Graphic designers often use Adobe Illustrator to make logos, as the vector-based program offers a wide range of functions. However, you can just as easily make a logo in Photoshop since shapes are added as vectors, and you can also convert text to vectors. Ultimately, Photoshop offers several ways to create an eye-catching logo for your business.
Since Photoshop offers almost endless possibilities for logo design, it’s impossible for me to include everything you can do in Photoshop. However, this article will give you the basics of creating a logo and inspire you to start on your own design.
Remember to take the techniques you learn here and design a logo that matches your brand’s essence and purpose by customizing the design process to suit your needs.
How To Design A Logo In Photoshop
Since logo design is so versatile and there are so many themes for brands, I will be designing two logos side-by-side to show you how you can customize these techniques. One logo will be more playful for a production company, while the other will be more corporate for a home decor company.
If you don’t need a highly customized design and are looking for something quick and easy, you can use a free program such as Canva or Adobe Express, which I will guide you through in the last section.
You can design a high-quality logo in Photoshop. However, if you have Illustrator, you may want to use that program to ensure a high-quality logo, even when rescaling the logo for large signage and billboards.
If you only have Photoshop or prefer using the program, remember to be careful when rescaling the logo. Ensure that all the elements are vectors before upsizing the logo. If you are designing a logo that you will only use digitally, then Photoshop is the easiest option.
I recommend you design a logo in black and white to begin with and then add color once the design is complete. At times you will need to use a black or a white logo on certain backgrounds, and if a logo looks complete in black and white, it will be good in color too.
Step 1: Create A New Document
It’s important to create a document at the right size to ensure that your logo is high-quality to start with. Creating a larger document allows you to resize the logo for instances where you need it at a smaller scale without degrading the quality.
Create a document by clicking on the New File button in the start-up window of Photoshop. You can also press Control + N (Win) or Command + N (Mac) to open the new document window.
In the New Document window, decide on the size of your document based on where you will be using your logo. If the logo is primarily for web use, I recommend you create a 1200 x 1200 pixel document. You can print this logo at around 16 x 16 inches.
If you need to print the logo at a larger scale, use a large document, such as 5400 x 7200 pixels, although this will increase the file size. If you only create vector elements for the logo, you can make it at a smaller size and scale it later without degrading the quality.
Check the box next to Artboards so that you can compare logos later. Then, set the Color Mode to RGB for digital-based logos and CMYK if you plan to print the logo. However, I recommend setting the color mode to RGB and changing it later if needed for print.
Keep the resolution at 72 Pixels/Inch for web-based logos and set it to 300 Pixels/Inch if you will be printing the logo. Then set the background to Transparent so you can export the logo with a transparent background that works best for most logo placements.
Click Create once you have chosen the correct settings for your needs.
Once the document opens, the transparent background may be hard to work with as any elements you add are challenging to see. You can add a white background which you can delete before exporting.
Add the background by adding a new layer using the plus sign icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Then, fill the layer with white by going to Edit > Fill or pressing Shift + F5 (Win & Mac). Then select White from the Contents drop-down menu and click OK to accept it.
Step 2: Add A New Guide Layout For Precision
Now, you can add a new guide layout to keep the elements precise. Adding grids and guides to the page helps measure elements, line up shapes and text, and keep the logo structured.
You can add a new guide layout by going to View > Guides > New Guide Layout.
In the New Guide Layout box, you can set the color of the guides. Then you can choose how many rows and columns you want to be added to the document. Add in the row and column amount; I went for 20 of each. Then make sure to set both Gutters to 0 px. If the gutter blocks are empty, that is fine. Click OK to accept the guide layout.
Your canvas now has a grid that will help you line up elements and keep your logo well-balanced.
To prevent moving your guides while designing, lock the guide layout by going to View > Guides > Lock Guides. You can also press Alt + Control + ; (Win) or Option + Command + ; (Mac). To toggle between keeping the guide layout visible or hidden, press Control + ; (Win) or Command + ; (Mac) while editing.
Your document is now ready for you to design the logo.
Step 3: Add Custom Shapes Using The Pen Tool
When designing a logo, there are various types of logos you can create. You can focus on shapes or text being the predominant elements. For the production company, the main feature is a fish shape that I want to create myself, so it’s unique.
Using the Pen Tool, I can create any shape I want. While the Pen Tool is tricky to learn, you can create anything you want with some practice.
Start by selecting the Pen Tool (P) or, in my case, the Curvature Pen Tool (P) from the Toolbar.
