How to Make a Logo in Photoshop

If you want to know how make a logo in Photoshop, you’re probably starting a business or side hustle. You don’t have tons of cash, but you have plenty of creativity. For now, all you need is a simple logo to make your business feel legit. Once the revenue starts pouring in, you’ll hire a designer. For now, you’re going to make it yourself in Photoshop. 

Sound familiar?

Before we get started, let’s clear the air on an important point: Photoshop is not ideal for logo design. It can be done, and I’ll outline the step-by-step design process below, but understand that Photoshop is better suited for photos and highly-detailed artwork.

When it comes to logo design, Adobe Illustrator is king. That’s because it is vector-based, which allows for scaling without a loss of image quality. Photoshop is raster-based. Therefore, artwork created with Photoshop is not good for scaling because it uses pixels.

Why does this matter? You are going to use your logo in different ways. Each one will require an appropriate image size. You may also need different versions of your logo. Not only will you run into problems scaling a raster image, but Illustrator is better for modifying artwork consisting of basic shapes.

That said, there are still some valid reasons why you might choose Photoshop to make your logo. It could be that you’re using Adobe’s Single App License. Or perhaps you’re more comfortable using Photoshop in general. (If you’ve never used Illustrator before, I get it: Learning a new software program from scratch can be a daunting task.)

To use myself as an example, I began using Photoshop in 2008 and, over time, became reasonably proficient at it. I didn’t learn Illustrator until much later, and always felt like I was playing catch-up. This is partially why I used a logo maker for my online business.

How Do You Make a Logo in Photoshop?

For this tutorial, I’m going to design a logo for a fictitious Web 3.0/blockchain company called Layer 2 Solutions. My plan is to make a classic combination mark using text and image. The image part will consist of a simple cube shape with a gradient. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Preparation

If you’re designing a logo for your small business, you probably already have a pretty good idea what you’re after. However, if you’re struggling to find ideas, here are some prompts to guide you:

  • What does my brand stand for? 
  • Why is my business unique?
  • What are its core values? 
  • What is its personality? 

Next, it’s time for some image research. The goal here is not to copy but to find a reference image (or two) for inspiration. When looking at other logos, note what you like, what you don’t like, what works, what doesn’t, and how you might do it differently.  

Once you have a solid idea, sketch it out on your graphics tablet, iPad, laptop. Even if you aren’t very skilled at drawing, this step is essential because it helps you visualize your concept beforehand.

By now, you should be chomping at the bit to make your logo in Photoshop. So, in the next step, we will create a new document and get started.

Step 2: Set Your Grid

First, open up Adobe Photoshop and create a new document: File > New.

I set mine to 12 x 12 inches. As mentioned earlier, you can’t scale up a PSD file, but you can always make it smaller. That’s why you should make the Artboard size much larger than you actually need.

Now, it’s time to set up your grid: Photoshop > Preferences > Guides, Grids, & Slices.

Directions for grid settings

I set my grid to a quarter of an inch. I wanted the lines to be compact, so I could zoom in and make minor adjustments if needed.

Step 3: Create the Image

As mentioned earlier, my logo will be a simple 3D cube shape. To do this:

  1. Click the Rectangle Tool and make a square.
  2. Select a color so that the square stands out against the background.
  3. Activate the Transform Tool: Edit > Transform > Skew.
  4. Transform the square by dragging the left side up half an inch.
  5. Duplicate the shape: Option + drag.
  6. Flip the duplicate so that the two shapes mirror each other.
  7. Drag the two sides together to form a chevron.
  8. Click the Rectangle Tool and make another square.
  9. Rotate the new one 45 degrees.
  10. Drag the right anchor so the width aligns with the chevron.
  11. Do the same with the height.
  12. Move the two shapes together to form a hexagon.
Finding Rectangle Tool in Photoshop
Process of making cube logo

Step 4: Add Color

Gradients have been trending, so I am going to apply one to my cube. Thankfully, Adobe added a Gradient panel, which makes this step a cinch.

First, open up the Gradients panel: Window > Gradients. Now, click on each section of your cube and make your selection.

For more advanced options, go to: Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Then, select Gradient Overlay. This will give you complete control of the gradient through minor adjustments, including Angle and Opacity.

Using the Gradient Tool on logo

Step 5: Place Your Text

Now that the cube is finished, I can add text to bring it one step closer to completion.

First, open up the Horizontal Text Tool. On a Mac, press the letter T on your keyboard or look for the T icon on your toolbar.

Once the tool is selected, draw a text box. To do this, position your mouse beneath the image, then click-and-drag your cursor to make a rectangle shape.

Using text tool in Photoshop

Now, place your cursor inside the rectangle shape and type out the word or letters you want on your logo. To choose a different typeface, go to the font menu at the top of the screen, then scroll through the list of options.

My system defaults to Apple Symbols, which is pretty boring. I wanted something that expressed the brand’s identity, so I chose Kobe by VJ Type.

Step 6: Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

Now that you have all the elements in place, it’s time to iterate. Even if you are reasonably happy with v1 of your logo, you should come up with 5–10 different versions, place them side-by-side, and see what works best.

For example, you could move the text around, try a larger font size, change the background color, or apply a filter. These changes don’t have to be drastic. Sometimes, a little tweak is all that’s needed. 

At this stage, making a mockup of your logo design is beneficial to see how it will look IRL. Additionally, if you have access to a printer, I recommend printing the logo on paper. I do this with all my projects and always find something that needs to be changed.

Step 7: Export File

The exporting options depend on how your logo will be used. In any case, it’s a good idea to save a master copy as a PSD. This will allow you to go back and make changes. Don’t save the master as a JPG or TIF, as these file formats don’t support layers.

I am going to export my logo as a transparent PNG image for a website. Since I have been working with a white background all this time, I need to delete the background layer first. Then, I can do this: File > Export > Quick Export as PNG. 

Finished cube design

Conclusion

I hope this design tutorial showed you that: a) creating a logo for your business is possible even if you are not a designer, and b) even though Photoshop is better suited for complex artwork, you can still use it to make an eye-catching logo.

If you went through the whole process and are still struggling, you could always hire a professional designer or try an online graphic design program.

The benefits of hiring a designer are obvious: You will get a unique and custom logo completely aligned to your brand’s identity.

But if you don’t have the time or budget to hire a professional, a logo maker like Looka is a fantastic option.

FAQ

Can I make a business logo in Photoshop?

The answer is yes. You can absolutely design a business logo in Photoshop. The question you have to ask yourself is: Why?

While Photoshop can certainly get the job done, Illustrator is a much more ideal software for making logos, which is why so many design professionals opt for it instead. 

How do you make a logo in Photoshop transparent?

Here are two ways you can make a logo transparent in Photoshop:

  • When creating a new document (File > New), find the Background Contents section. Then, select Transparent from the dropdown menu.
  • Create your document with a regular background, and before exporting the file, delete the background layer. This effectively makes the background transparent.

What software is best for logo design? 

For professional use, Adobe Illustrator is the best software for logo design because of its versatility. Let me explain:

As a business owner, you might begin your journey by only needing a logo for your website or social media. But as things grow and evolve over time, you may need to place it on the side of a car or a building.

You may also find that you need variations of your logo for different occasions: one black-and-white, one with special colors, one without type, etc.

The point is that Illustrator is adept at handling these changes because it is raster-based and includes countless powerful features. This is why it is the most trusted logo design software among professionals.

Further Reading

If you’re an entrepreneur, side hustler, or freelancer, a logo is just one part of the puzzle. To really stand out, you might want to use some smart branding ideas for your business.