want to select the “All” radio button.

Save As EPS window with Use Artboards checked

Export PDF, SVG, JPG, and PNG using “Export for Screens”

Export for screens is a fairly new tool in the Illustrator toolbox. It’s a suped-up version of the old “Save for Web and Devices” window. You can find this window by navigating to File > Export > Export for Screens.

Here’s another pro keyboard shortcut (you’re welcome):
Opt + Command + E on Mac
Control + Alt + E on PC.

The Export for Screens window has two tabs, Artboards and Assets. Make sure you are in the Artboards tab. Then follow these steps.

  1. Select the “All” radio button to ensure all of your artboards are exported
  2. Choose a directory to export the logos to
  3. Add whatever formats you want to export by clicking the “+ Add Scale” button near the bottom of the window
  4. Enter your client’s name in the “Prefix” field

DON’T FORGET TO ADD YOUR CLIENT’S NAME IN THE PREFIX FIELD. If you don’t do this you’ll have to manually add it to dozens of files. Save yourself the headache.

Export for Screens panel

After you export all of your print logos, you need to repeat the steps for digital logos using the document you created in the RGB document color mode.

Organize your logo files

You should now be sitting on a fat batch of hot-n-ready logo files. The only thing left to do is organize them all into a concise and meaningful folder structure. I wrote a post about how to create just such a logo package folder structure. Give it a read. You can even download my pre-made folder structure for free.

The process I’ve described above should drastically improve your logo-package-making efficiency. If you’d like a head start on implementing this process, you can grab my print and digital logo exporting templates right now.


Logo Exporting Illustrator Templates

Speed up your logo packaging process. Download Illustrator templates with ready-made and pre-labeled artboards for exporting print and digital logos.

If you want to turn the speed and efficiency dials up to 11, check out Logo Package Express.

It creates robust logo packages with dozens — or even 100+ logo files — in under 5 minutes. And they’re all automatically named and sorted into an easy-to-use folder structure to boot.

Logo Package Express 2.0 box.

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