The best logo design tutorial in the world… ever!

Saddle up folks. I’ve assigned you a real stonker of a tutorial. By the time you’re finished you’ll have one of the best logos in the world… ever!

Let’s begin.

6 steps to greatness

Step 1
Launch Adobe Photoshop and create a new file (no larger than 3 inches square, RGB at a maximum of 72dpi).

logo assignment

Step 2
Create a shape using the rectangle or ellipse tool (for the more adventurous, go crazy with the custom shape tool — a bit too mad for me).

logo assignment

Step 3
Rasterize your shape before applying a gradient (the more colourful the better — you want to stand out from the crowd, remember).

logo assignment

Step 4
Type your name over the shape using the horizontal type tool (extra credit for using the Brush Script, Papyrus, or Stencil fonts — I chose Stencil because I love the A-Team).

logo assignment

Step 5
Flatten the image so you can make use of available filters (release the creativity — use at least three).

logo assignment

Step 6
Save your file as a JPEG for maximum usage online and in print.

logo assignment

Crazily more memorable than that old rubbish from before.

Assignment deadline
As soon as iStock stops giving a $5 bonus for “logo” uploads.

Now, go forth and prosper, my dezigner chums!

Update: Free bonus tips

Add a sparkle. Who doesn’t love a good sparkle?
Copperplate. Another fontastic option.
The shadow. Drop it like it’s hot.
Stretch and squeeze. Customise your font proportions.
Animation. I like to. Move it.
Reflection. It’s back.

Logo Design Love, the book

163 thoughts on “The best logo design tutorial in the world… ever!

  1. If life is a game, David Airey is the clear, absolute winner.

    As a mere mortal, I’m reluctant to even attempt to replicate the mad design skillz at display here.

  2. Wow. You give me hope. I probably can churn out 100 of those logos a day, so that means that I may make 500$ on istock. A day.

  3. David, my man! Don’t go there! Your stuff is beautiful, elegant, professional, worth reading, an excellent resource. Stay above the fray. Really.

  4. Very clever, you really managed to give it a real unique look. Congratulations.

    Would have liked to have seen some Comic Sans being used though, but like you say, it’s very memorable now.

    Good job.

  5. Very nice, indeed. I think we should flood iStock’s server with these beauts even after the bonus money runs out!

  6. I think it just took me 5 minutes to breathe again after laughing! Thank you!

    I’m so stoked now to go get my istock bonus!!! With these new skills I bet I can get 20 or ore logos out a night! istock will LOVE me!

    Do you think I should make sure to use the drop-shadow on every item??

  7. This is great but how can I use it with my own name if it has 12 letters instead of 10? Would I need to use more filters? Or maybe more colors somehow?

    Thanks for the laugh.

  8. Sad thing is, at least one person will stumble across this, think it’s completely serious, and steal your logo design.

  9. its embarrassing.. i dont know about you guys.. but this design reminds me when i started designing 10 years ago..

    this logo design is part of an evolution :D lol

  10. To be honest, I can’t remember your “real” logo. But I’ll never forget this one!

    How much did Wally Ollins charge for the redesign?

  11. I can’t believe you forgot to add a drop shadow, and surely there’s space to add some clip art – go hang your head in shame!

    So funny though!

  12. Very nice and humorous article here! It may be a joke but I think the author has definitely hit the nail on the head in regards to the all too common experience of receiving customer made logos.

    The number of times you can receive jpeg logos (obviously always a poor substitute for a vector graphic version) is bad enough, but then having to explain to the customer that the logo they’ve spent so much time making at 72 DPI and only a few pixels in size is practically unusable, is another challenge all together!

    With the introduction of Photoshop and similar software into common usage, this has been the unfortunate result! Maybe it’s time the design community tried to address this issue – just wait until the slightly manipulated jpeg preview logos from the new iStock logo venture come flooding in!

  13. There comes a definitive moment in everyones career… where you are faced with a choice. To carry on, battle through adversity, or give-up.

    After seeing this tutorial, it has dawned on me that I have no hope as a designer, I simply can’t compete with the mad skillz you have demonstrated above. Frankly Sir, you are a show off. But bad feelings aside…. actually, I can’t.

    Ex Logo Designer
    Graham

  14. Ace. I must see at least three of those kinds of logo’s a week when clients send over stuff for inclusion in newsletters.

    They really are out there!

    Scary.

  15. I was trying to think of a humorous remark to make, but everyone’s already said them. Maybe you should use that “well designed logo” on your site on April Fools day, and see what responses you get.

