If you often work with logos for your business, you may at some point need to make a logo background transparent in Photoshop. Depending on the appearance of your logo’s background, you can do this a few different ways.
Once you’ve removed the background from a logo, you can set the export settings so that it stays transparent and then add it to other projects or save it for future use.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to remove the background from your logo and export it properly, regardless of your logo’s background color.
Making A Solid-Colored Logo Background Transparent In Photoshop
Removing a solid-colored background from a logo is easy and only takes a few steps. After making the background transparent, you’ll learn a quick way to check that the edges of the logo are smooth and clean them up if need be.
Step 1: Select The Magic Wand Tool (W)
Step 2: Set The Magic Wand Settings
Next, you’ll want to be sure the settings are set so that you’ll be able to select the entire solid-colored background area.
Once you’ve selected the Magic Wand Tool, head to the Options Bar and change the following settings:
- Check the Contiguous option
- Set the Sample Area (3×3 works fine for selecting a background, but you may want to try higher options like 11×11)
- Set the Tolerance between 10-40, depending on your image
You can go back and edit these settings later to see how they affect the selection, particularly around the edges of your logo, as different settings here will result in slightly different selections.
If you have parts of the background inside your logo – such as inside the center of a circle or letter – and you want to remove them, leave the Contiguous box unchecked, and the selection will be made around any pixels that match the background color.
To keep those areas as part of your logo, ensure the Contiguous box is checked. The selection will only be made around pixels that match the background color and sit next to each other (like in the example below).
Step 3: Select The Background
Now, click the background of your logo, and it will become an active selection.
Notice that the insides of the infinity sign in my logo are not selected because I have left the Contiguous box checked. Again, you can uncheck this if you’d like those areas selected as well.
Step 4: Add A Layer Mask
Once you’ve made the selection, add a layer mask by clicking the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel.
This will add the selection to a Layer Mask, which you’ll see beside the Image Layer in the Layers Panel.
You’ll see the Layer Mask has cut out the logo rather than the background on your document.
Step 5: Clean Up The Selection
There may be a few areas that the selection has missed – in my example, I can see that the background inside a few of the letters remains. To remove these areas from your selection, click the Image Layer Thumbnail in the Layers Panel and select the Magic Wand Tool (W).
In the Options Bar, you can resize your Sample Size to Point Sample for the best possible accuracy.
Then, hold Shift while clicking any areas you don’t want to be included in the final logo to select them all at once.
Click the foreground color box to make sure the color is set to black.
Finally, with the Layer Mask selected in the Layers Panel, press Alt + Delete (Win) or Option + Delete (Mac) to remove these areas from your mask.
This will make those areas transparent, like the rest of your logo’s background. Deselect the areas by pressing Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac).
Step 6: Clean Up The Edges
Now, you can use a few mask settings to soften or sharpen the edges. Head to the Layers Panel and click the Layer Mask thumbnail.
In the Properties Panel, you’ll see several Layer Mask settings. Click the Select And Mask button. Alternatively, you can double-click on the logo layer’s layer mask.
Scroll through the tabs until you see Global Refinements. Here, you can adjust the Smooth, Contrast, and Shift Edge settings until the edges have a smooth rather than pixelated appearance.
Each logo will require something different. I’ll increase the Contrast and Smooth settings for the logo I’m working with and decrease the Shift Edge setting. Subtle adjustments are usually enough.
The edges appear sharper after the adjustments than before.
Step 7: Save A Copy
Now that you’ve removed the background and cleaned up the edges, you can save a copy of your logo with a transparent background by heading to File > Save A Copy.
In the Save As window, set the File Format to PNG.
This will ensure the background is transparent rather than black or white. Click Save to save a copy of the project – the document will remain open in Photoshop, but your project will be saved as it is.
Making A Multi-Colored Logo Background Transparent In Photoshop
When working with a logo with a multi-colored or patterned background, you won’t be able to simply use the Object Selection Tool or the Magic Wand Tool. Still, you can easily remove the logo from its background in a few simple steps using Channels.
