In this Instructable, we'll be looking at how to create your own logos using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), a free image editor. This can be used to create custom profile pictures, for logos for small businesses or even just providing a concept logo for professional graphic artists. We'll be covering the basics of creating a design from sketches, to a digital image, which can be replicated across image editors. The reason we'll be using GIMP is that is is a free, fairly simple and offers a lot of functionality.
GIMP can be downloaded at http://www.gimp.org/downloads/
Step 1: Sketch Your Designs - Looks and Colour
Firstly, you need a starting point. Sketch some designs either on paper or on a computer or tablet. Either scan in or copy your design into the computer so you'll have a reference to check your progress on. Your sketch does not have to be perfect, as long as you understand what it's meant to look like. I will be producing the bottom sketch of the image above as it is quite simple. It consists of a red star with a white centre and a red line with text above and below.
When sketching, it's good practice to consider the colours you'll be using. Contrasting colours(such as blue and orange) can make parts of the logo stand out, while harmonious colours (such as shades and tones of red) link parts of the logo together. Also consider what the colours will make people think; Primary colours may come across childish while dab greys, though sophisticated, may look dull and boring on their own.
If in doubt, search for "Colour Wheel" to double check. Opposites contrast, adjacent colours blend in
Think of what your designing the logo for and what objects come under that topic.
Cars? consider tyres, engines, pistons etc
Green energy? Think wind turbines, solar panels, recycling etc
Step 2: Gather Resources
Once you've got an idea, what do you need to make it happen? You can either create the images as you need them, or collect they from the internet. If you want to use some clip art,for example, search for it, but careful though, as some images are copyrighted so it's best to check for any creative commons licensed images.
The best way to produce your own images or shapes is with a 3D modelling program, like Autodesk Inventor.
If you sketch your shapes, extrude them a small amount and give them a bright colour, you can screenshot them and use them in the logo. Alternatively, you can use the software's rendering engine to produce full images for use in a logo
Once you're confident you have enough resources, you can begin making your logo.
Step 3: Producing the Logo
Next, we'll go through the step-by-step process I used to make mine. Many of the techniques, such as the "Colour Picking" can be used for your own design and the whole process can be done on multiple images before pulling them all together with copy and paste.
If you get lost in the process the video above shows how I made mine.
Importing Shapes from A Screenshot
I started my logo by cropping a screenshot of my "Star" and then selecting the colour of the star with a low threshold "Select by Colour Tool", found on the left hand window, the toolbox (settings for the tools can be found on the end tab of the right window).
Invert the selection so everything but the star is selected and delete it to leave only the star and the checkered transparency pattern. Next I filled the star with red using the fill tool, after selecting it by colour again, and drawing a straight line to the right. I then gave it a slight blur from the "Filters" tab (as seen on the image above) and manually blurred the edges with the blur tool, found in the toolbox.
Adding a White Background
A background layer was created by right-clicking the layers tab and selecting "New Layer", and filling it with a the foreground (the colour currently picked) which I had set to white. If the layers are in the wrong order, drag them about within the layer menu until they are correct.
Text is then placed appropriately, in my case, above and below the red line. In the text editor I specified the font, size and colour of the text. Move your text until you are happy with it, or edit the spacing with the right window until you're happy with it.
Adding lines, paint and more
To fake the "shine" on the star, I used the airbrush tool to add a white dot an the centre and used it to create a on the edges of the star. I used white here, as it matches the background colour.
If you "colour Select" the text, you are able to apply the pencil over just that part of text. I picked a patterned brush from the menu and used it to give the text a marbled look.
Now the design was done, I cropped it to the right size and it's finished. Any extra images for your own logo can be copied over, background removed and re-sized or blurred to fit into your own design. Simple lines can be drawn straightly by holding shift with the pencil tool.
Saving your Logo
To save the final image, we hit File>Export As... and give it a name. You can save it in a variety of formats, and after hitting export some options will come up. These can normally be ignored and just hit export once more and the file should save.
Step 4: Completed
So there you have it, one easy logo made by selectively keeping shapes, drawing a line and putting in some text. This Instructable was just to produce a basic logo, but you can further edit your design by spending more time on it. Curious as to how to do something? Check online, as there are many tutorials, such as creating an image from words and touching up renders with lens-flare.
Using the basics you've learned here means you can go on make some more complex designs and experiment. I used the same process to design the "Desktop Workshop" image.
If you liked this Instructable, vote for it in the "Mind for Design" competition and feel free to ask any questions