    The sad thing is, some of the previous commentors thought that logo was legit!

    Great post, made my day :)

  16. That’s it exactly, Sneh. You must embrace the rainbow.

    Rodrigo, look at my face in the photo. I’m clearly not a kidder.

    Gillies, great question, and yes, I think that if you have more letters in your name then more colours are absolutely necessary. Notice how I haven’t yet used metallics like silver and gold. Such extras definitely push the boat.

    Graham, I’d like to say I’m sorry for forcing you into retirement, but I’m not. There’s just no competing with my creative prowess. That is all.

    Looking back through all your comments, it’s clear I can push myself to even greater heights—I know, you wouldn’t think it.

    Here are some bonus tips, 100% free:

    Add a sparkle. Everyone loves sparkles.

    Animation. The more movement the better.

    Copperplate. Another fontastic option.

    The drop shadow. Really show your skillz.

    Reflection. It’s back in style. Believe it.

  17. Take the image from step 4, inverse it, Foreground colour – black, background set to orange, Filter – Sketch – Halftone Pattern (size 11,contrast 50,patern type – line), You get a Halloween jack o lantern.

    Too much time on my hands….

  18. David, thank you for this entertaining post. It is simply more proof that logo design (and really, any design if you want your company to be taken seriously) is best left to the highly trained, skilled graphic design professionals. Sure, it might cost a bit more money than designing a logo yourself in Photoshop, but in the end odds are good you’re going to get something that you can be proud of. And that others will take notice of and respect.

    Tessa Carroll
    VBP OutSourcing

  19. Wow man, That’s it! My life and career becomes clear right now. I think my whole life was discovered by reading this post!
    The world becomes a lovely place and my career as designer will get powered.
    I’m so impressed…

  20. Cool…
    Well, unfortunatelly that’s exactly how 90% of the people think and do (including a great bubch of designers).

  21. but… why is all the people laughing as if it was irony? I like it. (But i’d use at least 150ppp, you never know if they are printing the logo bigger, like on a bus or something)

  22. Good point, jota. 150dpi will help with use on buses. Maybe one day I’ll see my design on the side of the McDonalds party bus or something of equal stature.

  23. This is definately the best tutorial I’ve ever seen.

    Is it OK if I just take a screenshot of your Step 5 and rainbow out your name and put my own in? Consider it flattery.

    *The fact that some of the comments don’t see the humor in this post is actually quite scary.*

  24. Are you not worried about the file size being 72dpi? It seems like overkill, especially at 3″ square… who needs a file that large sitting in their files?

  25. Hilarious! I loved this post because it was light hearted, and all bloggers need to be less serious once in a while ;) Hopefully no one takes this post the wrong way!

  26. How do you rasterize your shape? I thought you said this was supposed to be simple!!! Maybe it’s my stolen copy of Photoshop that’s messing things up…Does it have to be rasterized for istock to buy it? ;)

    Thanks David, I needed a good laugh.

  27. I love this!

    the new stock logo service is a pet hate of mine right now – It demeans everything I’ve every learned – never mind what it does the the art-form itself!

  28. Client was wondering if you could move the text up a little to the right and make it a bit more “funky”? I guess we could expect this logo rolled out into a branding experience? rainbow letterheads etc?

  29. Say no to rainbow gradients….. say yes to ones generated in LAB color mode buy doing various gradients in the A/B channels. They are even more obnoxious.

  30. Get ready David :) I’m going to trump this. I have a post that is almost done where I discovered an entire industry that uses this same “creative process” and even some of the same filters. And it’s the most unlikely industry you’d ever associate with…stuff like this. When I get it done, I’ll post back. Oddly, so oddly, this industry favors the use of “drop shadows” to add “class”. I have about 60 examples ready to go. The hesitation I had about the post was that it was so ugly I wasn’t sure I wanted it on my blog.

    But, you have smashed the “ugly barrier” for me and I feel validated to proceed, like that dancing guy at the music festival I just saw yesterday on one of your old posts about imitation…

  31. Jason, I don’t mind if you take a screenshot of step 5 for personal logo use, but I do ask that you at least change it a little by adding three more filters of your choosing.

    Scott, the good thing about the plastic wrap filter is indeed, as you say, that it makes everything look like it’s wrapped in plastic. Ideal for selling such pre-packaged logos, saving potential damage during delivery.

    Brian, well aren’t you adventurous! Everyone, Brian’s going to use a star instead of the oval I show. Good luck, buddy!

