“FREE” is one of the most powerfully motivating words in the English language. Who wouldn’t be excited to get an impressive logo design for free?
On the other hand, most of us are conditioned to look for the trapdoor under the pot of gold. If something is free, it probably isn’t worth having. If it’s free and high-quality, there’s sure to be a catch. Sound familiar?
Public perception is a big part of succeeding as a brand. Having a professionally designed logo shows investment in your business and sends a positive message to customers. So understandably, you might have a mountain of questions about free logo design tools.
Are online logo makers trustworthy? Do they offer excellent quality and variety? Where do the logo designs come from, and are there any legal considerations to think about before using them? Learn the ins and outs of free tools, so you can decide if an online logo maker is right for you.
Types of Logo Design Tools
Logo generators contain a massive database of free artwork and typography, which you can plug into templates. To make the process as fast and easy as possible, you choose styles or business attributes to narrow your search. The application uses your preferences to generate a list of recommended designs.
Rather than generating designs, some tools offer a more freestyle approach. You start with a blank canvas instead of a template and use basic shapes, clipart, and fonts to build a design. Both types of logo generators allow minor editing, so you can customize the design for your business.
With free graphics editing programs, you develop a design from scratch. Some programs let you draw digital illustrations, much like sketching on paper. Other programs provide the tools to make detailed modifications to an existing image. Graphics editors are useful for:
- Creating custom lettering or sketches
- Adding visual effects or textures
- Changing the shape and orientation of the text
- Blending multiple image elements
- Layering shapes and images on top of one another
You are in complete control of the design process, which means you have to find logo fonts and images on your own.
Cost and Quality Considerations
So, is a free logo design free? Well … yes and no.
Open-source logo makers are 100 percent free and available to anyone. Since there’s no one monitoring how you use the program, open-source tools usually compile an extensive library of license-free content. Legally, you are free and clear to use the images and fonts for commercial purposes.
Keep in mind, it takes time and skill to produce creative content. When this type of intellectual property is widely distributed for free, millions of people have access to the same content. The quality is also wide-ranging, and you run a high risk of finding logos with similar or duplicate elements.
Getting the right file formats is another concern. Free logo makers that are thin on features are less likely to offer editable and scalable vector formats, such as SVG and EPS files. These formats are essential for making changes to your logo design in the future.
Free graphics editors are a different story. Editing software is intended for people with some design experience, so they often support vector files. You don’t have the convenience of a readymade library available, so you have three main options for obtaining artwork.
1) Search for content on a variety of license-free databases.
2) Make your hand-drawn or digitally drawn content.
3) Pay for licensed content from third-party typography and graphic artists.
Logo design tools from for-profit businesses are a great alternative to open-source programs. In most cases, you create and save logos for free and only pay if you decide to buy a design. You have full access to the content library and editing tools and may even have the option to preview your designs on marketing materials.
Don’t assume all for-profit logo makers offer the same value regarding creative content. Some applications use license-free content, much like open-source programs, while others have a custom library of art only available to their customers.
Do your research and read customers reviews to compare services offered by different logo maker companies. Make sure you choose tools that guarantee high resolution and multiple file types. The overall cost is often low, and optional add-on services make it easy to work with any budget.
Customizing Your Logo Designs
What level of customization are you looking for? With online logo makers, the same content library is available to everyone, but there are numerous ways to make each design your own. Logo makers usually allow you to edit the following elements:
- Color scheme
- Layout/placement of text and graphics
- Size and orientation of text and graphics
- Background and foreground elements
Keep in mind, many logo makers also let you upload custom artwork or use content from a combination of sources. The degree of customization depends on how much time you’re willing to put into tweaking your design. You can use a template as-is or mix fonts and artwork to produce a design that speaks your brand language.
A Final Word on Unique Logo Designs
No doubt, you’ve heard that working with a professional designer or agency is the only way to get a great logo. But it’s more accurate to look at creative design as a spectrum with options that cater to different types of clients.
Working with professional designers is invaluable when you’re investing a lot of money into a unique brand identity. The same is true for business owners who don’t have a clear idea of what they need.
Creative professionals know how to draw out the right information to shape a strong visual story. Yet, it’s worth noting that many big businesses end up with logos that are generic or similar to other brands, despite working with expensive design agencies.
Free logo makers are tailored to business owners who want a quick, simple way to get an attractive, professionally formatted logo. Looking at a selection of beautiful templates can help you see what does or doesn’t work in a design, which is difficult if you don’t have a creative eye.
All logo design tools — whether free or paid — offer advantages based on your needs. A reputable logo maker with robust features is more than sufficient for creating a crisp, recognizable image for online and offline business marketing.