Darron Watson


A quick guide to supplying images for artwork

posted by Darron Watson June 22, 2016 0 comments
Pixel v Vector Large

I’ve put together a quick guide on supplying images for artwork to help ensure your finished design looks as crisp and sharp as possible when it comes back from the printer. The last thing you want is your design to be let down by images that look as though they were created for a Commodore 64 screen! It’s so easy to avoid, however I still notice it quite often on posters and banners, especially at exhibitions and festivals I’ve attended. Your designer should warn you if a file is not of good enough quality before sending to print and this guide should help you to understand.

I would strongly advise against grabbing images directly from the internet, in addition to the potential issue of copyright infringement, these images may also not look as good as they do on screen when they are printed. This is especially noticeable when printing fairly large posters or banners and the image or logo has been blown up – imagine trying to stretch something the size of a stamp up to A4 – the quality is going to suffer. The images below compares a 300 dpi image (standard print resolution) and a 72 dpi image (standard screen resolution) to show the difference in quality you would expect if these images were printed at the same size.

Above. This is what we want! At 300 dpi your image will print crisp and sharp. Edges will be smooth and not pixelated.

Above. This is what we want to avoid! At 72 dpi your image will print blurry. Edges will not be smooth and will be pixelated.

Therefore when supplying an image always send in the highest resolution you possibly can, even if this means using a file-sharing website. Quite often when you email an image from your phone or desktop it will compress the attachments – uncheck this option and where possible send full res files.

Images should be supplied in a TIF or JPEG format, these are pixel based files. Logos and other icons are best supplied in EPS (Encapsulated Postscript), AI (Adobe Illustrator) or SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphic) file format, these are vector based files. By supplying your logo as a vector it is possible to scale the logo to large sizes without any loss of quality whatsoever. The person who designed your logo should provide you with a vector version. The image below compares a pixel circle on the left and a vector circle on the right, if we were to zoom in on the pixel circle we would see it is built up of lots of square pixels, whereas the vector one is a smooth path.

Pixel v Vector


Pick Print

posted by Darron Watson June 16, 2016 0 comments


A fresh new logo design for Pick Print. More news on this project will be on my website very soon.


What is a good logo?

posted by Darron Watson June 7, 2016 0 comments
What is a good logo?-01

Humans have been branding for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians left their mark with hieroglyphs over temples and tombs, farmers have branded their cattle to denote ownership and even cavemen were leaving their marks. The late nineteenth century saw the dawn of large corporations that required a unique trademark to distinguish their product from an inferior one, to help build trust with an increasing consumer market. Since then logos have become commonplace in the world – we’re surrounded by them. So how do we create logos that work and connect with our audience? Here are five (or six) pointers that are useful to consider when designing a logo.

By keeping a logo simple and not over complicating the design, allows it to live long in the memory. If I were to ask you to draw the logos of some of the most successful brands in the world such as Nike, McDonalds or Apple you would probably be able to sketch them out pretty clearly from memory. That’s because they are unique but not trying to show too much.

Successful logos are the ones that people will remember after only glancing at them briefly, this is achieved by being simple, yet distinctive. The London Underground symbol is a perfect example of this.

Trends in design come and go. But unlike fashion trends, building a successful brand identity relies on familiarity and longevity. Don’t follow trends, you want a logo which will still look good in five, ten, twenty, even fifty years.

Today a successful logo needs to work across a wide variety of applications. It may need to work: at a small and large scale; for embroidery; in single colour; on a dark background; for horizontal and vertical output. When designing a logo think about and show how this will work.

Some companies, such as MTV or Google even deploy logo systems which are taking advantage of advances in technology – in particular on TV or the web, which means a logo doesn’t have to be the same every day, it can evolve within the original logos framework, for example Google’s logo online will look festive on Christmas day. These systems are becoming more and more common with online organisations today.

Receiving bad news from a lawyer whose letterhead reveals a logo set in a cartoon typeface, with multi-coloured lettering and a childish backward ‘S’ would probably not feel appropriate to many people. Any logo design should use appropriate typefaces, colours and/or symbols which are relevant to the business that it represents.

One of the reasons we brand is to gain trust and this goes beyond logo design alone, a logo does not need to show what your business sells, (the Mercedes logo doesn’t have a car on, there’s not a book anywhere in the Penguin logo), a logo is quite simply an identification for a business or service.

As Paul Rand said.

Only after it becomes familiar does a logo function as intended; and only when the product or service has been judged effective or ineffective, suitable or unsuitable, does it become truly representative.


Working with a graphic designer

posted by Darron Watson May 13, 2016 0 comments
Working With A Graphic Designer-01

Finding the right graphic designer to work with on a project can be a daunting task. You may have no previous experience working with a graphic designer and might not understand what services the designer or design agency can provide. You do a search online for graphic designer or design agency in your area, hit return and your search engine gives you thousands, if not millions of potential results. The information below gives useful advice on how I approach a project with my clients and will help you find the right designer to work with.

It’s important to be clear about what you need the designer(s) to do from the beginning. Not all design is the same and graphic designers may not be able to do everything that you need. Explain what it is that you require – whether it’s a new logo design, new leaflets, packaging, or a brand new website – complete with animations and a new custom typeface. The designer(s) can then let you know whether they are able to offer these services. You should also be clear about your timescales and budget for a project to ensure that you and the designer are both comfortable with the terms.


Once the information for the project has been gathered and the project has been discussed it’s time to write the brief to give the job real focus. I generally issue a starter questionnaire, which is designed to get as much information about the project and the client as possible. This is then followed up with further questions to make sure nothing has been overlooked. The brief is then written and agreed upon by the client and designer. At this stage a quote can usually be issued too.


Once the brief has been agreed the fun part can begin. This process can vary slightly depending on what is involved but generally the process involves, researching, mind-mapping, sketching, generating ideas then drafting up the best concepts in whichever design package necessary. These ideas are then presented to the client in an appropriate way. Some designers might present many ideas, some might present just one – again this can vary depending on the project/designer. Often at this stage work is not finished, but should give you a clear feel for the final outcome.

Once the designer has presented their work and explained the ideas behind it, it is now time for the client to review and feedback in relation to the brief. This should be a two way process the designer should listen to your concerns and make amendments as necessary. Equally if the designer has any concerns about the changes the client should listen to these suggestions – after all you are paying the designer for their professional opinion as well as their technical ability. Hopefully this process should be fairly straight forward, because the brief was well written and agreed by both parties at the beginning.

Once the preferred option has been decided and the changes have been agreed upon, it’s time for the designer to work through these and present their work again. There could be a number of revisions before the final version is signed off, but once all work is finished the designer can then supply all artwork files once final payment for the work has been received.

It’s worth mentioning that a lot of designers will ask for a down payment upfront before work begins, which might be 30-50% of the final fee, this is to stop time wasters and people messing designers about. Not all clients ever intend to go through with the job to the end and use designers just to see what ideas they can come up with.

Do your research, find a designer, view their portfolio and send them an enquiry. Most designers will get back to you quickly and are genuinely helpful, they will let you know if it’s something they can do or not and may even recommend someone who might be able to help if they can’t.


These D&AD Pencil winning designs prove there is still life in print. Things may be moving more and more towards digital, but strong direct marketing like this can have a huge impact on it’s audience. To view and read more about this work for Mercedes Benz, Vanguardist Magazine and Nando’s on the link below.