How to Make a Logo in Photoshop
If you are wondering how to create a logo in Photoshop, we must first make an important clarification. Photoshop was not created to design logos. While Photoshop is certainly so much more than just photos and offers a huge suite of tools for designers and illustrators, there’s a reason it’s not typically used for creating logos.
You’ll generally want to create a logo that can be scaled up or down without loss of quality. To do this, designers use vector-based design software, such as Adobe’s Illustrator. Photoshop’s pixel base is less suitable for logo design because if you need to enlarge your design later, you’ll find that its quality deteriorates, becoming “pixelated”, although you can vectorize your design in the software.
The good news is that if you have Photoshop as part of Adobe’s All-Apps subscription plan, you’ll also have access to Illustrator. Then you might want to see our tutorial on how to design a logo in Illustrator (opens in a new tab)who will guide you through the process, from concept to completion.
However, if you only have Photoshop as a stand-alone application or as part of Adobe’s photography plan, no worries. You can create a logo in Photoshop, just be aware that you might have issues if you want to change its size. If you don’t have any software, check out our guides on how to download Photoshop and how to download Adobe Illustrator.
How to Make a Logo in Photoshop
In the guide below, we will walk you through a basic option to create a logo in Photoshop using simple shape tools, gradients, and text options. Of course, you’ll want to create a logo in Photoshop that reflects your brand, not the specific example we’ll create for demonstration purposes, but you can use the same concepts and tools to create your own design. For some tips, check out our article on designing a logo.
01. Create a new canvas in Photoshop
Open Photoshop and create a new document. I used a canvas size of 500px x 500px, but larger sizes would work just as well. You can change the canvas size at any time. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grids to set a gridline every 50 pixels. Then activate the grids, in the canvas, by pressing cmd + ‘ (ctrl + ‘ on Windows) or View > Show > Grid in the options bar. Make sure Snap to Grid is checked under View > Snap To.
02. Draw a basic shape
Select the Pen tool from the toolbar, or by pressing P, and make sure it’s set to Shape rather than Path in the box to the left of the options bar. Use the pen to draw an arrowhead shape, starting at the center point of the canvas and using grid line intersections for your other points (if you are unfamiliar with the pen tool, note that to draw a straight line, you just click and release where you want the dots to be – don’t hold down and try to draw a line as if it were a paintbrush).
Naming the layers is not necessary for this project, but it can be very useful in more complex documents, where there are many layers.
03. Duplicate and modify the shape
Duplicate the layer, by pressing cmd + J (ctrl + J) and click on the new layer to select it. Use the Direct Selection tool, shortcut A, to click the highest point of the arrowhead, located in the center of the canvas. Move this point down a few squares of the grid, holding down the Shift key to keep it locked to the y-axis.
04. Add color with a gradient
Create a new gradient from the Fill drop-down menu to the left of the options bar. In the gradient window, double-click the sliders at the bottom to bring up the RGB options, where you can choose your colors; I opted for a light and dark blue. Then apply this gradient to both objects, changing the rotation of the gradient so that they oppose each other. If you don’t see the fill options, it may be because the Move tool is selected, so switch to the Pen or Shape tool.
05. Group and duplicate your layers
Group the two layers together by selecting them and pressing the group button, which looks like a small folder, located at the bottom of the Layers tab. This keeps the Layers tab from getting messy and makes it easier to manage the two layers together.
Duplicate this group (right click and select Duplicate Group), then use the Free Transform function to rotate the new group by ninety degrees, holding down Shift to rotate in fifteen degree increments. You can access Free Transform using ordered + J or under Edit > Free Transform. Now move the second group up, until it mirrors the original shape, using the center of the canvas as the line of symmetry. Repeat to create the shape shown above.
06. Transform shapes
Move each shape up or down one grid square, away from the center point, using Shift+Cursor.
07. Group, duplicate, repeat
Using the same method as in step 5 to group the layers, duplicate the group and rotate it 45 degrees. The new shape should resemble some sort of cross.
08. Draw a circle with the shape tool
Cycle through the shape tools until you find a circle, either by clicking and holding the icon in the toolbar or by pressing Shift+ you. Click on the center point of the canvas, hold Alt to draw a circle radiating from the center, and Shift to keep the width and height proportional. If you make a mistake, you can undo or re-edit your shape using free transform.
09. Draw a rectangle and align it in the center
Go through the shape tools again until you find the Rectangle tool. Draw a white area on the graphic, above the other layers, leaving enough space for the text. You can align it to the center of the canvas by clicking on the rectangle layer and the bottom layer (which should be a white square, the same size as the canvas) and using alignment tools, either under Layers > Align in the menu bar or the alignment buttons in the options bar.
More advanced users could use this rectangle to subtract shapes below, using Layer > Combine Shapes, but for now we’ll stick to using it as a white block.
10. Add your text
Next, in our simple method for creating a logo in Photoshop, we’ll add some text. Draw a text box on the rectangle, by clicking on the T icon in the toolbar or by pressing J, then drag it onto the canvas. Enter your text in the box and center it using the buttons on the Character tab. Use the alignment tool again to center it on the canvas.
11. Choose an Appropriate Font
Choose a typeface that suits your brand. There are plenty of free fonts out there, but it’s essential to pick one that you’re allowed to use – check out our pick of the best free fonts for some ideas. Since this logo may appear on many of your assets, you should be careful not to use an illegally downloaded font – you might be surprised how quickly you might hear back from the owner. Play around with size and color until you like what you see.
12. Adjust your kerning
Kern the text. This means adjusting the horizontal spacing between individual letters, maximizing the readability of the word. You can do this under the Type tab, marked with a V | A, or by clicking between the letters and pressing alt+left or alt+right. To learn more about kerning, see our article on how to kern type.
13. Add final details and export
Finally, to finish creating your logo in Photoshop, make any final adjustments you need to give it that special something. For the main image at the top of this page, we added two smaller bars above and below the text, colored with the same gradient. We also added a background, shadow, and reflection, using similar techniques to the other steps, as well as using layer masks to add a fade.
When you are satisfied, save the image in the format you need, for example RGB jpg for web format. It’s a good idea to save it as a psd file so you can come back to it and make changes to it in the future.
14. How to Vectorize a Logo in Photoshop
Photoshop is a raster rather than a vector design program, but it can vectorize images for export, which is great if you want to resize them. This is probably the case if you are creating a logo in Photoshop. First you need to separate your logo from the background. To do this, make a selection and copy it to a new layer or delete the background.
Right-click on the selection and select “Create Work Path”, then press A to switch to the Direct Selection Tool. Right-click again and select “Create Vector Mask”. You can then save the file in Photoshop EPS format.