Big brands have become big for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons most often quoted by the experts is that these companies have created a look that reflects a style, a culture, something to belong to – and that whole look starts with a logo.
Logo design is more important than many people give it credit for being. It will be pasted all over everything you send out, and because it is, it says a lot about your company. The Starbucks® brand logo has become a staple of the company because it is sturdy, the circle giving a feeling of wholeness, with an ‘earthy’ graphic and deep greens to draw in its original target market – people who were into the idea of real good, natural coffee made special by being just for them.
It’s a logo layout that has been used often and to great effect. In this tutorial, we’ll be using it as inspiration to create our own logo that will work for absolutely any business.
[Tutorial Name] Tutorial Details
- · Program: Adobe Photoshop (or compatible program that can work with layers)
- · Version: Illustrations show CS5
- · Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
- · Estimated Completion Time: Approximately 30 minutes-1 hour depending on knowledge
- · Prerequisites or Requirements: Basic knowledge of your graphics program & tool locations, and a silhouette appropriate for your logo that is legal for you to use
Obviously, let’s fire up Photoshop. When you create a new canvas (File, New) though, take a minute to really think about size. What will you be using this logo for? Is it possible that you may want to use it on larger printed items like t-shirts or signs? Or will you be focusing largely on business stationary? This is important because it can help save time.
Once you’ve decided what you think the largest thing you might print will be (I’ll say I’m designing for a maximum of 12 inches, for smaller print pieces) then you can create your canvas. To begin with, add 2 inches to the size you’ve decided on. Then, make sure that the canvas is in 300 pixels per inch resolution and CMYK colors. Once all this is set, you’re ready to hit OK and make a very large image that will work for all your printing needs without losing the quality of your design.
This really is important, and one of the reasons that people get frustrated when printing their own work. You absolutely must set the resolution to 300 ppi in order for the print quality to be crisp and sharp. While this will make your canvas seem enormous, it actually still prints at the size you set it to print at (in my case, without resizing, I would print a 12 x 12 inch square). The difference is the quality of that print.
The style of logo that Starbucks® uses is all based on layers of circles. This gives a feeling of both depth and security. Not only does the brand feel like it has a lot of depth to it, but the circles give the feeling of continuity that lets the customer feel secure in their purchase.
We’re going to be working with a palette of 3 colors: black, white, and a color of your choice. The color you choose should reflect the ‘feeling’ you want your business to have. If you’re fun and spunky, consider bright pastels or even neons. If you want to stick with very corporate and sophisticated, true blues, reds, and greens are your top picks. Baby item seller? Stick with soft baby colors – blue, pink, or yellow.
Now, it’s time to create the circles. In all, you should have 5 circles in the following order (starting from the back, or bottom, layer): your color, white, your color, white, black.
To create this look, start with a circle (use your circle shape tool and be sure to rasterize the layer when it’s done) in your color that nearly fills the canvas. The actual width of each ‘line’ of circle that you make will depend on the circles that you create after this one. Play around with the widths, keeping in mind that the 3rd circle in will hold your company’s text and that the innermost circle is for the logo graphic. Reference the 2nd illustration attached to this article for an example.
NOTE: The shade of purple chosen was because purple is often associated with fashion, while the deep shade gives the feeling of lush comfort – perfect for a fashion logo, which is what is being created in the illustrations.
It’s time to add text and, if you want, little symbols to your text area. This area should be the 3rd circle in, or your large your-color circle.
Your text should be white, but the actual font you use is totally up to you. Go for something feminine and cursive if you’re designing a beauty logo, for example, or very clear and blocky for a construction business. In other words, the font should also reflect your company.
Since I’m designing for a beauty company in the examples, I’ve chosen a light, airy font that can be read even on small products but still feels feminine. To start, simply type the top and bottom lines of text roughly where they need to be placed. If you want to add graphic elements to the sides, place them now.
Reference the 3rd illustration attached to this article for an example.
This step is relatively simple, if a bit time consuming. Especially if you’re a perfectionist like me. What you need to do now is simply bend the top and bottom text and size it so that it fills most of the curved space.
Take deep breaths, step away if you have to, this part can be frustrating but it makes the logo.
Reference the 4th illustration attached to this article for an example.
Believe it or not, this is the last step. Here is where we take our silhouette and plop it in the center, do a couple of things, and have a beautiful logo ready to use.
If your silhouette is the typical black image on a white background, you will need to invert the colors. To do that, open your silhouette and go to “Image” and choose “Adjustments”. From the pop-out menu, choose “Invert”. This should flip the colors around.
If it does not flip the colors around, or you wind up with some funky color instead of white for your silhouette, the fix is simple. Go to “Select”, choose “Color Range”, and click the black. Then, fill the selection with white.
Now that this is done, copy-paste the graphic on top of all the layers in your logo canvas. You will probably have to do some re-sizing to get the graphic to fit properly.
Once you have the basic fit down, you have two options: you can either select the white layer behind your black layer, choose “Select” and pick “Invert Selection” before hitting the backspace key to remove anything outside the lines, or you can choose to let the graphic stray outside the lines.
With that, you’re done. Make sure to save the file as a .psd so that you can edit and resize it at any time.
For my final outcome (and did I decide to stay inside or color outside the lines?) check the first illustration attached to this article.