The Dead Simple Guide To Basic Logo Design

When you think logo what comes to mind? A golden arched M, a bunch of lines and circles, or maybe just a cute small shape? Then why must “logo design” be a task restricted to only a highly professional computer geek with knowledge of all sorts of fancy programs? To be honest, I never understood this myself.

Through my own experience as a logo designer, I can safely concur, that a logo design can be made by anyone with imagination and using any kind of software – even Microsoft Words (no kidding!).

To prove my point, we will be looking into some basic steps to design a simple logo using three different commonly used software:

  1. Ms Words (for level 1 “designers”)
  2. Ms Paint (for intermediate level)
  3. Photoshop (a little more advanced)
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1. Using Microsoft Word

If you want to avoid using fancy and perplexing software for your design, MsWords might just do the job for you. However, keep in mind that you certainly can’t make anything even slightly complicated in this program. Your target must be a simple looking logo. Here’s an example.

Open Microsoft Words and select the Insert tab at the top menu. Click on shapes and choose the shape you want. I chose this parallelogram and skewed it using the yellow handle.

Description: word.jpg

Now I repeated this process by copying and pasting the shape above and filling it in with black color in Shape Fill then a shadow effect to make this logo for the made-up company, Aryan:

Description: aryan.jpg

Alright, I know. It’s not my best design, but you can experiment around with a lot of other shapes. Using the Format tab (in drawing tools) you can mess around with a lot of options such as colors, size, shadow effects, outlines, shape fills, etc. Was that too difficult, or very different from the one below?

Description: adidas.jpg

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2. Using Paint

If you are looking for a more intermediate level of logo design, Ms. Paint can do the job. For all of you Paint lovers, Microsoft’s No. 1 drawing application, Paint, has everything you need for an easy-to-make logo design. Here’s another one I made.

After opening Microsoft Paint, first I wrote down a make-believe company name in the font I liked most. Next, I used the Rectangle Shape to make a red square next to the name. I filled in the square again with smaller white star and made something like this:

Description: ms-paint.jpg

That wasn’t too difficult either. Again, compare it to a very simple yet professional-looking logo.

Description: swatch.jpg
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3. Using Adobe Photoshop

If you are going the few steps further into your logo design, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the type of programs you’d want to use. These ones are sure tricky, but once you get the hang of it, the immense number of options in these programs will allow you to make literally ANY shape, design, or logo you want. I roll with Photoshop CS6, but these techniques will work on any not-too-ancient Photoshop software.

Photoshop not only has Custom shapes to choose from similar to the Words and Paint, you are free to design your own shapes using the Marquee tool, Lasso tool, or Pen Tool.

Using the Marquee or Lasso tool, you can make a selection then fill it in with the color of your choice to turn it into a shape.

Always remember to create a new Layer (Layer tab in the menu > New Layer) every time you make something new or any changes in your project. This will allow you to easily edit and delete those changes without using the “undo” option. This is one of the most useful way to edit your designs easily.

The marquee tool or polygonal lasso tool lets you make simpler custom shapes, which are just a little more advanced than the ones above. For something completely customized and unique, you’ll have to use the Pen tool. This is definitely more advanced and you’ll need a separate tutorial (like this one) to learn the Pen tool and how to manage those anchor points.

Using the Pen tool, custom shapes, and several Blending options (in the Layers Panel at the bottom right corner), I managed to make my first ever logo: lady in purple!

Description: photoshop.jpg

I used the pen tool to make the lady’s hands, face, neck and body (all in separate layers). I decided to use a few inbuilt custom shapes such as the circle and tear drop to make her pearl jewelry but I went with a ready-made hair image to draw the hair using the Brush tool on a separate white layer. I have used several Blending Effects such as Stroke, Outer Glow, and Drop Shadow to finish off the look. You can experiment with tons of Blending Effects/ Options or Filters in the top menu to add some final touches.

With the addition of Text Type Tool, some fancy font, along with a few more custom shapes (swirls made by the Pen tool), I finished off the logo and gave it a final “Logo design” feel. (Hey! This was my first!)

Description: lady-in-purple.jpg

You Can be a Logo Designer Too

Luckily, logo designs vary from being almost anything such as simple shapes (boxes and lines) or even just a letter i.e. the golden arched M, to more complex custom shapes. Just a little bit of practice and a lot of imagination can go a long way to make your perfect logo design.

For more logo inspiration, check out: