The tools needed to be a logo designer
Want to design logos? If so, there’s are a number of tools you’ll need before you can get started.
Thankfully, almost every home has the tools already available, meaning you’ll be able to start designing logos right away without needing to spend a penny.
Pencils & Paper
This is pretty obvious, but one of the main tools you’ll need for logo design is a pen and/or a pencil some kind. I recommend using a mechanical pencil, meaning you can continue to sketch and brainstorm without the need to constantly sharpen the tip.
As an extra optional item, I’d also recommend a separate coloured pencil of some kind, such as blue or red, which can be used to highlight the best ideas from your sketchbook before proceeding digitising them.
Sketchbooks (or a piece of paper)
Although the final results will be developed on a computer, paper is where everything happens. It’s where you can brainstorm and develop ideas before finalising the design on a computer.
Some designers might feel the need to develop their ideas directly on a computer, but they’re making a mistake. The sheer freedom and speed that comes from sketching makes it the best way to develop ideas. There’s been so many times when I’ve personally scribbled down an idea only for a ‘happy accident’ to happen, which has developed into a stronger idea that I would never have considered in my mind alone.
The basics you need is a blank sheet of paper, however, I recommend getting yourself a couple of different sketchbooks if you want to be a pro.
A larger sketchpad, such as A3 size can be used for desktop use. This is for times of deep focus when you will be brainstorming ideas, so it’s useful to be able to see all of these ideas on a single sheet of paper, and not have the distraction of flicking back and forth.
I also recommend having a separate pocket sized sketchbook, which you can keep with you when out and about or by your bedside. There’s been so many times when I’ve come across a great idea when driving, going for a walk, or just before sleeping… great ideas can come at any point and can so easily drift away, so having something to hand to document the ideas as they come along is a must!
My personal preference is a blank sketchpad rather than those with a grid. The reason for this is because I don’t want my ideas to be restricted by a grid – ideas should be just that – ideas, and ideas should have no limits. You can refine and perfect them with a grid once working on a computer.
The exact type of computer you get will depend on your budget and preferences, however, luckily the software needed is not too processor heavy, therefore the average computer will do the job.
Vector Graphics Software for Logo Design
Once you have a computer you will also need the right software. For logo design you’ll need a vector graphics editor.
Unlike raster images, which are made up of pixels, Vector graphics are based on paths, points, lines, cures and shapes using mathematical equations, which mean they can be scaled indefinitely without any loss of quality.
The industry standard vector software is Adobe Illustrator, however, there are other options available, including those that are free.
Adobe Illustrator (Paid)
As already mentioned, the industry-standard vector graphics software is Adobe Illustrator, therefore, if you’re serious about designing logos professionally this should be your preferred choice.
Adobe Illustrator is probably my favorite piece of design software and was the first I used when I started my career as a designer. It’s feature rich, with powerful tools available, allowing you to easily build and edit any shape you can imagine.
Tools such as the Pen tool (creating Bézier curves and straight lines), and the pencil tool (freehand drawing with simple paths) allows you to easily draw anything you can imagine, with precision. Combined with the Pathfinder tool, you can quickly and easily build accurate shapes as needed – really it’s amazing.
Illustrator also has a wide range of plugins available allowing you to extend the capabilities. For example, I frequently make use of LiveSurface, so I can test my logo designs in real-word settings. I also frequently use VectorScribe, so I can quickly and effortlessly clean up my artwork, making sure it uses the least amount of points possible. Both of these examples are amazing, so be sure to check them out.
The closest free alternative to Adobe Illustrator is Inkscape, which offers a range of similar flexible drawing tools such as the pencil and pen tool, along with the text and colour tools you’ll need to design professional logos.
Inkscape also allows you to create the correct file formats for logo design including PDF, EPS and PNG, meaning you’ll be able to provide professional end-results too.
Vectr is another free vector graphics software, however, unlike the others mentioned it has the advantage of being a browser based solution that can easily be used simply by signing up. Optionally the tool can be downloaded and installed on Apple, Windows, Linux and Chromebook devices.
It is fairly basic, and doesn’t have a lot of of the advanced features available in the other options mentioned so far, but, in comparison it is very easy to learn and understand, with super-simple on-screen training available to you before using the platform, walking you through the tools available in only a few minutes.
Almost every logo design will make use of typography. Either one that you create yourself from scratch, or, and more likely, one that you have downloaded or purchased. There are literately millions of fonts out there, some are free, and others are paid.