Change the settings in the Options bar as needed. First, I set the path type to Shape, then chose a black outline with no fill and a line width of 5px.
Next, start drawing the shape you want by adding anchor points. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can use the control points to fix it later.
Once you have the basic shape, use the control points to perfect the shape. You can use the grid to line up the shape if needed.
After carefully adjusting the anchor and control points, I have the outline of my fish as I wanted. You can create any shape you want using the Pen Tools.
Step 4: Add The Text To Your Logo
You should always add text to a logo, especially when designing a logo for a new company. Adding the name to a logo allows potential customers to get to know the brand. Once the brand is established, the business can drop the text and just use the emblem from the logo, as you see in big companies such as Apple, Macdonalds, Twitter, and Nike.
For my production company logo, I won’t focus on the text too much as it’s not the central element of the logo. To add text, select the Type Tool (T) and choose the font, size, and color in the Options bar.
Then, click on the canvas to add a point text box, then type in the company name. Remove the guidelines if you wish by pressing Control + ; (Win) or Command + ; (Mac).
You can then customize the text as needed. I used the Character panel to resize the bottom word “productions” and changed the leading and tracking to line the words up nicely.
For my corporate Home Decor logo, I am focusing more on the text of the logo, so I have used the same techniques to create the text. You can take this step further and distort the text in Photoshop in various ways.
Step 5: Add Shapes To The Logo
You can add simple shapes to the logo found in Photoshop. These shapes can add to the logo, or you can use them as the main element if you don’t want to create your own shapes.
For my production company logo, I want to add the eye of the fish and some bubbles going up from the mouth. For this, I select the Ellipse Shape Tool (U) from the Toolbar.
Then, holding Shift, I can create perfect circles where I need them. If you want to move the shapes around separately, add each shape to a new layer. The production company logo is complete.
For my home decor logo, I want to block out the middle of the D to add a more customized shape. For this, I can select the Rectangle Tool (U) and draw a block over the space.
The D now has no empty space.
Next, I want to add a custom shape to the space. For this, I select the Custom Shape Tool (U) from the Toolbar.
Then, I use the Shape drop-down menu in the Options bar to select the shape I want, such as the flower I have chosen. I also set the Fill color to White in the Options Bar.
Now, I can click and drag to add the shape over the D. The Home Decor Logo is complete.
Step 6: Convert The Text To Vectors
If you have added text to the logo, you should convert it to a vector, so there are no problems if you resize the logo. Converting the text to a vector is a simple process. I recommend you first duplicate the text layers, as you won’t be able to edit them after vectorizing them. To duplicate the layers, select them and press Control + J (Win) or Command + J (Mac).
Then, ensure that you select the text layer(s), right-click (Win) or Control + click (Mac) on the layers in the Layers panel, and select Convert to Shape.
After converting the HD text to a vector, I can combine the letters with the rectangle I added to close the D. Rather than keeping two separate elements that I need to move around together, I can merge the layers to create one element. To do this, I select both layers in the Layers panel, then right-click (Win) or Control + click (Mac) and select Merge Shapes.
Step 7: Add Color To The Logo Elements
The last thing you should do is add color to the logo as a variation. Since you created an artboard, you can duplicate the entire artboard to create a variation of the artwork. To duplicate the artboard, select the artboard in the Layers panel.
Once the artboard is selected, press Control + J (Win) or Command + J (Mac). You will now have two identical artboards next to each other in the workspace. The Layers panel also shows two artboards as well. You can rename the new artboard if you’d like.
Now, you can select each element and add the colors you want. To change the colors, you need to select the shape on the canvas, then select the tool that created it. Once those two are activated, you can change the Fill or the Stroke color in the Options bar.
For instance, to change the text color, I select the text, which has now been converted into a shape.
Then, I select any shape tool in the Toolbar to open the correct settings in the Options bar.
Now, I can use the Fill and Stroke settings in the Options bar to change the color of the fill and the outline.
For the text, I want to change the fill to a solid purple color, so I open the Fill menu, and I can click on the Color block to open the Color Picker.
Once I’ve selected the Color from the Picker, I can click OK, and the text is now my chosen color.
For the bubbles, I want to add a multi-colored gradient to the fill of a few of them. First, I created a rainbow gradient using this tutorial to add to the logo. Now, I can select a few circles while holding Shift, so they are selected together.
Then, in the Fill menu, I choose the Gradient option, find the rainbow gradient I saved, and select it.
