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How to Create a Logo on Illustrator

How to Create a Logo on Illustrator main article image
Posted on November 26, 2022 by Lyndsey Drooby

For many designers, Illustrator is the chosen software for logo creation. It is considered the industry standard to design a stunning logo for print, video and digital representation. The basics to design your own logo and branching out to create logos and branding for others, it all comes down to getting it done on Illustrator.

Creating a logo is the foundation of your visual presence. It encompasses the values of the company, be it a solo venture or a full corporation through a series of colors and shapes. A logo communicates everything about you or a business.

First things first, when it comes to any design, work begins with finding your visual voice by brainstorming ideas that you want to represent in the logo. It could be themes behind the values or if there is a specific product, to incorporate that into the logo. Think of keywords that come to mind about what you are trying to communicate. Think colors, moods and objects and jot them down. Creative Fabrica has several Logo Bundles which can help you get inspiration while you start out.

How to Make a Logo With Adobe Illustrator for Beginners

Think of an ice cream shop, for example. Some words that may come to mind are:

  • pink
  • turquoise
  • ice cream – sundaes, cones, chocolate, sprinkles
  • summer, sunshine
  • family-friendly
  • fun, youthful, memories, nostalgia

Sketch out ideas and if working with a client, you’re usually working off of brainstormed ideas. Collaborate with the client, or even ask yourself some questions to fine-tune what want to present:

  • What does the business do? What are the demographics? Who are you trying to target?
  • If the company has existed for some time, ask about the history and if the name or prior designs have meaning and want to continue to be added into new designs.
  • What are the business’ values?
  • Are there any design trends you want to tap into for a refreshed look?

Once ideas and preliminary sketches are agreed upon, then you can start the work on digitizing it. Time to bring the entire concept to life!

You can live-trace the drawing you made on paper and scan it to Photoshop and use reference images you used to work with the client. You could also try a freehand draw directly in Photoshop and when you upload it to Illustrator you can use the other tools to clean up the work. You can also draw a sketch directly in Illustrator with a few differences. Let’s dig into this further.

Live Tracing

The hand-drawing method is set up by working with the pen tool and drawing out the logo as precisely as you can based off the sketch. When you are content with the way the hand-drawn logo looks to you, open Illustrator and create a new CMYK document. Import the image by uploading the file.

Next, you will select the image and click on Image Trace, which is located at the top of the screen under the Object tab. Open the Image Trace panel, which you will see a drop-down menu with options. Using Silhouettes is a good choice for tracing logo sketches, but experiment and see how the others work for you. When you’re satisfied with the results, click Expand on the toolbar. The logo and any included elements are individual vector shapes now. The shapes can be moved around and repositioned however you wish.

Drawing in Illustrator

  • Open Illustrator and create a new CMYK document and import the drawing. In the Layers Panel, give a name to the layer that is of the sketch. Use the opacity slider to reduce the opacity and lock the layer. After that, you will create a new layer on top.

  • Select the Pen Tool and start tracing the sketch. What is different here is that you are plotting anchor points that follow along the path of the sketch. Try to use the fewest number of points while still controlling the shape of your drawing. As a tip, if you are tracing lettering, press Shift as you go along to keep points vertical or horizontal to maintain control over the shapes of letters.

  • Once the tracing is complete, clean it up by adding stylized features to it. For example, if you want softer edges, perhaps apply a feather or blur tool to the design.
  • Now if you didn’t use lettering in the logo, or are looking to add a tagline, it’s time to add text. If you’re working along the shape of the logo, you can click Type on a Path to add text along the curves. To type on a path, check out how to do this step here. Since this is a very visual process, this is an outstanding source to watch how to take a sketch and draw it in Illustrator.

Adding Color

When it comes to adding color, work with your client on the color choices and make sure they make sense for the company. Knowing color theory and the current trends helps out immensely. The goal is to make the logo stand out and be memorable.

  • To go about adding color, select the elements that need color.
  • Click the Shape Builder tool and hove the cursor over the spaces you want to add color.
  • Once every shape is created, experiment with color blends.
  • If there are any elements you wish to change, click Recolor Artwork located on the toolbar to adjust color values.

Showing the Client Your Results

When the logo looks great, you can put it together into a nice presentation for your client. What you want to show is your process along the way and show different color versions. It is important to package up the designs in different file formats that will work on different mediums. This logo will be used online, in print materials and signage. Also, sending full color with black and white, separate black and separate white versions is another good idea considering the options the client has for various opportunities at presenting the brand.

When packaging all of the logo iterations, you’ll want to export these 7 files:

  • Illustrator file in both CMYK and RGB color profiles
  • EPS file in both CMYK and RGB color profiles
  • SVG file in RGB color profile
  • PNG file (with transparent background) in RGB color profile
  • JPG file in RGB color profile

When you need to change color profiles, click File > Document Color Mode and select the desired color profile. You can switch between changing files from CMYK format for print to RGB format for web.

Organize the files by naming them exactly what they are, for example: “BusinessLogo_FullColor_RBG.svg”.

A Final Word…

Creating a logo can be a challenging process, but if you’re looking to start off your own design business, start off with your own and practice the steps above. Once you get a knack for it and have practiced navigating your way around Illustrator, the flow of your work will go by easier.

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