Affordable and free online logo makers – Build and reinvent your brand
As a business grows and becomes stronger, it’s a positive step to start building a brand. This makes you recognisable, and allows you to build a strong relationship with your customers, so that they will come back to you. Repeat customers improve the return you get on your investment to change them from a lead, to visitor, to a customer.
Customers, as people, tend to build relationships with others – Not just people, but companies with recognisable brands that they trust to offer good quality and service, so they can make repeat purchases with less worry and stress. Online, this tends to happen most strongly with marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, and Trade Me having great recognition, whether worldwide or in specific markets. If you are selling on those marketplaces though, you can’t guarantee the customer will buy from you every time if you’re not recognisably separate and offering them prices, customer service or quality to justify them coming back specifically to you.
Your Brand is about who you are, what you’re offering them, and your ethos. Therefore your logo should reflect this. But not everyone can afford to retain a graphic designer. So what are your other options?
A range of companies and groups have provided their take on finding a less expensive solution – Obviously the lower the cost, the more of your own time is needed, and the less guarantees you have because the experience of a good designer can be a massive help. But, broadly speaking, they ae better with practice and depending on your budget.
What do you mean by brand?
Many thousands of people sell online. They sell on Amazon, on eBay, on Rakuten, on many, many marketplaces and websites. They sell millions of items from different manufacturers to billions of people across the world. But only a small fraction of them are brands.
Amazon is a brand. Nike is a brand. Tesco is a brand. Walmart is a brand.
Your brand is about who you are – Not just you individually, but your business and your team. It’s how you all interact with your customers, choose your products, promote them and deal with issues.
Your brand is your identity, which is associated with those things, and lets others learn to trust you, and return to you to get more of the same, or something more expensive, increasing the value of that customer versus the cost of acquisition.
A brand, to the customer, is a company that you have a relationship with. Whether you love them or hate them, trust them or fear them, you make a decision about buying from the brand based on who they are. What you buy from them, whether products or services, you buy because you trust them to provide the product you expect, whether quality, value, customer service, or something else not substantive.
People trust brands and return to them without a conscious decision. They buy because they have a pattern of doing so, meaning that they tend to carry on doing so unless something goes wrong.
If you can build your brand, then you will have the potential to become more successful, because you will retain the customers you have sold to as well as gaining new customers (often from the recommendations of the customers you’re retaining).
Part of that brand is to be distinctive and memorable (in a positive way). This starts with the first impression, and carries on through pricing, quality, customer service and many other details.
And a part of the first impression will be your logo – it should tell them something about your company, and what you do/sell and believe. Or it could just be striking and memorable!!
What is a logo?
A logo is a graphical representation of your company. It reflects your company – Its roots, its products, the markets you sell to. It also can represent how you want to be seen by them –Aspirational companies should try and produce a polished logo and brand image to encourage confidence from their customers, and reassure them of the quality of products and customer service they can provide.
Ideally, a logo should also be relatively long lasting. It may evolve, but someone looking at the current Pepsi logo, Coca Cola, or the Apple logo, could probably recognise their logos and brand from the 80s, for example. You will need it to last, in order to build up long term familiarity with your customers and followers.
Logos can be found in one of 3 common forms:
- Text & Image
- Image only
Some companies will just have this as their only logo. Some will look at having a logo and image that will reflect and represent well as any of the 3, depending on where and how it’s shown.
On a PC or a large tablet, you might see the full logo, with the image and company name. On a smaller screen, say a large phone, you may just see the name, with the colour and typeface or embellishments making it unique and recognisable. On an even smaller screen, or in a status bar, you may only see the logo.
In addition, depending on your colours, you may have an alternated version of the logo depending on whether it’s on a white/black (or light/dark) background, in order to make sure it stands out.
When you work with a designer, you’re likely to get all of the above as a part of your brand guidelines (Brand guidelines describe how to best represent your business consistently online, in print and elsewhere), but that might not be something you’ve considered before yourself.
When you are designing and picking a logo, try and think about how it will be used, and where. Think about whether the colours or design will work well, and if you should look to change the design, or decide on an acceptable alternate you can use instead in advance, not an arbitrary decision when it comes up and you’re in a hurry to meet a deadline.
