How to Make a Logo in Illustrator
A logo is the most crucial design people use to identify a business, brand, or organization. And given their flexible positioning, logos are used on pamphlets, advertisements, business cards, t-shirts, and everything associated with a brand.
A logo design is an essential part of a business’s brand building. It grants you the capability to relate and communicate with your target audience through your choice of color, basic shapes, size, and even font selection of your texts. A logo plays a critical part in the brand’s identity. You usually see it on signposts, social media posts, website posts, advertisement videos, business cards, and other marketing material.
There are a few ways one can create a logo design, but the best method followed by designers worldwide is using Adobe Illustrator.
You may think this is much work if this is your first time, but you don’t have to worry about it. A beginner in a logo design project or not, this blog post will guide you through the best steps and the necessary details you need to know to design the best logo project for your brand.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride through this simple logo tutorial on how to design a logo using Illustrator to help boost the product sales of your brand as you’ve always wanted.
Why Design a Logo in Adobe Illustrator?
Although Adobe suite also contains the fantastic design and editing software, Adobe Photoshop, it is Illustrator with its user-friendly experience that is the favorite choice for designing logos. Irrespective of the industry, medium, style, and your work output – digital, print, or video.
And the number one reason for that is that Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor. Thus, images designed in Adobe Illustrator can be stretched to any size without the worry of pixelization or distortion. Additionally, Adobe Illustrator has access to the Pantone library, which is used for professional printing.
For your easy understanding, we have distributed this blog into six parts explaining the step-by-step creative process required to create logos.
Plan your design
Start by planning your logo design. Connect with your client and get the following,
Get a Design Brief
The first instance is to get your design brief from your client. This will help you be on the same page for the design process. Then, details such as the color shades, the shape of the logo, the font, and others are determined. Here, you will get introduced to the brand, know the specific purpose of the logo design project, and understand the message to be conveyed to the target audience. In most cases, the brand lets you suggest a design style based on their professional judgment and experience.
Think about your brand identity
A logo is a gateway to a brand. The logo you design will help people identify the brand or business for years. But, before you start designing a logo, take time to think about the brand’s identity like,
- What is the brand about, and what does it stand for?
- What makes the brand different from competitors?
- Does the brand have any figurative symbols or images?
- Does the brand have its brand colors established?
Design Your Logo Using Basic Shapes
Jot down a few keywords that click well with the brand’s name and identity. Then, with inspiration from the keywords you’ve jotted down, start to draft the outline of your logo. Combine shapes such as freeform shapes, different vector shapes, and a few color combinations and try different styles and ideas that best describe the logo for the design.
Once you have a general idea of your brand’s logo, start sketching your design ideas. And you can do this either on paper or in Illustrator. Do not start adding color at this stage. Nor should you go with the first idea that comes to your head; after all, professional graphic designers often sketch hundreds of rough ideas as per their own unique workflow before deciding upon the final design.
Seek Client Views
After you’ve designed some rough logos, narrow it down to a few of your favorites. For best results, gain insights from other graphic designers. And if you are designing for someone else, show it to your client and see if they have any input.
Start your Design
Once you have your design structure, start to design in Adobe Illustrator.
Open Adobe Illustrator by clicking on the icon on your PC or Mac.
Though Illustrator allows you to work with it for free, it is best to buy the full version to use all the available tools.
Once you open illustrator, double-click on the File menu to open a new document from the main menu.
Click on the new file.
Select a name for the file next to the “name” option.
Then, click Ok.
Once your new illustrator file is open, turn on the ruler option.
Adding rulers to your artboard will make it easier to add guides.
Drag a guide onto the artboard by selecting and dragging the ruler on the left or top. To enable rulers, follow these steps.
- Click on View in the menu bar at the top.
- Hover your cursor over Rulers.
- Click on Show Rulers.
Once the rulers are set in place, adjust the artboard to fit your logo idea.
The artboard tool is an icon that resembles a square with crop marks in its corners. It can be chosen from the toolbar on the left. Click on the icon and then drag the white artboard’s edges to the center of the screen to start adjusting the artboard’s size.
