M&K Junction Railroad

M&K Junction Railroad
Another train of eastbound coal crosses the Cheat River

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Corporate Logos for Sign Making

While searching for corporate and organizational logos to use in making signs for my layout I came across these sites:





On the first two sites there are thousands of logos from all over the world each, apparently, drawn and contributed by volunteers; so they’re all free for private use. There are even some railroad logos in the group. I'll intersperse some examples of logos with the text of this post.

Some of the logos are 'alpha masked', which means that you can use them as transparent overlays over other graphics, like placing them directly on a brick texture to make a painted-on wall sign.

The good news is that these are all in vector graphic formats: Encapsulated Postscript (.eps), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), Adobe Postscript (.ps) or Corel Draw (.cdr). Because these are vectors and not bitmaps (pictures) they can be scaled to whatever size you want and they will still look good. The bad news is that most of us do not have the high-end, vector graphics programs like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw and therefore we cannot readily read or manipulate these files.

That does not mean that you cannot use these files, but you will have to work at it. My copy of Microsoft Word from Microsoft Office Enterprise Professional 2007 will open all of the Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) files. To do this click on the .eps file, copy it, place the cursor where you want the logo inserted into your Word document and then select paste. The logo will be inserted into Word. You can then click on the logo, grab any of the ‘handles’ that appear and resize the picture. Grabbing one of the corner handles and moving diagonally in or out will allow you to resize without changing the proportions of the logo. I don’t know if older versions of Word will open these files.

The version of Microsoft Power Point, also from Microsoft Office Enterprise Professional 2007, will open the EPS files using the exact same procedure. This is the better option as Power Point has better drawing tools to use with the logo you just imported.

Recent versions of the Adobe graphics tools (Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements) will open the .eps files. If you don't have Photoshop, trial versions of this software good for 14 days can be downloaded from Adobe. Before you try this, search the websites above and download all of the logos you are likely to want as you will be working against a time limitation. Once you have Adobe installed, open all of the logos, scale them to the sizes that you will need and then save each as .jpg or some other format that many applications can open.

Once you can read and manipulate .eps files, then next thing to do is to try to convert the Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Postscript and Corel Draw files to EPS.

Download a trial version of Corel Graphics Suite from here:


The trial version is good for only 15 days, so install it only when you have the time to do all of the conversions. Using Corel Draw you can drag n’ drop the .ai files into Corel. If you are asked how to import text, click the radio button to import text as curves doing so will preserve scalability of the drawing. To write the file as an EPS file, choose ‘export’ from the file menu; in the next dialog box give it a file name and select EPS as the file type then click ‘export’; in the next dialog box set the resolution to 300 dpi or higher, and select to export text as curves; the final OK writes the file.

Of course, while you have the trial copy of Corel, resize and print all of the logos that you think that you will need.

Corel will not be able to import all of the .ai (Adobe Illustrator) files; but those that it does open seem to export to EPS correctly. Setting the resolution to 300 dpi makes the resultant EPS file smoother than it would be otherwise. You might want to consider redrawing all of your EPS files at 300 dpi in this manner. Obviously, Corel can read and convert its native .cdr files to .eps using the same procedure. The Corel Suite has an application called Photo Paint, that can do a similar job, but it does not preserve the scalability as well as Corel Draw does.

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