Finally, you may choose to add a motto, or tag line, in addition to the logo – Think ‘Just do it’ from Nike, or ‘Have it your way’ from Burger King. It’s not compulsory, but if your motto is something that people already associate with you, then it would make sense to run with it.
How do I choose what I should be creating?
So then, there are many decisions to be taken when designing a logo for your brand and team. A number of the online logo designers will try and help you to make these, but you can also do some thinking and research yourself.
There are a number of places that talk about the trends and styles bigger brands are following or using that can also apply to you. For example, this blog talks about 20 trends they think will be important. Gradients and abstract logos are apparently on trend, and we’re a big fan of that!
When looking at some of the more popular blogs and publications talking about these areas, Creative Bloq are fans of simplicity – In fact, of ‘playful simplicity’, as well as authenticity and using your logo to show narrative. Social Media Today have their own take that overlaps, while adding other things to think about.
You can also brainstorm, whether by yourself (or with your team) to come up with ideas for words and phrases, or images that come to mind. These might help you to decide on basic constraints on the brand logo, possibly even the colours to use. There’s no guarantee you won’t change your mind, but this is the fun, creative part! It also can help to improve the bonds within your team, and make your employees feel part of the decision, so that they are more involved an enthusiastic when working and dealing with your customers.
What are the right colours for my business logo?
An important part of your identity as a brand, and how people look at you and your logo, I the colour, or colours you choose. Colours tend to be representative of various things to different people, some positive:
- Red: power, energy, passion
- Orange: enthusiasm, joy, creativity
- Yellow: energy , happiness, intellect
- Green: ambition, growth, freshness, safety
- Blue: tranquility, intelligence, confidence
- Purple: creativity,luxury, ambition
- Black: elegance,power, mystery
- White: purity, perfection, cleanliness
While some connotations to the colours you use are negative. It’s worth considering a balance of both and how they reflect on your company and ethos.
Additionally, within your industry, some colours may be representative of different things based on people’s experience with other companies and organisations, or you may want to not use them in order to avoid being associated with a competitor, for example.
By picking the right colours, you can affect the first impression of your company even before they pay attention to the elements and the text/name.
There’s an awful lot to learn about Colour Theory, but the main things to remember are that you are looking for colours that are either similar to each other (analogous), or which are different enough that they complement each other, that your customer will find pleasant in combination.
Another thing to consider is that not everyone has great sight, and some colour differentials are so close to each other in shade, hue or intensity that it’s hard for people to make out the diffference.
It’s worth considering the use of high contrast colours when creating the logo. This means it’s more distinctive, but it doesn’t have to mean it’s garish. Maybe you can have an alternate version of your logo in monochrome, or another high contrast colour scheme, for situations when it’s needed. And by preparing early, it’s something you don’t need to do in a hurry – ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’!
In fact, there are legal reasons to consider this as well. In the UK (Not including Northern Ireland), the Equality Act 2010affects employers, public bodies and service providers (including retail) and refers to long term (lasting more than 12 months) and substantial (something which makes daily tasks take much longer than usual) disabilities, and the reasonable steps you’re expected to make to accommodate them, so they aren’t discriminated against, or prevented from making use of the same facilities an ‘able bodied’ person would. So looking at the colours and form of your logos, and also things like alt-text on images for screen readers, may be a low cost option compared to being sued for discrimination, and it also means you have access to a larger pool of potential customers.
What is a logo maker?
If you can’t afford to hire a designer, and you aren’t a designer yourself, then a logo maker is probably your best option in the meantime. They’re designed to give you the ability to create a logo based on templates and preset advice. The downside to using an app like this is that some of the simpler ones are not far removed from word art. Meanwhile the truly advanced ones will give you a wide variety of options and flexibility to create something more unique and specific to you and your business, while they benefit you by steering you away from common mistakes.
Logo makers can be web-based, or an app for your phone or tablet. Some are free, some are free to use, but you have to pay to download your logo for use.At least one will even let you pay for a designer to give it a review and suggest changes.
While you can just sketch something, or use Word art, with a logo maker, you’ll also get the appropriate legal rights to use that logo – That can save you from some very expensive problems down the line as you grow!
