Sign in to follow this  
eagle98

The Poor Man's Guide to Logo Design: Paint Tutorial Thread

Recommended Posts

The Poor Man's Guide to Logo Design: How to Create Logos Using Programs Already Installed on Your Computer by Eagle98

Far too often, I have seen people post sub-par concepts on here and then when they are given criticism use the excuse that they are using Paint. I am in no way accusing anyone in particular of doing this, but it’s really not a valid excuse, and I think the problem is that people don’t know how powerful programs like Paint can be if used properly.

My personal recommendation is to move past Paint to something like Inkscape (or maybe Gimp). Both are completely free to download and are powerful tools. They do require a little while to learn, but they get easier to use with time.

However, for whatever reason, some people can’t or don’t want to use these programs and stick with Paint. I am planning on posting a series of tutorials (with no sort of regularity) on how to use programs pre-installed on most computers (mainly Microsoft Paint and Microsoft Word) to create logos and uniforms. It is possible to create top-notch concepts with Paint. (People like oldschoolvikings do it all the time.)

Before I begin, I want to say that I am not looking for feedback on my concepts. I understand that there is much that I could do to improve them. However, this concept serves only as an illustrative example of what can be done with free tools such as Paint and Microsoft Word.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tutorial #1: Tracing an Image into a Logo

Step 1: Find your target image to trace. Crop it to the area you want to trace.

01_zps63e4cdf1.png

Step 2: Insert the picture into Microsoft Word. Click on the picture and click on Color under Adjustments on the Format tab. Select Color Saturation : 400% and Washout. Depending on your monitor configuration, it may be slightly difficult to see. If you can’t see it, try tilting your screen back or sitting in a slightly lower chair. In any case, you should be able to see it well enough to see all the important features and shapes.

02_zps332d3ed5.png

Step 3: Paste the image into Paint and trace it in black using all the wonderful* tools that Paint offers. Don’t worry about getting it exactly. You can caricaturize parts of it, and it is easy to tweak things later.

03_zpsaafaf580.png

*Wonderfulness may vary; restrictions may apply

Step 4: Bring the image back into Word. Go to the Color menu again, and under recolor select Black and White. The background image will disappear. (If you have a large image, you may have to resize it back to its original size, because Word automatically scales it.) Notice that I only traced about half of the image. I am going to draw one half and then combine it with its mirror image to get the full logo.

04_zps88bf4fc6.png

Step 5: Bring it back into Paint and work on it. I retraced it in a different color, tweaking forms and simplifying shapes. I used the line, circle, and curve tool for this. Then I erased the black outline. (To do this: select black and white as your two palette colors, and then use the eraser tool while right-clicking.) After that, I added an outline to the logo. Then I colored things in using the original image as a color guide. As you are doing this, watch carefully for stray pixels that are easy to miss when using the fill tool. Finally, I added a quick wordmark, which in real life I would probably continue to work on.

05_zps4e5bef96.png
06_zpse65434fc.png
07_zps6f0f1a6a.png
08_zps4f2d3a5a.png
09_zps44ab6f23.png
10_zps1d9086b8.png

This is where I end my tutorial. What I have here is not exactly a great logo. It lacks depth, some of the shapes could use cleaning up, and the nose looks strange. It could use some more work, and in real life I would continue to tweak the logo. However, this type of logo will always be better received than a stolen or borrowed logo.

So, there you have it. You don’t need fancy tools to make logos. It’s a matter of knowing how to use the tools you have, and it’s about your own talent. I have some talent, but far less than the best artists on this board. The reason that I can’t produce logos like the best designers can is a combination of my inexperience and my lack of natural talent. It has nothing to do with the programs that I use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, I stopped reading at "Step 2: Insert the picture into Microsoft Word."

Look, I get what you're trying to do and it's coming from a good place of trying to help people... but really, this is like a guide for turning a trampoline into a back patio. They'd be better off drawing the tiger with paper and pencil and then scanning that into the computer, rather than computer-tracing a photo into a logo (which is really hard to do with professional design software, let alone Microsoft Office products).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, I stopped reading at "Step 2: Insert the picture into Microsoft Word."