Most vector logos are designed in vertical versions of either a square or rectangle-shaped artboard. These types of logos will look good on posters, social media cover pages, signs, and banners, but a square-shaped logo will fit into most media platforms, such as the top of a business card, brochures, or social media profile icon.
Once you are done, click the File option in the menu bar at the top of the page.
Sometimes brands use monogram logos.
Follow these few steps to create your perfect monogram logo with texts.
Start by selecting the text tool/type tool. You can find it on the toolbar on the left with an icon that resembles a “T.” (The toolbar on the left ideally consists of all the essential tools a designer needs).
Select the font you want to work with in the drop-down menu next to the “character” option. And from the second drop-down menu next to the “character” option, select the format you want your text to be in (i.e., regular, bold, italic, etc.).
Using traditional fonts like Times New Roman or Garamond gives a formal look to a logo design.
While using a sans-serif font like Helvetica brings a more modern approach. It is best to avoid using overly decorative fonts that are difficult to read. Also, avoid mixing different fonts in your design.
And if you are downloading free fonts online, best be aware of the licensing agreements for the fonts since many free fonts are free for personal use but are not authorized for commercial use.
Once you have selected the font and format, you can add the text to the artboard.
Click anywhere on the artboard to add a text cursor. Type your text. It is best to add separate text objects for each word, especially if you plan to use different colors or sizes for the words in your logo design.
While adding your text, it is best to keep an eye on these few points,
- It is best to not add color to your logo yet. Since color printing might not always be an option, thus, designing a simple black and white logo to start with will enable your logo to look good in its simplest form.
- You can also use the text opting on a Pathfinder Tool to add text in a circle or curvy shape.
Now it is time to start adjusting the size and spacing of the text added. Start by double-clicking the text to highlight it. Then click on the “character” option at the top menu to display the character adjustment menu. Next, follow the steps to adjust your texts using the character menu.
- Font Size: In the drop-down, you can adjust the font size by selecting either the small “T” or the large “T.” Or you can use the selection tool (An icon that looks like a black mouse cursor in the left toolbar) to change the size of your font.
- Leading: Use the leading option to change the space between the lines of your text. The icon looks like an “A” placed on top of another “A” to help you change the leading.
- Kerning: Use this tool to adjust the space between characters. Start by highlighting the characters you want to adjust and then use the drop-down menu to choose the icon looking like an “A,” and a “V” are being pushed together to adjust the kerning.
- Tracking: This option is used to adjust the space between all characters in a text. The icon looks like an “A,” and a “V” are being pushed apart to adjust the tracking.
- Horizontal Scale: Use this option to stretch the characters to make them wider or thinner horizontally. In the drop-down menu, choose the icon that looks like a “T” being stretched vertically to adjust the horizontal scale of your text.
- Vertical Scale: Use this option to stretch the characters to make them taller or shorter vertically. The icon that looks like a “T” being stretched vertically is used to adjust the vertical scale of your text.
It is necessary that you vectorize the font. The fonts you chose for your logo may not be available on all platforms. Thus, once you have your text the way you want, it is best you vectorize them. This will transform the text into a vector graphic instead of a separate text object. But, be aware that you wouldn’t be able to edit your text after you have vectorized them.
These steps will help you better vectorize your text,
- On the toolbar to the left, click the selection tool
- Click on the text object.
- Click on the Type option in the menu bar at the top.
- Finally, click Create Outlines to finalize vectorization.
Create shapes using the Pen tool and Rectangle tool
Start by selecting the shape tool. It is the rectangle icon on the toolbar to the left. Click and hold on to the rectangle tool to see other shape tool options. Then, click on the simple shapes of your choice for your logo. For example, if you want to sketch out a face, you can use the ellipse tool and draw a circle or oval shape for the head.
- It is a good idea to separate your text from your images in different layers
- Use the Pen Tool if you want to create a new shape or more complex shapes.
- The Live Trace tool helps you create a direct vector image from a photo or complex image.
The easiest way to create images in Adobe Illustrator is by combining and removing simple photos. Then, choose a shape tool and click and drag to add the shape to your artboard.
- Hold the Shift key while you click and drag the shape to keep the same proportions.