    Chris, you’re spot on. Logos must be rasterized before sale. It really adds to the filter effects when they’re enlarged.

    Adam, good tip, and you can go one further by stretching the text in a horizontal or vertical direction, making it look even less like everyone elses.

    LAB colour with gradients in the A/B channels—why didn’t I think of that, Jon. Beautiful work.

    Doug, I think you’re looking at something else. What is this “ugly barrier” you believe I’ve smashed? I don’t know what planet you’re on, but unless your comments are full of praise, I’m going to delete them.

  32. Nice one. Now I see where my clients’ nephews, brothers, cousins and freshman students learned to design.

  33. David: You broke the “ugly barrier”, that insipid barrier that stifles my creativity. You broke through to beauty, and for this I commend you for leading the way. My upcoming posts could easily be entitle “Breaking through to beauty”

    Blinded by the glory of this logo you forgot 2 steps. It’s understandable though.

    1) Compress RGB JPG to quality 1 so that you don’t cost the customer extra bandwidth by including extra pixels. It also has that pleasant “smoothing effect” on the sharp edgies.

    2) Paste newly compressed JPG into Word or PowerPoint and email to client. This makes it MUCH easier for the client to bring the logo to the vinyl lettering company

    One extra step I take, if I have the budget (or if I just really like the client) is to convert it to WMF format. This makes it easy for anyone else using the logo to know what it is and how to convert it. I call this step the “Converting to Microsoft” step.

    Question: Do you ever mail the client the original inkjet print outs in case they need a back up from which to reinstall their logo? It seems extravagant but I know designers who have done this.

  34. This really is CLASSIC, I agree, hats off to you :)

    Thanks for the massive chuckles! I knew there was a reason you are everyones fav blogger, this is just one of many.

    Amanda

  35. Douglas, you are a laugh riot also. Genius suggestions.

    But David, one thing …why do you suggest that the client has a web and ‘print’ JPEG, surely 72dpi alone is just fine?

  36. That helps explain, Doug. I forgive you for having me misinterpret your intentions.


    Question: Do you ever mail the client the original inkjet print outs in case they need a back up from which to reinstall their logo?

    I have done, but I find the cost associated with mailing is prohibitive for clients.

    Amanda, you’re absolutely right. I’ve made things too complicated. Something to work on — that’s right, even I’m not perfect!

  37. Awe-inspiring. I think what would really work is if the name in the logo blinked on and off and perhaps a scrolling marquee underneath it too.

    Oh! And an audio wav of Simply the Best as soon as people visit the site would blow them away!

  38. I’ve had so many requests for the hat and socks, that I have enough to get a discount on your new book. So, to make this easy, I updated the hat and socks offer:

    http://bonfx.com/breaking-through-to-logo-design-beauty-david-airey-hat-and-socks-memoribilia/

    Scroll to the bottom.

    Now, there is a giant order button, in which I have poured the magnitude of my design skills. I have achieved quadruple filter nirvana.

    The new button links directly to your pre-order page for the new book, BTW. Look in the post for a large box of hats and socks a la Airey, courtesy your’s truly. You’ll have to stuff a set in each book order.

  39. hahah loved it …. made me laugh …. as soon as i saw the eeeek GRADIENT …. and then again eeek.. comic sans, papyrus or stencil!! i knew where it was going! … hilarious!

  40. I noticed a lot of people right-clicking on the newly-minted “buy now” button for the David Airey socks and hat, trying to nab it for their own GoDaddy WebStore or tradeshow booth kiosk, so I refactored it to include a new copyright with a *very* unexpected extra deterrent I must now refer to as “copyright witch-man”:

    http://bonfx.com/breaking-through-to-logo-design-beauty-david-airey-hat-and-socks-memoribilia/

    It’s truly a case of one of those amazing “serendipity” moments that happen when you are “in da zone”, known only to hi-end designers and such.

  41. .Wav file of Simply The Best? Spits out coffee and… wipes tears from eyes..

    I only just read your blog Douglas, hilarious!

    Now you need to focus on marketing and pr. For the Hat, for instance, if you could just get someone high profile and ‘street’ like Kevin Federline to wear it …… then the other stars will follow.

    I’m sure if you speak to his agent they’ll be really excited about the opportunity.

    If they are so short sighted that they won’t take your calls, the best thing to do is to find out where Ferderline hangs out and try to get it onto Federline’s head.