Logo makers online
A number of tools are available, as described above, but very few follow exactly the same pricing or access model. Some also have options for affiliated services, but charge nothing to create the design, tweak it and then download it – Others will have a direct cost for specific options that will need to factor into your choice of logo and tool.
Free with your website
A number of website hosts offer a wide range of tools to assist you in setting up your website and business, including a logo maker.
Wix and Squarespace offer built in tools, while you can buy Hatchful on Shopify for $19.99. The free options are regularly updated, so it’s a good place to start, but if it’s not working for you, then consider another option, including those below.
Wix’s Logomaker asks for the name of your business. In addition, you can select an industry, choose from a list of 10 styles, choose where you’ll be using the logo, and even specify a tagline (or motto) to go underneath. Once it produces a suggestion, you can tweak details like the colours, fonts and other details. If you’re satisfied with the results, a low-res copy can be downloaded for free, whole the hi-res copy requires you purchase a basic or advanced logo package for your account.
Hatchful, by Shopify, is a fairly simple tool, but designed to be simple and easy to use. It may not give you the perfect logo, but it might be the right logo to get you started – and you might find someone else has the same idea.
At $20, though, there may be better options. It’s worth looking at your options.
Squarespace’s Logo Makeris probably the most effective of the three, and offers a clear, easy to use interface for slick, impressive designs – Though they may not be the most original. It’s only really helpful if you’re using Squarespace, of course. It’s probably the least effective when compared to Wix and Shopify, but it’s free.
Free to use
Canva is a web-based design tool that is best known for creating memes and graphical assets for social media, but it can be used for a wide range of design tasks, including logo design.
It offers a simple, drag and drop interface, with over 100 templates. Starting with the name of your business, you work through some simple questions to provide input to the selection of symbols, themes, fonts, etc. You can answer some queries about your industry and other details for the business. The end result has a style of your choice in place, and can be tweaked or customised until you’re satisfied.
And when it’s just right, you can download it, in high-resolution, for free. It’s worth trying.
Vectr is a free online design tool that allow you use it in your browser, or download it locally. You can run through the online user guide, or some simple interactive tutorials to get the hang of the controls, before using the tools to import images, draw shapes and add text to create the logo of your choice. It puts more burden on you, but has more freedom to create something unique.
What’s more, Vectr lets you collaborate in real time with other members of your team, editing on multiple PCs at once. This can be especially handy to avoid spending days or weeks of sending files back and forth, tracking changes and building consensus.
Logo Garden is a free to use online app with a wide range of templates for you to use to create your own template. Broken down by industry and other criteria, once you’ve found something close, you can copy it and edit it to make it your own.
Online since 2011, over 2 million logos have been made with Logo Garden, and the current iteration is easy to use and has a good variety of options to choose from. Multiple layout types, styles and other options will help to keep you busy deciding for quite a while! And once you’ve made the logo, they can offer you a range of promotional items and clothing to put the log onto, as well as free high-resolution downloads.
And if you still can’t get it quite right, you can pay for a professional designer to help you, starting at just $39.99.
Ucraft are a company offering website templates, a website builder, hosting services and a variety of other services for the modern online business, including their free logo maker app.
It’s a 3 step app, with over 22,000 free images and icons, and offers high resolution, transparent PNG images of the logo for download at the end of the process.
DesignHill logo maker
DesignHill offers a 3 step guided design creator for you to use to put together your own logo, guided with questions and choices to find the best combination of pre-set elements, styles and colours that it can provide, and over 100 templates. It then allows you to tweak the results. This is free to use, and the results are free to download. With 98% customer satisfaction, it seems to have made a good impression on others, so it should be reassuring if you are thinking about trying it out.
There is also the option to access their Design Marketplace, and commission a logo froma designer using a guided brief, which they will walk you through creating.
Officially, Mark Maker is still a prototype, but it’s as robust as any other package here, and may even have more features.
Mark Maker is a ‘guided’ logo designer, which steps you through their process. When you open the website and start designing, it will ask you the name of your business, and it will generate a grid of example logos to consider. You mark all of the options you like. You also tell Mark Maker what industry your company is in, and it will generate a recommended design based on your logo preferences, and on the other information you provided. Once you have the final logo, you can then easily tweak and edit it to your satisfaction.
Downloading is officially free, and you can download the image in any supported format or resolution, but they offer the option to chip in a tip of $3 or $5 – And it would seem poor to not support and reward their hard work to keep making Mark Maker better!