- Do not add color to the logo yet. Stick to simple black and white version of the logo.
To add another shape to the first shape, use the same shape tool or any other shape tool and follow the above click and drag method. For example, you can add two small ovals on both sides of a large oval to look like ears and use small circles to cut out the eyes.
If you want to select both the shapes, click the selection tool from the toolbar on the left and then click and drag all the shapes you want to change.
Now you can also use the path tool to create shapes for that,
Open pathfinder tool. It is a tool looking like a square overlapping another square in the sidebar to the right. If you cannot find the tool follow the below steps,
- Click on the Windows option in the menu bar
- There click on the Pathfinder tool.
Using the pathfinder tool now, you can create shapes by using the following sub-tools,
- Unite: This tool helps to join selected shapes into a single shape. The icon looks like two squares are joined together.
- Minus Front: This tool cuts the shape on top out from the shape on the bottom. The icon looks like a square with its corner cut out.
- Intersect: Use this tool to remove all shapes but where two shapes overlap. The icon looks like two squares forming a small square in the middle.
- Exclude: Use this tool to remove the area where two shapes overlap. The icon looks like two squares with the corners cut out in the middle.
You can also use the direct selection tool to adjust the lines and curves. This tool is the second icon on the toolbar to the left. The icon looks like a white mouse cursor.
You will see white dots on the lines and corners of your shapes when you zoom in. These are called Vectors. By using the Direct Select tool, click and drag the vectors to move them anywhere. By doing so, you can move the corners and expand the shapes.
If you click on a vector with the Direct Select tool, you will see two lines with dots on end attached to the vector. These are called Bezier Curves. Click and drag them as you wish to adjust the curves of your shapes. Check out the related guide, how to make a transparent background in Illustrator.
Now is the time you start adding color.
Click on the artboard icon. The icon looks like two overlapping pieces of paper on the sidebar on the right. Do not confuse this with the artboard tool in the toolbar on the left. If you do not see the artboard icon, follow the below steps,
- Click on the windows option in the menu bar on the top
- Select the artboards option.
To add a new artboard to your file, click on the small paper icon in the lower right corner of the artboards menu.
Using the selection tool, click and drag the entire logo to the first artboard, click on the edit option in the menu bar, and click on the Copy option.
Now, navigate the second artboard and click on the edit option in the menu bar. Click on the paste option to paste the logo to the second artboard. Rather than adding color to the original logo in the first artboard, save it as a black and white line-art file. Make a separate logo version with color.
Now on the new artboard, click on the shape you want to add color to.
To do this, click on the swatches menu. The icon looks like a grid with different color squares in the sidebar menu to the right. And if you cannot find the swatches menu,
- Click on the Windowsoption in the menu bar
- Then, click on Swatches.
Now, click on the color swatches libraries icon. The icon looks like two folders stacked together in the lower-left corner of the swatches menu. You will get a drop-down menu with different swatch libraries, such as the earth tones, natural tones, kids stuff, metal tones, color properties, skin tones, and many more. To access Pantone swatches, go to Color books in the swatch libraries menu. Find the top guide for how to crop in Illustrator.
From the swatch, libraries click on a color for the selected object on the artboard. Start with simple colors. It is best to start your design using the same color, slowly up the color game, and create different color versions in the final artboard. You can also use the gradient effect to bring more complex color blends. However, it’s best to do this on the final artboard with a full-color copy of your logo. Also, you can check out the difference between graphic design and Illustration.
Export your logo design
To export your final logo, click on the File option onthe menu bar at the top.
Then click Save As.
Select “Illustrator EPS” as the file type. In the drop-down menu next to “Save as Type,” select the “Illustrator EPS” option. This is the standard file format for printing most logos in vector format.
- You can also choose the “Adobe PDF” option to save the logo in PDF format.
- If you plan on using the logo in Adobe Animate or from Adobe After Effects, it’s recommended that you save a copy in “SVG” file format.
Finally, click Save. And your final logo design gets saved in the selected file format in Adobe Illustrator.
Though there are many methods to create logos it is best to decide and practice your own unique workflow that will set you apart from your peers. Check out the related guide for how to remove background in Illustrator.