Try the same for Google. What do you see? The Google homepage with its blue and yellow and red colors, of course!
That’s the power of logos. Even though Google makes a ton of products, you don’t think of vast data centers and offices filled with programmers when you think of Google. No, you think of Google the brand with its slightly eccentric and nerdy logo. Same goes for Coca-Cola. Even though Coca-Cola actually sells a beverage you drink almost every day, your first thought when was of the company’s logo.
Designing logos is an exercise in narration. A great logo tells a story – what is the brand? What is it about? What are its ideals – in as few brush strokes as possible. Google’s nonchalant disregard for conventional logo designs (the logo was hacked together by Sergey and Larry and has remained the same for 15 years) immediately tells you that this company is different. It doesn’t care about the status quo. The Coca-Cola logo, on the other hand, has remained unchanged for over a century. It’s an instrument of nostalgia that gently reassures you – whatever else might change, your favorite beverage is going to remain the same, no matter what.
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In this blog post, we will learn how to design a simple logo for the world’s favorite fictional company, Acme Corporation.
What We Will Make
We will use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial, though you’ll be perfectly fine with older versions of Photoshop as well.
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Step 1: Create a New Document
Go to File -> New, or press CTRL+N in Photoshop. Select the appropriate width and height for your design. I like to have a large enough canvas to work with – around 1000px width and 600px height. You can always change canvas size later.
Step 2: Create the Basic Shape
To create the effect that we want, we will make our ‘A’ with two overlapping shapes as shown below:
We’re going to use the ‘Pen’ tool to create our shapes. It’s the pen shaped icon on the toolbox to the left.
Now create a new layer. Name it Shape 1. Select the pen tool, select ‘shape’ in the tool properties at the top. Choose a bright red color for the fill (I used #ed1c24).
It’s useful to switch on the grid while drawing. Go to View -> Show -> Grid, or press CTRL + ‘. Create the shape as shown below:
For the second shape, instead of drawing it from scratch, we can simply duplicate the Shape 1 layer and flip it horizontally.
Select the current shape in the layers window on the right. Right click on it and select ‘Duplicate Layer’. Name the new layer Shape 2 you want.
Now select the duplicate layer, go to Edit -> Transform Path -> Flip Horizontal
You should have the following shape now:
Drag it over to the right so that it overlaps the first shape perfectly as shown in the images above.
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Step 3: Change Colors
Since we want to create an overlapping ‘Origami’ like effect, we will make one of our shape layers slightly darker in color to give the impression of depth.
Double-click on the Shape 2 thumbnail in the Layers window. The color selection pane should pop-up.
Select a slightly darker shade of red. I choose #b00309
While you’re at it, drag the Shape 1 layer on top of the Shape 2 layer in the Layers window as well, such that Shape 2 appears to be behind Shape 1.
Step 4: Creating the Shadow
Duplicate the Shape 1 layer as described above. Name it Shadow Layer Change the color of this new layer to black (#000000). Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. Choose a radius of 2.75 pixels. Your image should look like this now:
Now drag the Shadow Layer underneath Shape 1 in the Layers window. Right click on Shadow Layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’
Your image logo should now have the nice shadow effect.
Step 5: Add the Text
We’ll now add text to our logo. Unfortunately, the default Windows font selection isn’t exactly too great. So instead of using tired, stale fonts like Arial, we’ll head over to Google Fonts and download a bunch of new, modern fonts.
For this project, I recommend downloading Raleway. This is just a personal preference though. You can choose any one of the hundreds of free fonts on Google Fonts. Some of my personal favorites are:
Once you’ve installed the Raleway font (extract the downloaded .zip file and double-click on the font-name to install automatically), head over to the ‘Type’ tool in the toolbox and add your text.
I choose Raleway with font-weight of ‘bold’ and a font-size of 200px. Feel free to experiment with this if you want.
Place the text below the logo. For a bit of extra effect, add a drop shadow to the text. Right click on the text layer, select ‘Blending Options’. In the window that pops up, choose ‘Drop Shadow’ and pick the following parameters:
Step 6: Add a Background Gradient
This is the final step to give our logo a bit of dramatic flair.
Click the ‘Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer’ button at the bottom of the Layers Window.
Choose ‘Gradient’. In the window that pops up, select ‘Radial’ under Style. Make sure to check the ‘Reverse’ option at the bottom.
Now, double click on the gradient color in the window. The gradient edit window will pop up. Play around with the colors and settings for a while until you find something you like.
As a final step, drag your gradient layer below all the other layers in the Layers window, which should look like this:
Your logo is now complete!
Designing a logo takes a lot more than learning a few Photoshop techniques. This course will teach you everything you needed to know about creating your own logos, from creating concept sketches to realizing final drawings.