Paid download after free design
There are a number of tools and packages that will let you design your logo or free, using a range of tools, templates and assets, and then tweaking them until they are just right.
The limitation with these platforms is that you will have to pay an amount to get the logo. Either:
- Can download a low resolution version of the logo, but need to pay for the higher resolution versions that you’d use in your website and for other purposes.
- Have to pay to download any version of the logo for use outside of the site.
Obviously, you have your budget, based on your available resources,but while it may not be as expensive as the ‘Hire a designer’ option, at least you will get the opportunity to see what you can produce before you judge whether it’s worth the cost!
The value in a good logo design may exceed your original evaluation after you’ve reviewed your options.
Hipster Logo Generator
The Hipster Logo Generator is less about the images, and more about a wide range of text options. It’s 5-step process is designed to make things simple for you. You can run text along curved paths around items easily, framing round logo arrangements, for example.
Once you have completed your design, they allow you to download a 500 by 600 pixel image of the logo for free, but the high res download is $10 to access.
LogoMakr is a web-based tool that kicks off with a nice, friendly video walking you through using it.
It’s a little limited in places, but their focus is on being easy to use and get results. If you can find a logo you like, it will let you have the low res PNG version free (with attribution), but there is a charge of $19 for the higher resolution image downloads, either as an SVG or a PDF.
LogoMakr isn’t a guided design tool, it’s simply offering you a set of options to select logo images, text styles and colours, but if it provides what you need, then it might just be the right site for you!
Online Logo Maker
Online Logo Maker is very similar to many other tools to use, with it’s own selection of images, assets etc. It sets itself apart by letting you import your own images for use in your design alongside their assets. Obviously, you take responsibility for ensuring you have the intellectual property rights to use/reuse the image, and pay the fines if not! If it comes down to you wanting to use something specific in an easy online logo maker, this could be one of your cheapest options.
Once you have created, tweaked, and approved of your design, you can download a low-res (500px square) version of it for free. The higher res version(s) cost a one off fee of $49 to access and download.
Design Free Logo
Design Free Logo offers the ability to create 3D, rather than flat, logo designs. With 8 pages of logo templates to choose from, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find something you like. And if the other logo makers have seem a little flat, it might add an extra dimension to your company’s image.
Prices are varied from template to template, and set by the designer, though many are free. Find the one you like, and decide if your budget can stretch to it!
Logo Genie offer a range of options to help you find the right mix of elements you need to create your logo, with over a thousand template options.
In addition, there’s a wide range of customisation and selection options – Gradient fills, stretching, rotating and overlapping, etc., to get the right mix of elements, in the right colours, using the right text, based on your needs and wants. They start with your name, and offer a range of options through 5 steps to give you a final design to optimise.
Prices for your download start at £24.90, including Hi Resolution JPG, SVG PNG and PDF files (with transparent backgrounds). There are other options to consider, with their own prices, such as the ability to make later modifications, or even exclusive rights tothat logo design, preventing others from duplicating your design.
Just like Ucraft, DesignMantic offer a range of web-related services, including hosting and design, but they also offer a logo maker.
By entering your industry and business name after selecting the ‘logo’ service option, DesignMantic will offer you a list of logo options. You can choose whether to show logos based on symbols, alphabetical characters, or initials. You can also search for specific terms to affect the results it returns. Selecting one then lets you edit and supplement their design.
PDFs, PNGs and JPGs are then available at prices starting from $37.
Logo Type Maker
Logo Type Maker gives you access to more than 1,000 templates, 600,000 shapes and vector graphics to add to the templates and more than 200 fonts for the logo text.
It uses a familiar 3-step model, and for free you can download a 300 DPI JPG or PNG, but without the license to customise it further. For an additional fee you can get access to more features and elements to create your logo, and SVG file downloads, with unlimited changes.
What about if you have some skill and experience with programmes like Photoshop or Illustrator, but no inspiration?
Some sites will sell you templates that you can tweak yourself, created by professional designers to make a strong statement. These sites give you access to a wide range of options, and are responsible for ensuring that you are covered, legally, for the use, reuse and editing of the templates you download from them and customise. In return, you’re supporting those designers and creating better resources for your next business when it needs a logo.
