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Designing Awesome Logos With Photoshop

In this day and age a logo is every bit as important as your name.  A good logo should symbolize who you are as an organization, what your values are, and the industry you represent.  It should be something that is eye-catching and will grab your potential client or customer, immediately giving them confidence and ultimately causing them to want to do business with you.

A good logo should be immediately recognized and result in a reaction from the viewers’ senses.  Let’s take a look at the logo for Hostess for an example.

For those of us who grew up with Hostess snack cakes, we recognize the logo without even having to read it.  And since we don’t have to read it, upon seeing the logo we have an immediate taste in our mouth for sugary snack cakes that we’ve grown to associate with that logo.

Now let’s focus on the design elements of their logo.  Notice how they put that fun, happy looking heart above their name, giving us the subtle inclination that we love Hostess snack cakes.  Take a look at how they use gradients and shadowing to give the logo a very modern, 3D look.

Dropshadows in Photoshop are quite easy to apply.  Double click the layer you would like to shadow and a “Layer Style” menu will pop up.  Click on the style of shadow you’d like applied and adjust the blending options until you’ve got the look you’re going for.

When designing a logo, simple is always going to be better.  Think of some of the biggest names out there: Nike,

Toyota,

Volkswagen,

and, generally speaking, most car manufacturers have simple logos.  The philosophy behind simple logos stems from the ability to advertise across multiple mediums.  Think of a car company; you see their logo as a hood ornament on their automobiles, you see it on vinyl banners at an event they sponsor, you see it on t-shirts or jerseys, you see it in newspaper or magazine ads.  Simple allows you to easily apply your logo anywhere you can, and the easier it is to see and comprehend, the more effective it will be.

In all of the examples listed above you will notice how they are all rounded.  Rounded edges are warm and inviting, square edges give things a hard, closed-off feel.  When designing a logo in Photoshop, it’s easy to achieve rounded edges through the use of the “ellipse tool”, which can be found towards the bottom of your tools menu that’s typically aligned on the left side of your canvas.

Color choice is another vital aspect of picking your logo.  Have you ever wondered why a majority of restaurants have red in their color scheme?

How many food chains do you know with blue as their dominant color?  Psychologists say red is a color that makes you hungry while blue is a color that doesn’t make you think about food, though it does make you think about your heart and health.

While blue certainly wouldn’t be a good color to choose in designing a fast food logo, it might not be such a bad idea for medications of any sort.

Colors are easy to adjust using the “Color Picker” menu in Photoshop.  Whether you’re looking to switch from red to yellow, or just darken the shade of green that you’re working with, all you have to do is click on the background or foreground color box on your left “tools” menu bar, which will open a window, and from there you adjust your colors accordingly.

The last thing that you should keep in mind is creating a logo that can withstand the battle against time.  You can wind up shooting yourself in the foot if you dedicate all of your time and energy into creating a hip, modern or trendy looking logo, because it will soon be outdated.  A logo is something that represents a brand, it is something that people should see and immediately associate with what it’s representing.  If you’re changing your logo every once in a while, people won’t be able to keep track of what your logo is and etch that association into their minds.  The ABC network is a fantastic example of not only being timeless, but many of the other things already mentioned: rounded edges, simple, and easily executed across a wide variety of mediums.

For as simple as a logo may look, designing one can be a very excruciating process.  Do your research before you begin, stay calm, and don’t give up.  Figure out what the industry is like, what colors evoke the desired emotions you want people to associate with the company, and how long will the company be around for.  If the logo will be representing something with a relatively short lifespan, letting your creativity flow and encompassing some current design trends is perfectly fine.  If it’s an industry like carpentry or wheel making, and has a long lifespan, then you’re better off going back to the basics and sticking with a classic.

 

Bogdan

Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.

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