July 3, 2018
Choosing a Dog Training Logo: What to Know Before Paying a Designer
Every business needs a logo. But how can you choose which designer to work with?

graphic designer sitting at computer; blog post on dog trainer logo design

So. You need a dog training logo.

Every business has one. But you don’t know where to turn or what to look for. Well, I’ve heard from several people just like you recently — people looking for a logo for their dog training business.

When you decide to pay a designer to create a logo for your business, it can feel very high stakes. A lot of business owners think they only get one shot at choosing a logo design.

But, frankly, that’s untrue.

Big brands redesign their logos all the time. So, if in a few years you decide your logo isn’t a good fit for your business anymore, you can always get it redesigned.

That means if while starting out all you can afford is a logo maker program or to a family member with an artistic eye to create something for you, that’s actually okay. Granted, I’d recommend being careful about hiring family if their feelings will be hurt if you redo it later, but other than that… no harm done.

It’s perfectly okay to get a cheap logo now and upgrade it later. Just be aware that when you upgrade, you’ll need to re-purchase anything with your logo on it (business cards, t-shirts, hats, signage, etc).

It’s also okay to invest and get something that you know you can use for the long term. It’s up to you to make the decision that’s best for your business.

That said, there are a few things that ARE important to get when hiring someone to make you a logo for your dog-related business.

Ask for the right file formats for your dog training logo

The single biggest mistake I see people make when they buy a logo on the cheap, is not getting the right files from their designer. Often, they get (or only save and keep track of) one image file of the business logo… and often it’s the logo on a white background in a relatively small file size.

When you get files from your designer you want to make sure they include the following:

  • A vector file (this file will end in .ai or .svg)
  • A .jpg (or .jpeg) file in a size you can use in printed materials (so maybe 4×5 inches or so)  at 300 dpi
  • A “web-ready” file (usually a .png or .gif file)

Vector files

A vector file is a file that can be resized without losing clarity. Usually, when we look at images, our computer sees them as made up of lots of tiny squares (pixels). If you make the image too big, those squares get bigger and become visible (i.e., the image becomes “pixelated”). A vector image is different. Computers actually see vector images as solid shapes and lines. This means on a computer with the right software they can be made as big or small as you want it to be.

Vector images can be printed banner sized or shrunk down for a business card. But you need special software to manipulate vector images. So you want to get a few other file types too.

Other file types

Your .jpg file will likely be the file you use most often. It’s what we’ll call our “print quality” logo file. When you print an image, printers actually make lots of tiny dots (sort of similar to how computers use pixels) and dpi stands for “dots per inch.” Magazines typically print at about 300 dpi. But computers can only usually only render up to 72 dpi. So, for computer files, we use a “lower resolution” image. This is especially important on the web, which I’ll get into in a minute.

Really, if your designer prefers to provide you with a high resolution image in another common file type, that’s ok too. It’s just important to have at least one high resolution (300 dpi) copy of your logo in a file type you can open on your computer.

In addition to having a high resolution version, you’ll want a “web-ready” version. This should be a small file, usually 72 dpi. While .jpg is ok, ideally you’d have a .png or .gif file. This will be the file you use for your website.

Regardless of file type, the important thing is to have a high resolution and a low resolution version of your logo. You’ll also want to make sure you have a version with a transparent background, so that you can have it printed on black or on white… but more on that in a sec.

Ask for color and black and white versions of your logo

At different times, you’ll want to print your logo on different background colors. That means you’ll want your logo in your business colors, in all black, and (likely) in all white. Think about how the logo will look on a white background, on a black background, and on a color background. Make sure you like how it’ll look.

This gives you the most options when it comes to design for things like t-shirts, business cards, and your website.

Consider asking for Stacked and Horizontal versions of your dog training logo

A “stacked” logo design is simply one where all of the pieces of your logo are stacked one on top of the other. So maybe you have a picture of a dog, with words underneath the image. It can also be a simplified version of your logo (like the f for facebook).

A horizontal logo is simply a logo that is wider than it is tall. So the image part of your logo would be side by side with the words.

If your logo is more than one word, then in the horizontal version they’re likely all written out in one line.

This is so that if you have a space (like your navigation bar on your website) that is long and thin, you can use the horizontal version. But if you have a space that’s tall (like maybe on a hat), you can use a stacked version.

Having both allows you to maintain your brand’s design even in different places, while also making it as large and legible as possible.

Now, if your logo is basically a circle or basically a square and is very legible even at a small size, you may not need this… but for most logos, I’d recommend it.

One last tip: Know what you like before asking someone to create a dog training logo for you

The very first thing I do before designing a logo is ask my client to pick out 3-5 logos they really like. I share a Pinterest board I have full of logo designs and inspiration.

I’ll use the things they select to get a sense of their style, and what style of logo might appeal.

For dog training logos specifically, I’ll ask for a few pictures of their dog. I’ll likely use these as inspiration pictures too, because dog trainers tend to love having their own dogs in their logo. Then I’ll put together a few concepts for them, and iterate on their favorite designs until we land on something we both love.

Every designer has their own process, though. So be sure to ask when you get a quote so you know what you’re getting for your money.

Have questions? Leave them in the comments — I promise to respond! 


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