Creative Market acts as a showroom for you to meet designers and view their wares. Their designs, available as template files for you to modify and customise, can be bought and downloaded for you to tweak and make your own. Prices vary, and the marketplace takes a cut, of course, to pay the bills, but in exchange they curate the templates, giving you an assurance that what you find here is of high quality.
By starting with a good quality template, you can produce a great result with less pressure at your end, and can get closer to the classic ‘designer’ standard while making the best use of your own internal resources and knowledge.
When you visit Envato Elements, you’ll see logo designs, with options to look at even more, and to filter them down based on your needs and interests. Envato also acts as a marketplace for independent designers to showcase and license their work to businesses, so that you can present a professional and unique image, while they can continue to create fresh, interesting and attractive designs. The prices will vary, though some are free, so if you can find the right template, there’s nothing, bar your bank manager, to stop you licensing and customising the perfect logo for you and your business.
Logo maker apps
Of course, being the 21st century, you don’t just do your logo design in web applications – You can get an app for your phone or tablet, too!
Watercolor Logo Maker
If you’re looking for something a little different, then Watercolor Logo Maker may be for you. An iOS app, you can install it for free on your iPhone or iPad, but there are in-App purchases.
You start by choosing a watercolour style basic shape, and then you embellish it – Text, colours additional graphical elements can all be added to your design to make it unique, and representative of your business. There’s even the option to add 3D effects to your logo, to make it pop.
But it’s not truly free –There are £3 unlocks for specific icons or styles, or, if you want to focus on value for money, then you can pay £10 to unlock all the options.But if it’s what you’re looking for to truly represent your brand, it’s a small price!
Logo Maker, for iOS, has a free version, but it watermarks your design. It has a range of unlocks as paid purchases, including £1.99 to remove the watermark, £3.99 to unlock all the features of the app, £1.99 each to unlock a range of other options – Gradient fills, templates, stickers and more.
But what makes it worth your time to try?
When you open Logo Maker, you first select a base design – In black and white. This means that you can’t be put off because it ‘doesn’t look right’, and realise later it’s because you’re not a fan of orange and blue… Good start, right?
As mentioned above, all of the decisions you make about your logo (including which logos you can choose from) will be based on the options you have available – This is where the in app purchases come in. You can change colours, fonts, add stickers to the logo, until you reach a satisfactory design. With more than a thousand logo templates, 5000 or more fonts, as well as the same number of stickers and other graphical elements to use when customising, it definitely gives you plenty of choice.
It’s targeted more at casual users than people with experience in design, but it can produce some very reasonable designs. Logo Maker exports your logo as a JPG or a PNG file.
Commission a designer
If none of the logo maker options are working for you, or you just prefer to talk to someone, you could try Fiverr to find a designer and a logo.
The prices will vary, as might the results, but you might find it’s an acceptable compromise to get the logo you really need. The designers on Fiverr might have less experience, but there are some genuinely gifted options to choose from, if they are in your price range! Ensure that they agree to give you the ongoing rights to reuse and edit the work after they hand it over, though!
As a business owner, your business will thrive by having a good reputation, and regular customers. By building your brand, you can step up to the next level. You’ll be less reliant on Amazon or eBay sending customers to you, because the customers will seek you out, specifically, and your products.
A logo is a key component of this. It can show people at the very start something about you, and it can remind them of their great experiences with your brand after their first purchase. It can help to make you stand out amongst your competitors, in order to ensure they will give you the chance to earn their trust.
Logos should be clear, and well-defined. Colours should be sympathetic to the impression you want to make, and distinctive. Sensory memories are surprisingly vivid and evocative, so making that impression and then building on it will make it possible for you to build a strong and broad customer base.
Moreover, by building brand recognition around a strong logo, you’ll be able to consider repeat customers to your own website as the primary component of your business. Because people won’t come to you, or someone else based on who is cheapest on Amazon. They’ll go looking for you based on your prior dealings with them, and they’ll search for your brand, or look out for your logo.
A good logo will last you a long time. It might need to be updated occasionally over the years, but at its core you want something that’s memorable, and uniquely you. Don’t just take the ‘OK’ option or compromise, put some time in, and get your team involved so they’re all proud of it, too!