Look, I get what you're trying to do and it's coming from a good place of trying to help people... but really, this is like a guide for turning a trampoline into a back patio. They'd be better off drawing the tiger with paper and pencil and then scanning that into the computer, rather than computer-tracing a photo into a logo (which is really hard to do with professional design software, let alone Microsoft Office products).

Many people also use the (valid) excuse that they have difficulty drawing on paper.

The use of Microsoft Word in this tutorial is very minimal. Almost all of the work (and all of the actual designing) was done in Paint. I believe that this tutorial roughly follows the process that one of davidson's tutorials used. It's just that Word is necessary to bypass the fact that Paint does not have layers.

Thanks for your feedback, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like GFB said, I think the main problem here is it looks too much like a traced image (which it is) and not like a logo. I would encourage people to use multiple images as sources and sketch out some ideas on paper first. To be honest, I don't think it's a valid excuse to have difficulty drawing on paper. I understand not everyone's a great artist, but in order to improve on a computer program (paint, in this case) you have to first improve on drawing skills.

I think the rest of your tutorial is probably a good resource for how to transition ideas from paper to the screen, I just don't think it's best to start with a single image from a google search.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like GFB said, I think the main problem here is it looks too much like a traced image (which it is) and not like a logo. I would encourage people to use multiple images as sources and sketch out some ideas on paper first. To be honest, I don't think it's a valid excuse to have difficulty drawing on paper. I understand not everyone's a great artist, but in order to improve on a computer program (paint, in this case) you have to first improve on drawing skills.

I think the rest of your tutorial is probably a good resource for how to transition ideas from paper to the screen, I just don't think it's best to start with a single image from a google search.

Yes, I agree with you completely. If I wanted to really refine this logo, I would probably find other reference images and use them to tweak the logo.

I am certainly a proponent of drawing on paper first, and I think it's not a great excuse, but I feel that some people just really aren't capable of presenting a logo that is completely hand-drawn on paper.

I'll try to incorporate some of your suggestions in future tutorials.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many people also use the (valid) excuse that they have difficulty drawing on paper.

The use of Microsoft Word in this tutorial is very minimal. Almost all of the work (and all of the actual designing) was done in Paint. I believe that this tutorial roughly follows the process that one of davidson's tutorials used. It's just that Word is necessary to bypass the fact that Paint does not have layers.

Thanks for your feedback, though.

The thing I'm having a hard time with is that the whole end goal of the tutorial is to sharpen one's design skills, am I right? My problem is, these skills you are trying to teach them aren't realistically helpful if anyone who uses them has any interest in truly getting better at graphic design. For example, rarely does anyone feel successful or even comfortable sketching for the first few/several times... But like anything, in time sketching gets easier and you get better at it. But even if you learn to sketch only a little bit better, you'll be infinitely more versatile and a better artist for it. I suppose my point is that I would prefer young aspiring artists to invest their time in skills that will eventually really help them (such as sketching or becoming comfortable in a vector program like Inkscape) as oppose to "mastering" such an out-of-date and relatively useless program like MS Paint... If you wanted to learn to play guitar, a good teacher wouldn't give you your first lesson on a Kleenex box with a toilet paper roll and some rubber bands when there's a perfectly usable guitar sitting right there.

And that's not to say the techniques you are using are conceptually wrong either, because what you're teaching them isn't bad, it's just a little too advanced for the tools you are using (like trying to cook a meal with an Easy-Bake oven... OK, I promise I'll stop with these awful similes and metaphors). I would rather see them try something a little more useful in the long run, even if they struggle with it a little bit more off the bat.

Once again, I want to thank you for your heart to teach and help out other artists and you're very gifted with explaining processes. We need more of that around here. I would prefer you try to channel that into something that develops their skill and not simply the end result, whether that be via a pencil or a mouse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GFB, those were some great analogies actually haha.

Joking aside, I agree. I too had the mind set of "naw, I wont give into better graphic designing programs, I'll stick with what I know, and what I know is MS Paint and Power Point." But eventually I gave in, and I never looked back. I currently use Paint.NET which isn't the best, but its free and its a huge step up from MS Paint. I feel that instead of encouraging the use of MS Paint - even though some people can make great things with it - it is safer to recommend a free and more advanced, yet still easy to use, alternative for new aspiring designers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can't draw on paper, you won't be able to draw in a computer program.

