For further questions, requests or help, look below for appropriate contact avenues.
Graphics, Advertising and Apparel
Coop Web Builder
Ordering of print materials (Extra, Power and Hope, Service Excellence, etc.)
- RASTER OR VECTOR
Raster images use colored pixels or individual building blocks to form a complete image. JPEGs, GIFs and PNGs are common raster image types. They are used for their low file size and respectable image quality on the web.
Since raster images are constructed using a fixed number of pixels, they cannot be dramatically resized without compromising image quality. When stretched to fit a space they weren’t designed to fill, their pixels become visibly grainy and the image distorts. This is what produces pixilated or low resolution images. It is important to properly size raster files at the dimensions needed to produce crisp image quality.
Vector images, allow for more flexibility. Constructed using mathematical formulas rather than pixels, vector file types such as EPS, AI and PDF* are used for creating graphics that frequently require resizing such as logos, typography and illustrations.
*A PDF is generally a vector file. However, depending how a PDF is originally created, it can be either a vector or a raster file. Whether you opt to flatten the layers of your file (in Photoshop) or choose to retain each one will determine the image type.
It is important to save a copy of master source files regardless of raster or vector. This allows for easy resizing for large or small applications without losing the source which can be saved and stored for further use.
- HIGH OR LOW RESOLUTION
To determine whether your raster images are a suitable resolution for a specific application, you need to check their pixel density. Units of measurement such as dots per inch (DPI) or pixels per inch (PPI) refer to the number of pixels in one inch of the image. These measurements become important when you attempt to use raster images in specific places, such as on the web or in print publications.
The web, for instance, displays 72dpi (72 dots or pixels per inch) – a relatively low pixel density. Raster images with 72dpi look crisp on the web, but may not be suitable for print uses as they require a 300dpi minimum. Resizing low DPI images pulled from the web for print will not work well and will be pixelated.
Vector images can be printed for any size as long as the original source file is used to resize the image to the necessary print specifications and saved for that.
- FILE SIZE / EFFICIENCY
File sizes for web should be small to ensure fast loading time. Images generally should never be over 1 mb and saved at 72dpi. Print requires larger file sizes to produce high quality prints. The larger the print piece, the larger the file size will be. Hi-res images should be used and saved at 300dpi.
- ASPECT RATIO, IMAGE CROPPING / RESIZING
Aspect ratio is simply a measurement of a photo’s width to height. It is important to note that different aspect ratios equate to different photo sizes.
Images should be cropped and scaled properly. By using the provided infographic, the proper aspect ratio can be determined and used. In Adobe Photoshop, one can enter an aspect ratio by selecting the crop tool (C – shortcut) and entering the ratio in the top left corner of the program. In all Adobe programs, proportionate scaling / resizing can be done by holding the shift key while resizing a selected image. Another method of image resizing can be done in Adobe Photoshop by going to Image – Image Size and entering a new size. To ensure proportionate scaling, the chainlink icon between the width and height must be clicked and linked.
Aspect Ratio 3:2 7:5 5:4 6:5 4×6 2.5×3.5 4×5 20×24 6×9 5×7 8×10 8×12 16×20 10×15 12×18 16×24 20×30 24×36
- FILE EXTENSION TYPES AND BEST USES
JPG (or JPEG) is a raster image used for photographs on the web. JPGs can be optimized while saving to create a low file size but crisp image quality. JPGs do not allow transparency and non rectangular designs will be saved with a white rectangular background.
Best use = rectangle or square photos and photographs.
PNG is a raster image type. PNGs can also be optimized while saving and do allow transparency which makes them a popular choice for logos, and non-rectangular designs.
Best use = logos, icons and other images where a transparent background is preferred.
GIF is a raster image type. A GIF is formed from up to 256 colors from the RBG colorspace. The less colors and shades contained in an image, the smaller the file size. GIFs are ideal for images with few colors and do allow transparency.
Best use = simple web graphics such as web buttons, charts and icons.
TIF (or TIFF) is a large raster file. TIFs are used for high quality images and photographs and used for print purposes. Images for web should not be saved as TIFs.