Once I’ve selected the gradient, I need to open the Stroke menu and choose No Stroke to remove the black outline.
I now have rainbow-filled bubbles.
I can now change the rest of the colors as I’d like, using the Fill and Stroke menu, depending on where I want the color on the elements. I now have a complete color logo.
I can now repeat the steps to duplicate the artboard and change the colors on the Home Decor logo. I now have a completed color Home Decor logo.
Step 8: Add Different Logo Variations
For each logo you create, you should be able to vary the logo for different platforms. If you need to add a white logo to a website that has a dark background, you should have a white variation of the logo ready.
You can duplicate the artboards and change the colors to ensure that you have a full-black logo, a full-color logo, a full-white logo, and a grayscale logo.
Step 9: Export Your Logo As A PNG
Your logo is now ready for export. The best way to export a logo is as a PNG, as this file type compresses the file to keep the file size low without reducing the quality of the logo. A PNG also preserves transparency so that you can keep the background of your logo transparent.
Before exporting, delete the white background layer if you added it. To do this, select the layer in the Layers panel and click on the bin icon at the bottom.
Once you delete the background layers, the artboards will have transparent backgrounds.
If you created a single canvas, you could export the logo by going to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy) or pressing Shift + Alt + Control + S (Win) or Shift + Option + Command + S (Mac).
In the Export window, select PNG-24 from the Preset drop-down menu, then ensure the Transparency box is checked. You can click Save once the settings are in.
If you have artboards and want to save them all as separate PNGS, go to File > Export > Artboards to Files.
In the Artboards to Files window, choose the save destination at the top. Then, select PNG-24 from the File Type drop-down menu. Next, check the box next to Export Options to open up more options and ensure that Transparency is checked. Click Run to save the artboards as PNGs.
You have now created different versions of your logo that you can easily add to your proposal document, website, or other images.
Easier Ways To Design A Logo
If the Photoshop method is too complicated, or if you need a quick logo with minimal customization, there are much easier ways to design a logo. Canva and Adobe Express are two programs that offer logo templates that you can manipulate. The programs both offer free and paid templates that you can choose from.
Canva is a free online Graphic Design platform that offers new designers several design options and pre-made templates. Once you select the Logo option, you will have a canvas of the correct size and several logo template options.
Once you choose a template, you can change the element colors and text or add new shapes and graphics to create a logo.
While plenty of free logo templates are available, some are only available for Canva Pro users. The gold crown indicates the paid Pro templates at the bottom of the template.
As of writing, the current Canva Pro pricing is $12.99 per month on a monthly subscription or $9.99 per month for an annual subscription (billed annually at $119.99).
Pros And Cons Of Canva For Logo Design
- Plenty of free logo templates to choose from
- Templates are customizable
- Several graphics and shape options to add
- Ability to change the color of logos in Canva
- Transparent PNG download is only available for Pro subscribers
- Can’t create overly customized shapes and elements
Adobe offers a free online photo and design tool for beginner designers and photo editors. The platform allows users to carry out various simplified functions from the different Adobe products, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The platform also contains several templates, design assets, and royalty-free images to use in your designs.
Once you open the Logo Maker, you can describe your business to get more customized logos.
You can then pick a style for your logo.
Next, you can select an icon for the logo if you want.
Once you have added all the details, Adobe Express offers you a few different logo options.
You can select a template and customize the design further using a few options, such as changing the font and colors.
If you sign in using your Adobe account or create a free one, you can customize the logo even further.
You can also find more logo templates in the Adobe Express workspace, which offers free and paid templates. The premium templates are indicated with a crown icon.
The Premium templates are available to users with an Adobe subscription, such as if you are subscribed to the Photography Plan.
If you don’t have an Adobe subscription, you can sign up for the Premium version of Adobe Express, which at the time of writing, is US$9.99/month on a monthly subscription or US$99.99/year billed annually.
Pros And Cons Of Adobe Express For Logo Design
- Lots of free templates to choose from
- Customizable templates using similar tools to Photoshop
- Offers templates based on company details
- You can download PNGs with a transparent background
- Limited customization options
- You can’t download logos in SVG format
A logo is the brand’s first impression they make to customers, so it needs to be visibly appealing, memorable, and portray exactly what the brand is about. This is quite a lot to put into a logo, but if you understand the true essence of the business before designing the logo, you can’t go wrong.
Once you know the company, use the various elements and techniques that Photoshop or the free platforms offer to create a stunning logo.