Quickly Create a Quality Logo Without Photoshop or a Designer

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Every successful website needs a logo, but creating a logo without a dedicated designer can be difficult. There are logo generators to be found on the Web, but many of them use stock clip art and just don't look good. However, you can create a nice image and text logo using Picnik, a free service.

First, find an image using CreativeCommons.org. Choose the options, "Search for works I can use for commercial purposes," and/or "Search for works I can modify, adapt, or build upon." Or, choose an image you have created on your own, or a photo you for which you own the rights. Once you find an image, save it to your computer.

Next, go to Picnik.com and upload the image. Now you can modify the image using the "Create" tab where you can add effects, frames, etc. Once you get the image to your liking, save it again to your computer.

Now open your image editor on your computer. (Most PCs come with Paint, in the "accessories" menu.) Drop in your saved image and create a large white space around it. Save this as a separate file.

Go back to Picnik and upload the image with the large white space and again click on the "Create" tab. Click on "Text," find a font you like and type your company or brand name in the box above the font listings. The default setting for the text is white, so choose another color from the palette, and you'll see your text. You can then resize the text and move it around inside the white space you created and around your image. Test different font sizes, even spacing between words if you want to put the logo in between words or letters. Alter the color of your font as you see fit. You can then add another block of words if you wish and alter that separately.

When you're satisfied, click on the "Edit" tab. Here, you can crop out the remaining white space around your new logo, and resize the image to something appropriate for your website header. When finished, click on the "Save & Share" tab, name your logo and save. You're then ready to use your logo.

Make sure you save versions of your logo often, as you might want to revert back to a previous version at any time. Also save a large version of your logo separately - you can always trim the size down, but once saved that way, it will lose quality if you want to make it bigger.

Below is the finished logo I created using Picnik and Paint, in about 10 minutes.

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16 comments

Michelle 02-19-2009 12:46 PM

Ummm.... Ew. I'm sorry, but this logo sucks! Unless you have the talent, there is no substitute for professional-quality design. You get what you pay for.

Rob S 02-19-2009 12:52 PM

I'm sorry, but this is a very bad blog post. How many colors are in that logo? To me it says, "free font and cheap icon off google image search". Even worse it says, "unprofessional".

Look at the big boys: Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Amazon, etc. Clean, professional logos that stand out and are instantly recognizable.

Skimp out on a good, high-quality logo, skimp out on a good first impression and serious bank (ie: sales)

Mike Phillips 02-19-2009 1:02 PM

Yes, this is a cheap logo -and I'm not a designer. No, I would never expect Dell, Microsoft or IBM to use Picnik to create their logo.

That said, it might be a nice way to generate ideas, etc.

And for domainers, not a bad way to get some character into an otherwise parked page, instead of spending money on a professional design.

For all you designers out there, I'd love to see what kind of logo can be created using Creative Commons, Paint and Picnik, with a designer's touch. Put something together and email me at mike@websitemagazine.com, and I'll display them in this post!

Michelle 02-19-2009 1:32 PM

Mike,

I understand you're not a designer; however, "quality" is a misnomer in your headline. I think that is part of what is offending those of us who are creative professionals, along with "without a designer."

I'd rather your headline say "How to create a quick (and free) logo using Picnik."

RobS 02-19-2009 1:37 PM

I think maybe that would give people a false sense of perception that anyone can fix up a professional logo on that type of software. GIMP would probably work (I use Photoshop) but you still need some talent to pull off a good logo for extended use.

Mike Phillips 02-19-2009 1:56 PM

Understood, and thank you for your feedback.

My intention here is not to tell people that they don't need professional design for their bread-and-butter business, but rather showing people that may not have a budget how to get a little character for their website or blog.

And my example is just that - it's why I stated that it took me 10 minutes.

If you go to http://seemychicago.com you'll see another one created with Picnik. Again, the aim is to add some character to a site - this one a Wordpress blog where the only expense incurred thus far is $10 for the domain name.

Thanks for reading, Rob and Michelle, certainly appreciate active readers such as yourselves!

RobS 02-19-2009 2:23 PM

I love the magazine. Thanks for interacting with us.

JamesC 02-20-2009 2:48 AM

Mike, I hate it when people know everything and can't have an open mind about something so elementary.  Not to insult anyone, but as a novice web site builder. And one who, I might add, doesn't have the cash to go out and hire someone more capable than I to design my logo. I think this might be an answer to many a perplexed novice to the web.  

And remember Rob and Michelle; small, poor, and humble beginnings often times create large wealthy and generous CEO's that will one day no doubt be looking for talented folks like yoursleves to design and implement what they might not could have done ten years prior.  Everyone has to start somewhere and that somewhere might have a "cheap" "unprofessional" logo, but its the dream, the drive, and the cutting some corners that will allow that dreamer to one day spend.....who knows on their new ad improved logo.

Thanks Mike for your imformative and cost cutting idea.  Hopefully this will be the last time I'll have to stoop so low.  

Mike Phillips 02-20-2009 8:03 AM

Thank you James, I'm glad you found the post helpful, and best of luck to you.

RobertB 02-20-2009 8:08 PM

Interesting way to create a quick Logo. Whether permanent, temporary or just for testing; good enough for those of us who are not as "professional" and "big" as others.

TerrenceO 02-20-2009 8:17 PM

Sorry James, it's not about "knowing everything" or being a design snob. Your logo, from a marketing perspective, is the visual core of your brand. It is THE THING that your customers remember (or forget) you by. If there is one thing that any entrepreneur should be willing to spend good money on it's their logo.

And by the way Mike, it's not the software that makes a good logo it's the thought process of the designer. It just happens to be the case that good designers seek out the most powerful tools to execute their ideas.

JohnW 02-22-2009 8:29 AM

I have created my own logo's in past and got the job done with basic tools. I used them and they were ok, but honestly, as pieces of design, they sucked. But they were within my budget meaning they became possible and I was better off with them.

For me, just a guy trying to make a difference, Picnik is a God-send.

Thanks for the post and the Magizine: WONDERFUL

JW

AndreaK 02-22-2009 1:12 PM

This would have been a blessing a few years ago when I started out with little capital... all I had to work with was Paint.  Eventually I did obtain an old version of Photoshop but also had to take a class before I felt comfortable enough to use levels and a few other basic Photoshop options.  As mentioned this is 'Quick' and could be used if non-artists have an idea and can at least see if it might fly and then can take this version of an artist (or someone more experienced with Photoshop) to 'tighten up'.  Thanks for the article!

TTFN... Andrea

Badass Builders 02-24-2009 4:45 PM

Thank you for taking the time to write this up, it is great that you took the time to offer people a way to save money in a tough economy. Although the logo idea s not too practical for most companies needs, please do not be discouraged by everyone’s snappy comments. The next article you write may be read and used by millions! I think the important thing with a good logo is that it is done in Vector format because you may want it on your business card or on a billboard. I think the logo has a great think green theme and in the right place I am sure it would look great... I have been designing for almost 15 years and it was doing things like this everyday that made the difference… Thank you again for posting...

Jeff Heveron

Badass Builders

Web Design & Marketing

585-598-4252 Business

866-591-6758 Toll Free

585-598-4210 24/7 Support

jeff@badassbuilders.com

www.BadassBuilders.com

ManeeshR 03-06-2009 3:30 PM

Test

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ConstantyD 08-30-2009 2:04 PM

What about sites like Craigslist?  Is it remembered for their logo or for what they offer?  How about Google?  How much money do you think they spent on a logo?  How many major companies today are using their first logo?  Get off your high horse and help those with less talent find ways to get their ideas onto paper and pixels.

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