Best use = images and photographs for high quality print.
EPS is a vector file of a graphic, text or illustration. It is used mainly for its cross program compatibility between vector and raster programs. An EPS file can be reopened and edited.
Best use = master logo files and graphics and print designs.
AI is a vector file type that can only be created or edited with Adobe Illustrator. It is most commonly used for creating logos and illustrations.
Best use = creating logos, graphics, illustrations.
PSD is a raster file type that can only be created or edited with Adobe Photoshop. It is most commonly used for photo retouching / editing and simple advertisements.
Best use = photo retouching / editing and simple advertisements.
INDD file is a vector file that can only be created or edited with Adobe InDesign. It is most commonly used for multi-page layouts for booklets, magazines and brochures.
Best use = multi-page layouts for booklets, magazines and brochures.
IDML is a file type saved in InDesign for compatibility for older versions of InDesign.
- FILE SHARING
The most common mode of communication and file sharing in the workplace. Useful for files under 10 megabytes as most email systems will not allow anything over 10 megabytes due to the strain on their system. Zipping or compressing these files can reduce file size and improve email speeds.
An online file sharing and personal cloud content management service for businesses. Useful for collaborating, uploading large files of various file types and archiving past projects.
Similar to Box.com, Dropbox.com is another online file sharing and personal cloud content management service geared towards individual storage and archiving.
FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol and is used to transfer files across computers through third-party software clients, such as FileZilla, Fetch or WinSCP. In addition, there are web browser based FTP clients that require no installation of third party software such as WeTransfer.
Registered Google users all receive and have access to Google Drive which enables personal cloud storage, file sharing, storing and archiving projects.
- EDITING VECTOR FILES
Vector files such as AI, EPS, INDD remain editable through Illustrator/InDesign. Images that contain text that are saved as a JPG, PNG or GIF are not editable without going into the original source file, PSD or AI.
Saving in “outlines” is used to lock text. The program, AI or INDD, creates a vector outline of the text box, which in turn deletes the font associated with that textbox. This is useful when the file is sent to another place or to a printer where the recipient does not have that font. Note that once outlines are created, the text becomes uneditable without recreating another text box and text.
To create outlines in Illustrator, right click on a text box and select “Create Outlines”. In InDesign, you would select a text box and go to Type and select “Create Outlines”.
- TYPOGRAPHY AND FONTS
To obtain the Oswald and Modum fonts, please contact the Touchstone Energy national team for further direction and instruction. Installation of new fonts is simple—double click on the file and click install. These fonts possess different weights. The ones used by Touchstone Energy are detailed in the typography section of this brand book.
- OUR VOICE
“Touchstone Energy Cooperatives” must be used when using the Touchstone Energy name in its first instance. “Touchstone Energy” may be used in subsequent instances. Touchstone Energy should never be referred as “Touchstone”. In addition the acronyms TSE, TEC, TE should not be used with members.
With “the power of human connections” as our tagline, we strive for a national voice that is warm and inclusive – less corporate and more cooperative in tone.
- NON-STANDARD CO-BRANDED APPLICATIONS AND USES
A Touchstone Energy Cooperative or Your Touchstone Energy Cooperative
Note on use of “Partner”:
We recognize that a few of our Touchstone Energy members are not identified as cooperatives, so that this co-branding can create confusion. In those circumstances, the use of “A Touchstone Energy Partner” or “Your Touchstone Energy Partner” is allowed.
We also recognize that some cooperatives use the “Partner” designation throughout their cobranding. For consistency in the co-brand across our membership, we would strongly recommend that cooperatives begin to move their branded materials to the approved language, but we understand that this can be a costly process and will work with you to find alternative solutions.
- CO-OP WEB BUILDER
For more information and questions about Co-op Web Builder and it’s program:
Email: [email protected]
- OTHER APPLICATIONS
Questions regarding other applications should be brought to the Touchstone Energy national staff as these applications exist on a specific case by case basis. These applications include:
- Stationery and business cards
- Vehicle and truck wraps
- Touchstone Energy Balloon Program
- Alternative application printing
- Costumes, mascots