    When you finally find him, just literally jump at him and attempt to place the hat…he’ll probably admire you ‘moxy’ and remember, you’re doing ‘him’ a favour by forcing this opportunity on him.

  42. Amanda: Keven Federline, that is precious! And “moxy”. Even more precious. Now honestly, since you brought it up, what beverage on earth could possibly be more apropos than the famous “Moxie” from Maine? To put it straight, Moxy tastes just like David’s logo looks:

    http://www.moxie.info/

    What is a tad creepy is that 1) David’s logo belongs on the Moxie page *near the animated train* page and 2) they use the same font on the headers of the web pages I used in my faux logo/hat pictures and buy now button and 3) I used to live in the town in Maine were Moxie was invented :)

  43. Good start, but it needs to be MUCH, MUCH larger!!!! Can you make it “POP” more? Maybe you could incorporate a bevel and nice drop shadow?

    You complete me.

  44. I didn’t know that ‘Moxie’ was a beverage….I can well imagine how it tastes just looking at their ‘corporate’ website.

    (Is it really their own website for the product!?)

  45. Wow oh my gooooood!
    That video Douglas posted, wow, I have no words for this, goddamnnnn son!

    “John Moore has worked as a freelance graphic designer for 12 years and has won numerous design awards on a regional level.”

    This has to be fake.

  46. Amanda: That is not their corporate site. I can’t even find it. I think the Moxie company is gone and another bottler handles it. Moxie tastes, I kid you not, like Coke, toothpaste, and dark-colored cold medicine, with a dash of clove, all together. It’s nasty-wonderful stuff. Take a swig, wince. It’s an acquired taste!

    Evil Genius: Jacob Cass had a tweet a few days ago with the title about “tips” for logo design which said “open the phone book”. I followed that and found a bunch more videos by the same poster. They are NOT fake.

  47. I have seen dog art on the pavement that was more professional than this… bloody juvenile tutorial!

  48. Waaaaiiit! A step is missing!

    I don’t think “use at least three filters” should be left up to amateurs. Lens flares people! A MUST!

  49. The best thing is that because it is multi-colored, it can be reused for other projects. Just change the name, and it’s a new logo. Great solution, man !

  50. LOL. I knew it was too good to be true. As soon as you said “Rasterize” I was like, “say whaaaaat?”

    Nice. It got me to read it at least lol.
    J

  51. A couple of things to make it even more awesome:

    1. EXPLICITLY specify some degree of bevel or emboss, the more extreme, the better.

    2. For EXTRA AWESOME CREDIT for you font, use Algerian.

    PS: you spelled “evar” wrong.

  52. LOL
    someone in a business suite actually handed me his business card looking like this logo..! with pictures on it, drop shadows, and any effect possible. front and back!!!

  53. That’s perfect! The name over the rainbow is just awesome, but what do you say about drop shadow below the typography? Hum? And white glow inside the circle? Think about it, you’ll have the greatest logo in the whole universe!

  54. I got lost at step 4… looks nothing like my name!?

    You’ve got mad clever skillz! No wonder this is my new favorite blog. ;-)

  55. it needs clearly some bevel and emboss and drop shadow (make sure you don’t change the settings: you don’t want to mess up with your logo)

  56. lol, i bet there are still enough people who like it.
    “wow thats a cool rainbow effect in your logo, how did you do it?????”

  57. Doug,

    I don’t openly advertise “extra awesomeness.” It’s kind of like my equivalent to the “short-sized” coffee at Starbucks. If you ask, I can do it, but there’s a 50% markup.

  58. Riiiiight….. So, um, wot about them sparkly thingys… you know, that make it all shiny and brilliant and wotnot? Eh?

    Great laugh!

  59. Thank you so much for this great tutorial! I will practice the brush tool to make it more personal. However, the oval shape is too common. I will use a square since it gives the image of “reliability.”

  60. you missed the important design elements.
    the font should be in 3d, underlined.
    and then it should have a thick 2 line frame.
    then it will be best logo design.

  61. LOL! Awesome :D Please don’t let potential customers see this, or we will lose our jobs!

  62. Alas, the laughing goes both ways.

    The creators of masterpieces such as these on microstock sites are laughing all the way to bank.

  63. Was looking through the archives of Logo Design Love. This post is still super bad-a** till date. Brings out a good chuckle on a Monday morning.

  64. Ha, definitely hilarious… But I gotta say I’m bummed that it wasn’t a real article! I have one logo I’m super stumped on, and need some inspiration for “suping” it up.

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