In this tutorial, which has a video version on our YouTube channel, I’ll show you how to create a professional logo using GIMP 2.9.8 (download it here), which is the latest version of GIMP and is considered the “development version” since there are still a few bug fixes that the developers are working out. However, I have found this version to be much more stable than GIMP 2.9.6 and is pretty close to the next stable version – GIMP 2.10 (which will be a game changer, in my opinion).
That being said, this version of GIMP contains a lot of the new features that will be found in the next stable version of GIMP, and we will go over some of those awesome new features in this tutorial.
You can also use previous versions of GIMP (i.e. GIMP 2.8.22) as there are only a few instances where we’ll be using features found exclusively in the newest versions.
Let’s begin, and don’t forget to hit ctrl+s on your keyboard to save your composition as you work to maintain your progress! You’ll have to name your image and choose the location where you would like to save it at first, but after that when you will overwrite that same file each time you hit ctrl+s.
Step 1: Create a New Document/Image
To create a new document/image (after you have opened GIMP), go to File>New (shown in the image above). This will bring up the “Create a New Image” dialogue box, where you can choose the dimensions of your new composition.
For this tutorial, I’ll choose 1920 pixels for the width, and 1080 pixels for the height (which are the same dimensions as HD video – denoted by the red arrow in the image above). Click the “Advanced Options” dropdown to change the resolution of the image, which may be 300 ppi or 72 ppi by default (denoted by the green arrow). If you are planning on printing this logo at any time, I would suggest setting it to 300 ppi. If you only intend to use your logo on the web, stick with 72 ppi. Click OK to create the document.
Step 2: Design Your Background (Using the Maze Filter)
Now that your new document is open, we’ll start by designing the background we want to set our logo against. Since I’ll be creating a logo for a hypothetical technology company, I’ll create a cool maze design as my background using the Maze Filter to give it more of a tech feel. Go to Filters>Render>Pattern>Maze to open up the Maze dialogue box (shown in the photo above).
Set the width and height of your maze, which I have set to 25 (denoted by the red arrows in the photo above). The taller and wider you set your maze, the larger the lines in the maze will be (and thus the less lines there will be). Then, choose your foreground color, which will be the color of the lines in your maze, and the background color, which will be the color of the area behind the maze lines (denoted by the green arrows above). I chose a darker blue for the foreground (hex code #1f80c9) and a lighter blue for the background color (hex code #60aee8 – denoted by the purple arrow above). Click OK to apply the color to your foreground or background, and OK again to apply the filter.
Step 3: Blend Your Background Using the Blend Tool (Gradient Tool)
Go to your layers panel and click the “Create a new layer” icon (denoted by the red arrow). Name the new layer “Maze overlay,” and, if you are using GIMP 2.9.8, choose a color tag to assign to your layer (this simply helps with organizing your layers by color coating them ). I’ll choose purple for my color tag (denoted by the purple arrow above), then will click OK to create the new layer.
Go to your toolbox and grab the Blend tool, or gradient tool (denoted by the green arrow above). Choose dark grey as your foreground color (hex code #282828 – denoted by the blue arrow above) and black as your background color (hex code #000000), then click OK. Change the shape of the Blend tool to Radial (denoted by the purple arrow above), and change the gradient to “Foreground to Background (RGB)” – denoted by the red arrow above.
Draw your gradient on the Maze overlay layer by clicking in the middle of your image, and dragging to one of the corners of your image (it doesn’t matter which corner as this is a radial gradient, which means the gradient is circular). Release your mouse, and you can “live edit” your gradient if you are using GIMP 2.9.8 (i.e. you can change the shape, color, position, etc. of your gradient in real time without needing to draw a new gradient each time). Once you have all the settings you want, click on another tool (I always click on the move tool) to solidify or apply the changes to your gradient. You will no longer be able to live edit your gradient once you do this.
Next, with the Maze Overlay layer still selected, drag the opacity of the layer down to about 84 so that some of the maze layer we created earlier shows through.
Step 4: Add Your Text
Grab the text tool in your toolbox (denoted by the green arrow above) and choose your main font (denoted by the blue arrow) – I used a free font called Nexa Bold which you can download here. Change the foreground color to white (hex code #ffffff – denoted by the purple arrow). Next, change the size of the font to 300 (denoted by the red arrow). Click anywhere on your composition and type the name of your company (in my case, I used the fictitious name GEOTECH) – you can keep capslock on like I did to keep all of the letter capitalized. If you need to make changes to the text (i.e. adjust the size, change the font, etc.), make sure you highlight all of the text first with the text tool and then make your adjustments. You’ll know the text is highlighted, or selected, because it will have yellow boxes around each letter of the text (demonstrated above).
Next, grab your alignment tool (denoted by the green arrow) and click on the text you just created. Then, click “Align center of target” and “Align middle of target” to center your text (denoted by the purple arrows).
Grab your text tool again (green arrow) and change your font to a lighter font – in this case Nexa Light (purple arrow). Decrease the font size to 125 pixels (blue arrow), and click anywhere on the image and type Industry (or whatever your subtitle text is). Highlight the text and increase the spacing between the letters by increasing the “kerning” (red arrow). I increased the kerning to 15.
