If you are wondering how to make a logo in Photoshop, we need to provide an important clarification first. Photoshop was not made to design logos. While Photoshop is certainly about much more than just photos, and it offers a huge array of tools for designers and illustrators, there’s a reason it isn’t usually used to create logos.
Usually you want to create a logo that can be scaled up and down without losing quality. For 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 at a later stage, you’ll find that its quality deteriorates and becomes ‘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, you also have access to Illustrator. In that case, you might want to check out our tutorial on how to design a logo in Illustrator (opens in new tab)guiding you through the process from concept to completion.
However, if you only have Photoshop as a single app or as part of Adobe’s Photography plan, don’t worry. You can create a logo in Photoshop, but keep in mind that you may run into problems if you want to resize it. If you don’t have either software, see our Photoshop download and Adobe Illustrator download guides.
How to make a logo in Photoshop
In the guide below, we’ll walk you through a basic option for creating a logo in Photoshop using simple shape tools, gradients, and text options. Of course, in Photoshop you want to create a logo that reflects your brand, not the specific example we are going to create for demonstration purposes, but you can use the same concepts and tools to create your own design. For some tips, see our logo design feature.
01. Create a new canvas in Photoshop
Open Photoshop and create a new document. I used a 500px x 500px canvas size, 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 50px. Then enable the grids in the canvas by pressing cmd + ‘ (ctrl + ‘ in 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 press pand make sure it’s set to Shape instead of Path in the box to the left of the options bar. Use the pen to draw the shape of an arrowhead, starting at the center of the canvas and using gridline intersections for your other points (if you are unfamiliar with the pen tool, note that to draw a straight line you just need to click and release where you want the points – do not hold and try to draw a line as if it were a brush).
Naming the layers is not necessary for this project, but it can be very useful in more complicated documents, where there are many layers.
03. Duplicate and edit the shape
Duplicate the layer by pressing cmd + . to push J (ctrl + J) and click on the new layer to select it. Use the direct selection tool, shortcut A, to click the top point of the arrowhead, in the center of the canvas. Move this point down a few grid squares and hold down the Shift key to keep it locked on 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 bottom sliders to reveal RGB options, where you can choose your colors; I went for a light and dark blue. Then apply this gradient to both objects and change the rotation of the gradient so that they face each other. If you can’t see the fill options, you may have selected the Move tool, so switch to the Pen or Shape tool.
05. Group and duplicate your layers
Group the two layers by selecting them and pressing the group button, which looks like a small folder, located at the bottom of the Layers tab. This prevents the Layers tab from getting cluttered and makes it easier to handle the two layers together.
Duplicate this group (right-click and select Duplicate Group), then use the Free Transform tool to rotate the new group ninety degrees, while holding down the Shift key to rotate in fifteen-degree increments. You can access Free Transform using cmd + T or under Edit > Free Transform. Now move the second group up, until it reflects the original shape, with the center of the canvas as a line of symmetry. Repeat to create the shape shown above.
06. Transform the Shapes
Push each shape up or down a grid square, away from the center, with Shift + cursor key.
07. Group, Duplicate, Repeat
Use the same method from step #5 to group the layers together, duplicate the group and rotate by 45 degrees. The new shape should resemble some sort of crosshair shape.
08. Draw a circle with the shape tool
Scroll through Shape Tools until you find a circle, by clicking and holding the icon in the toolbar or pressing Shift + you. Click the center of the canvas, hold down 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 redo your shape with Free Transform.
09. Draw a rectangle and align to the center
Scroll through the shape tools again until you find the rectangle tool. Draw a white box over the image, above the other layers, so that there is enough space for text. You can align this to the center of the canvas by clicking the rectangular layer and the bottom layer (which should be a white square, the same size as the canvas) and using the alignment tools found under Layers > Align In the menu bar or the alignment buttons in the options bar.
More advanced users could use this rectangle to subtract from the shapes below, using Layer > Combine Shapes, but for now we’ll just keep using it as a white block.
10. Add your text
Next, we’ll add some text in our easy method of creating a logo in Photoshop. Draw a text box over the rectangle by clicking the T icon in the toolbar or by pressing Tand then drag across the canvas. Type your text in the box and center it using the buttons on the Character tab. Again use the alignment tool to center this on the canvas.
11. Choose a suitable font
Choose a font that fits your brand. There are plenty of free fonts out there, but it’s critical to pick one you’re allowed to use – check out our pick of the best free fonts for some ideas. Since this logo can appear on many of your items, make sure you don’t use an illegally downloaded font – you might be surprised how quickly you hear from the owner. Play with size and color until you like what you see.
12. Adjust your kerning
Core 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 V | A, or by clicking between the letters and pressing alt + left or alt + right. For more information on kerning, see our post on how to type characters.
13. Add and Export Final Details
To finish creating your logo in Photoshop, make the final adjustments you need to give it something special. For the main image at the top of this page, we’ve added two smaller bars above and below the text, colored with the same gradient. We’ve also added a background, shadow, and reflection, using similar techniques to the other steps, and also using layer masks to add blur.
When you are satisfied, you can save the image in any format you want, for example RGB jpg for web format. It’s a good idea to save it as a psd file so you can go back to it and make changes in the future.
14. How to Vectorize a Logo in Photoshop
Photoshop is a raster-based design program rather than vectors, but it can vectorize images for export, which is ideal if you want to resize them. That’s probably the case if you’re 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 a work path’ then press A to go to the direct selection tool. Right click again and select ‘Create vector mask’. You can then save the file in Photoshop EPS format.