Step 1: Select A Channel
First, you’ll want to open the Channels tab. Click to open the tab if you can see it in your workspace. If you can’t, head to Window > Channels, and the Channels tab will open.
You’ll see a few different channels to choose from, and you can see what they all look like by clicking on each one. You want to work with the channel that has the most contrast. Each logo will be different, so I’ll choose the Blue Channel for my logo.
Step 2: Duplicate The Channel
Click and drag the Channel down to the New Layer icon at the bottom of the panel, which will duplicate the Channel.
You’ll see a copy of your chosen channel at the bottom of the list.
Step 3: Open Levels
Now you can open the Levels window using the shortcut Control + L (Win) or Command + L (Mac).
Drag the levels in so that the darkest parts of the image are 100% black and the lightest parts become 100% white. You don’t need to bring the levels to the center; if you do, the image becomes too contrasted, and the logo’s edges start to fray. You can leave them when the colors are 100% black and white.
Click OK when you’re finished.
Step 4: Select The Logo
Now, in the Channels tab, hold Control (Win) or Command (Mac) and click the thumbnail of whichever channel you copied – for me, it is the Blue Copy.
This will create an active selection around the logo in the image.
Step 5: Add A Layer Mask
Now, you can return to the Layers Panel and click the layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel.
This will add a Layer Mask to the image, which you’ll see in the Layers Panel sitting to the right of the picture.
The document shows that the layer mask has cut out the logo.
You can invert the layer mask so that the logo, not the background, is visible by pressing Control + I (Win) or Command + I (Mac). You’ll see the logo in the document and the background transparent.
Step 6: Clean Up The Edges
There is one final step you can take to ensure that you’ve successfully removed all of the background from the logo.
Add a color fill layer by heading to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. This is meant to help see any issues with the edges of the logo selection.
Name the Color Fill Layer and press OK. The Color Picker window will appear. I’ll drag the toggle to white just to make sure the edges of the logo are neat and clean them up a bit if they are pixelated.
The new fill layer will appear in the Layers Panel and on the document on top of the logo. Drag the Color Fill Layer beneath the Logo layer, so the logo sits in front.
You can then zoom in and check the edges of the logo to ensure they are smooth. If not, click the Layer Mask thumbnail in the Layers Panel.
You’ll see Layer Mask settings appear in the Properties Panel. Click Select And Mask.
From here, scroll until you see the Global Refinements section.
The settings that will help fix the edges the most are the Smooth setting, which smooths out the pixelation, and the Contrast setting, which will increase the contrast along the edge. You can play around with these until you’re content with how the edges look.
Click OK when you’re finished. You can see the difference in the edges after the settings are applied and before.
Step 7: Save A Copy
Again, you can save a copy of your logo once you’ve finished working on it. This allows you to come back and continue working in Photoshop or use the logo in a future project.
After deleting the colored background layer, head to File > Save A Copy. You can delete a layer by clicking on it and pressing the Delete key.
In the window, click to change the Format to PNG.
Click Save when you’re finished, and Photoshop will save the file for you to work on or use later.
Additional Export Options For Transparent Logos In Photoshop
It is important to save your projects as you work, but when you’re ready to export a project to your files, you can head to File > Export > Export As.
In the Export As window, you can resize your logo by entering a new Width and Height in the Image Size section.
You can also resize the logo by clicking one of the preset Scale options, which will automatically adjust the Width and Height.
It is always risky to scale up from the image’s original size, as the quality of the image often suffers as a result. You can scale up slightly if need be, but be careful not to increase the size too much, as this leads to pixelation.
However, you can reduce the size as much as you’d like without compromising quality. This will allow you to save the logo and apply it to projects that require a smaller size, such as for the header of a website.
Finally, ensure the File Format is set to PNG and the Transparency box is checked.
This will maintain a transparent background when the file is exported. Click Export, and you’ll have a transparent logo in your files ready to use when you need it.