Then, using the move tool (green arrow), click and drag your text (red arrow) so that the “Y” in “INDUSTRY” aligns with the last letter of your main text.
Step 5: Style Your Text (Bucket Fill Tool and Cubism Filter)
I now want to change the color of the letters “TECH” in “GEOTECH” to orange in order to make my logo stand out. To do this, I’ll grab my text tool and will click on the GEOTECH text. Next, I’ll highlight only the TECH text and will double click on the “Change color of the selected text” box (denoted by the green arrow above). I’ll change my color to orange (hex color #f4892a – denoted by the red arrow), then click OK. I’ll grab the move tool from the toolbox, or hit the “M” key on my keyboard, so that I no longer have my text tool and the main text selected.
Next, I want to add a geometric-style overlay to the orange TECH text. With the GEOTECH text layer selected, I’ll start by selecting my main text by going to Layer>Selection>Alpha to Selection. This will select all of my main text, but I only want the TECH text selected.
To remedy this, I’ll grab the rectangle select tool (green arrow) and will change the mode to “Subtract from the current selection” (red arrow). Then, I’ll click and drag my rectangle over the GEO text, which will erase the selection area around this text (purple arrow). Now only my TECH text is selected.
I’ll create a new layer by clicking the “Add new layer” icon in the layers panel and will name the layer “TECH Overlay” – setting the color tag to green (optional). Make sure this layer is arranged above the GEOTECH text layer in your layers panel.
Grab the bucket fill tool (red arrow above) and make sure the foreground color is still set to the orange we used for the TECH text. Fill in the selection area we created by clicking inside that area with the bucket fill tool. To test if it filled correctly, you can hide the original GEOTECH layer by clicking the “Show/hide” icon in the layers panel (the icon next to the layer that looks like an eye – in the location donated by the green arrow in the photo above). If, when you hide the main text layer, all you can see is the orange TECH text like in the photo above, then you have done this part correctly. Unhide the layer to return the visibility of the GEOTECH text layer before continuing.
Now, with the TECH Overlay layer still selected, go to Filters>Artistic>Cubism.
Adjust the Tile Size to about 102, and the tile saturation to somewhere between 2.9 and 3 (or adjust these values until you get the look you want). The “Random Seed” is the algorithm that generates the cubism pattern, and you can either use the arrows in this box to cycle through the different random patterns, or click “New Seed” to have a new pattern randomly generated until you get one you like. You can also type in the same value I used in my logo (1280115689) and you will get the same pattern. Make sure the preview box is checked so you can preview the pattern before deciding. Click OK to apply the filter.
Go to Select>None to deselect the TECH text.
Step 6: Add a Drop Shadow to Your Text
Select the main GEOTECH text layer and go to Filters>Light and Shadow>Drop Shadow. This will bring up the Drop Shadow dialogue box.
Adjust your X and Y values, distance your shadow will be from your text, to around 10.7, and the blur radius, which determines how much blur the outer edges of your drop shadow has, to 8.44. Make sure the color is set to black, and adjust the opacity to around .5. This will determine how visible the drop shadow is under your text (the lower the value, the more transparent it is, and the higher the value, the more opaque it is). Click OK to apply the drop shadow.
We want to apply this same drop shadow to our INDUSTRY text – and luckily there is an easy way to apply the same effects we just created. With your INDUSTRY text layer selected, go to Filters>Repeat “Drop Shadow” or hit ctrl+f on your keyboard. This will apply the drop shadow with the same settings to your text.
Step 7: Add a Trademark Symbol (If Applicable)
If your logo requires a registered trademark symbol (®) or any other legal symbol, add it in by copying the symbol (ctrl+c on your keyboard) from somewhere like a Google search (type in “Registered Trademark Symbol” and you should have it pop up in the first search result) and pasting it (ctrl+v on your keyboard) next to your main text using the text tool. Remember, just click anywhere on your composition with the text tool to be able to type anywhere on the composition – then paste the symbol. Since I still have my text size set to 125 from when we typed our subtitle text, I will change the font size to something smaller (65 in my case) and will make sure my font style is still set to Nexa Light (if not, be sure to change it).
Once you have adjusted the style of your text, move the registered trademark symbol layer by clicking and dragging it in the layers panel (red arrow) to the top of the layers panel if it isn’t already. Then, grab your move tool from the toolbox and move the symbol so that it is next to the main GEOTECH text and aligns with the top of the lettering (green arrow).
Step 8: Save and/or Export Your Composition
Go to File>Save to save your composition in the native .XCF file format for GIMP. This will save your file with all of the original layers so you can go back and edit them if you nee to. If you want to save your work as a JPEG , PNG, or another file type, go to File>Export – where the Export Image dialogue box will appear.
Name your artwork, choose the file location where you would like to save it, and click the “Select file type by extension” dropdown to select from the various file types you can export to from GIMP. Once you have chosen the file type, hit Export.
An additional dialogue box will appear asking you to select settings for your file, such as quality. If you are trying to save space (i.e. are uploading the file to your website), I recommend reducing the quality to somewhere between 60% and 75%. If you are planning on printing the artwork, keep the quality high (90% to 100%).
If you need to save the artwork without a background, you can hide the background layers (in this case, the “Maze Overlay” and “Background” layers) and save the file as a PNG file.