The enemy of designing a good logo is the execution. Present on all your marketing assets, your logo must embody the pride of your brand.
A distorted logo, with stretched text and pixelated colors will not evoke the qualities of your company. If you want your finished logo to impress your customers, it’s crucial to use the right tools and files.
Do you design your own logo for the first time? Here is a guide for beginners, filled with tips on how to create an online logo.
Use the logo files
The source file containing your logo must be an editable image, easy to change or resize. The most common are vector files, consisting of lines and curves.
Vector images can be resized to any size because the relationship between each line and each point is represented by a mathematical equation.
There are several types of vector image files, including PDF, EPS, AI, and SVG.
The other major type of image file is the raster image or “bitmap”. The matrix images consist of a grid of pixels. Their pixels are small enough to give clear images from a distance, but they become fuzzy when magnified.
Common matrix image formats include PNG and JPEG formats.
Many basic image editing programs, such as Microsoft Paint, cannot create or open vector files. Fortunately, you can create vector files for printing and convert them to raster format for web use.
Tools and software for logo design
The logo design tool or proprietary vector editors are the best options available to you to design an effective logo. Both types of software are available in free and paid versions, with variable features.
Logo design tools
The logo design tools are websites or applications created by third-party services. They provide fonts, shapes, textures, and clip art, often suited to everyday industries.
Many even offer templates that you can customize based on your brand. The highlight of logo design tools is that you do not need to be a professional designer to use them. You simply combine the elements without having to make complicated changes; the process is fast and easy. When you’re done, you just have to download the source file.
Graphic editing software
Professional image editing programs can help you create illustrations or merge shapes to create detailed images. The software you need depends on the complexity of your logo.
Consider starting with one of the following programs:
Illustrator is a paid software package that supports vector files and free design. To create a logo, you can join existing shapes or use the pen tool to draw more complex shapes. Illustrator is the reference of professional graphic designers. So expect a steeper learning curve.
Photoshop is a program for editing photos and raster images. For logo design, Photoshop is used primarily in conjunction with Illustrator to add special finishes to images. Another advantage: it is possible to transfer files between all Adobe programs for easy editing.
CorelDRAW is a free design program that can capture the nuances of handwriting. This program is useful for designing an abstract, non-formatted logo from basic forms.
Sketch is a paid design tool that works similarly to logo design tools while allowing vector editing. Designed for beginner and intermediate designers, the app has plugins that simplify the design process.
Inkscape is a free vector drawing software that has a range of pro features, such as calligraphy tools, gradient editors, and text editing. This software is perfect for novice designers who want to create a professional logo.
Vectr is a free graphical editor perfect for designing simple 2D images. Like Illustrator and Inkscape, this software includes basic tools for hand-drawing, editing vectors, and adding filter effects.
GIMP is a raster image editing software that you can use to compose and edit images. More robust than programs like Microsoft Paint, GIMP allows you to combine and edit layers of images.
Tips for creating your logo
Creating images using an editing program is a challenge that requires some practice. If you’re new to graphic design, it’s best to use ready-made shapes and vector lines. As you move forward in your project, follow these tips to create an attractive logo:
Work in layers for complex graphics
Vector images consist of layers that you can edit individually. A simple image can consist of a single layer. On the other hand, if you have a detailed image, splitting it into multiple layers will allow you to edit one section more easily without damaging another.
You can then merge layers so that the objects in the background appear behind the objects in the foreground. You can also use merge tools to create subtle transitions between objects of different layers. For example, you can make a section of a background object transparent, so that it seems to cross a letter in the foreground.
Start from basic shapes
Sketch your logo concept by hand, and try to represent it as a set of simple shapes. If you look at most famous logos, you will often find circles, triangles and squares.
Vector editing programs usually have ready-made shapes that you can resize to any size. You do not have to fear that the lines or the proportions are unequal.
Think about how you can overlap, overlap, stack, shift, flip, or tilt shapes for interesting compositions.
Use placement tools
Whenever you reuse the same form, use the duplication and placement tools to ensure consistency. For example, the magnetism options allow to connect the contours of a vector to position it more precisely.
Intersections allow you to overlap shapes while keeping them aligned in the center. Layer tools produce a duplicate in the opposite direction. Explore the software you use, and exploit the tools that allow you to be more precise.
Sketch by hand
Do you opt for the freehand drawing style? Make your work easier by first drawing your logo with a pen or pencil. It can be difficult to use the drawing tools of a vector drawing program if you do not have experience or if you do not have a tablet.
Better to tweak your sketch by hand as much as possible. Once satisfied, scan the image and use it as a background layer of your vector project. Using your drawing as a template will improve the accuracy of the drawing with the program’s pen tool.
Experiment with the spacing between font characters
Few companies use fonts exactly as they were designed. Subtle adjustments can help you customize a font or adjust the text according to the proportions of the logo.
The character spacing widens the area between the paths of a text vector. Kerning adjusts the spacing between two specific letters to create a more aesthetic visual effect. You can also try to trim sections of a letter for a minimalist and original look.
Creating a good logo is a balancing act. The line between too much editing and not enough editing is very tenuous.
Go step by step and fine tune your logo by making small changes. Sometimes you will have to walk away from it for a moment to judge the relevance of an item. Save and name different versions of your files so you can easily revert to previous versions. The creative process is not always linear. You can test different combinations before choosing your best logos.