I don't find this to be true as a blanket statement, but it certainly doesn't help if you cannot at least visualize what you want in your head. I know a few great designers that don't use pen/paper at all. It's all about what you're comfortable with, and more importantly, what helps you generate your ideas more thoroughly.

That being said, though, I agree with Matt (GFB) here. It seems silly to put so much effort into 'mastering' a process that ultimately is obsolete and inefficient from the start. Put that time/effort toward learning a more advanced program with more capabilities (Paint.NET has layers, which moves this from a multi-program process to a single program, and simplifies things, yeah?). Nice work putting this together, though. We need more easy to follow tutorials like this :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an excellent idea for a thread and it's well carried out so far. The naysayers seem to lack some understanding of how some people work this stuff. Inserting things into Microsoft Word is how some people use what they have to get what they want, I know because I have done it myself. Some of you have missed the meaning of the title POOR MAN'S guide.

Great idea Eagle98, I look forward to more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is a great starting point for anyone who has trouble making a clean concept with paint. Honestly, this technique (along with actual pencil drawing) is how I have done all of my concepts and my entire Yankees database and the limitations inherent in MS Paint caused me to think more about how I was going to accomplish something and attack a concept. It may have taken longer than if I was using a more sophisticated program, but this has probably helped hone my skills in the long-run. I do plan on making the move to Inkscape because I want to do some vector work, but I don't think there's any reason why a concept in Paint should be seen as a bad thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an excellent idea for a thread and it's well carried out so far. The naysayers seem to lack some understanding of how some people work this stuff. Inserting things into Microsoft Word is how some people use what they have to get what they want, I know because I have done it myself. Some of you have missed the meaning of the title POOR MAN'S guide.

Great idea Eagle98, I look forward to more.

These "naysayers" happen to be legit and some of the best artists around here, so I wouldn't exactly dismiss what they're saying. THEY'RE the ones you could really learn a lot from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of you have missed the meaning of the title POOR MAN'S guide.

You're totally missing the point we're trying to make (FYI no one has said "go buy creative suite and stop being a cheap ass").

If there's a free stove and cooking equipment available and you want to learn how to cook, do you continue using rocks and an open fire? I get the qualifier is "already on your computer," but Inkscape, GIMP, or even Paint.NET are all free, and MUCH more powerful, allowing you to more efficiently perform the tasks outlined here.

It's not being a naysayer (and if you see it that way, you're not ready to learn and/or improve, which is fine). We're encouraging people to take that next step out of the comfort zone using tools that are widely supported and readily available. It'll make you a more capable designer in the long run, no doubt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate the effort you put into this tutorial - its very detailed and I've always wondered how people have managed to use Paint as a feasible design tool. very interesting process. I actually think this could be very helpful if someone is just starting out - which is great.

What isn't great, however, is that people still see Paint as a usable tool when options like Inkscape (vector) or GIMP (raster) are fairly powerful for their price tag (free).

Again, I really appreciate the effort but working in a design field i can honestly tell you that you should try out these other two programs - they're worth your while and i think they'll really help boost not only your design skills, and lower your production time, but your presentation will be of a much higher quality. Theres only so much you can do with Paint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is a great thread. I'm not looking to make any money at logo design or graphic design or uniform design. I just want to be able to make some logos for the simulation games I play. I don't have any talent when it comes to this stuff, I really don't have much time for it either. But that doesn't mean I don't like the aesthetics of sport and wish to dabble in it. None of my logos will ever appear on this forum. I'm just hoping to create my own little sports world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great thread. Thanks alot Eagle98!! (Applause) Definitely a poor mans guide for those of us who dont have an expensive Paint tool application.

At least he took the time to give us a cool example.Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem with this thread. Whatever works for some to make better concepts I am all for it.

I hardly ever use pen & paper for any of my concepts & have made a few passable ones I would like to think.

Keep posting it may help those that are not trying to be great designers but love to create!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone that has been around on the boards for a bit and has never been able to figure out where to start when making concepts, this is GREAT! Really appreciate it and don't get the hate. My biggest challenge will definitely be working with templates so looking forward to the next step in this series!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this