If Google’s new logo says anything to us all, it’s that simplicity is in. This is good news if you’re a DIY business owner attempting to make your own logo.
But don’t be fooled by the idea of simple: Google’s logo had a LOT of great minds working on what became their final product. Google is using a completely custom font, the “e” is tilted, and the colors play an important role in identifying the brand (check out the dots and the G initial for example.)
If you’re just starting your business, you don’t need a big budget to create a logo you can be proud of. With bit of brainpower, some patience and this handy how-to guide, you can design a logo to help brand your business online and off.
How to create a simple logo for your business
To help you get started, let’s practice by designing a logo for a fictional ice cream shop. Lloyd is opening up an ice cream shop in his hometown. He wants his logo and brand to be recognizable, easily printed on the napkins and paper cone covers he uses, plus displayed on the eventual app he plans on creating for home delivery service of his to-die-for sundaes.
Analyze your business name.
For our example, Lloyd has chosen the name, The Sprinkles Shack.
- Is your business name short or long?
- Do you have a tagline?
Logos aren’t just splashed on websites; they are on printed materials, business cards and other promotional items. You’ll want to consider stacking a longer name. Finally, remember that 50 percent of people will be viewing your website on a mobile device so the logo must look nice on smaller screens.
Choose your design software.
Open up one of the following programs:
I don’t mention Illustrator here because unless you are an expert in graphic design, Illustrator is a program that takes a while to learn. PicMonkey and Canva are meant for beginners, so your logo will not have the same quality or look that a logo designed in Photoshop would have. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to show screenshots in Photoshop.
Find a font
Use a site like Creative Market to find a great font for your logo. Enter the name of your business into the search field and compare a bunch of fonts. You want readability and personality. Also pay attention to how it looks using both uppercase and lowercase letters. Download and install the font you like the best!Choose a font that’s easy to read and represents your business’s personality.
Note: This only works for users in Photoshop or PicMonkey Royale. Canva does not allow you to use your own fonts.
Arrange the words.
Lloyd has chosen the font Delight Script. Open up a large canvas in Photoshop with a white background. Type the name of your business with each word in a different layer. Then you can move them around to see how they look best. Notice that two are done in all lowercase and two are done in traditional case.
If you find that the words don’t align well, you might want to try making them different sizes. You can also introduce a second font if the primary font is too much.
Pro tip: Play with the words using black or grey, as you don’t want color to distract you from the symmetry.
Lloyd chose the off-center option because the words “Sprinkles” and “Shack” both have a strong S and the centered look made it feel off-balance.
Find an icon (optional).
Next, Lloyd wanted to have some sort of icon or image, though he is not an artist by any stretch. So he goes back to Creative Market to find an icon that will work with the font he’s chosen.
He originally bought this creative for the sprinkles art, but just placing the sprinkles on the canvas didn’t do much. In fact, it looked sort of out of place. Lloyd realized that in order to have an icon work with his text, it needs to somehow work with the letters in a complementary fashion.When choosing an icon, pay attention to the less obvious symbol.
Lloyd decided to use the cherry as the dot for the “I” and to work the concept of sprinkles into the color of the logo, rather than the icon.
Here’s how he got the sprinkles to go inside the lettering:
- Open a new file in Photoshop.
- Place the sprinkles clipart in a new file with a transparent background.
- Crop the image so it’s just the sprinkles.
- Go to EDIT > Define PATTERN. Name it sprinkles.
- Go back to your original file and choose the SPRINKLES text.
- Click LAYER > LAYER STYLE and choose the pattern overlay.
- You’ll see the sprinkles pattern available. Add it!
- Then change the color of the text to work with the pattern.
Play with size and color.
Finally, Lloyd readjusted the word “The” and “Shack” to fit with the design.
It’s important to make sure the lettering is easily readable. Lloyd adds a drop shadow on the words to add a bit more definition. This is under LAYER > LAYER STYLE > DROP SHADOW. He also tried changing the color of the extra words to see what he likes better.
The final test to his logo is to adjust the size of it. Make it big, make it small, take away the color, and see how the design stands up under all of those conditions.
It looks good against a background other than white…
It looks good in black and white…
It works big or small….
In a pinch, he can also use the cherry as his icon.
As you can see, with help from some pre-bought clip art, a nice premium font, and a bit of patience, Lloyd was able to create a logo for his new business.
Julie DeNeen is a full-time web designer and blogger, making her mark on the Internet with a tech blog called Fabulous Blogging. An award winning lifestyle blogger as well, she was chosen as Anderson Cooper’s blogger of the day in 2012 and appeared on Anderson Live several times, as well as BBC World Have Your Say. Off the Internet, she is a mom of three, a musician, foodie and theater buff. Connect with her on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!