Logo Design using Paint.net and Inkscape

I am not a graphic designer and do not have the dedication required to learn complex graphic applications like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. However, I do have an artistic itch. Hence when my wife endeavored to set up a business partnership for a corporate psychological training service firm, I endeavored to design their logo. It was a perfect opportunity for me to scour the graphic design application landscape on Windows for amateurs like me (or like myself?).

Paint.net

Paint.net is sometimes positioned as a free and better replacement to built-in Windows Paintbrush, but it is really something like Photoshop Lite. Packed in a tiny 1.6 MB package, this is truly great software considering that it is completely freeware. Check the screenshots here for a sample of what it can do.

Using its support for layers, unlimited undo, some special effects, and some great tutorials in their forum, this is what I came up with:

U Turn Gold

I know it’s not that good-looking, but hey, I’m an amateur!

Inkscape

Professional designers will tell you that logos should be designed as vector graphics, not as raster images like with Paint.net. This is so that they can be easily manipulated and scaled to suit different applications like web, print, etc. Adobe Illustrator and Coreldraw for example, are vector graphic imaging software. So how do you start without spending a penny on such expensive software?

Inkscape is a great open-source vector graphics application that was originally designed for Linux, but now runs on Windows too. Most of the digital graphics you see on Wikipedia are designed in Inkscape by volunteers. It takes some time getting used to working with vector graphics – for example, there is no ‘Eraser’ tool to quickly obliterate your mistakes and tweak your pixels, because there are no pixels here, only lines and curves – but it’s not difficult at all.

I also decided to get a bit creative on the logo concept. U Turn’s services all have their base in psychology. Now, the Greek letter Psi (Y) is the symbol of everything ‘psy’ – psychology, psychiatry, etc. So I wondered if I could make up Psi using U and T of U Turn:

U Turn with Ribbon U Turn Swirl 500x618

So above are examples of some of the designs I’m proposing to the entrepreneurs. Would love to hear your feedback and suggestions as well.

If you do not want to install or learn any software, but are simply looking for a quick and dirty way to come up with some text-based logos primarily for use on the web, the following sites may interest you:

Note that logo design is a profound and complex subject. I have only focused on easy to use logo creation tools here. The design concepts, art, philosophy, and marketing strategy behind logo design is a fascinating topic by itself, and is out of bounds for this post.

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  • http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/ Nita

    Mahendra, I am not a graphic designer but I think your logo is pretty good. Good to do new things isn’t it!

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com/geek Mahendra

    Thank you! Yes, it is great to do new things…but often my problem is that I’m not consistent. I don’t ‘keep at it’, find something else interesting, and move on…

  • http://priyank.com/travel/ Final_Transit

    Very nice beginnings Mahendra, the logos look good. And after a while if you’ll feel the need for photoshop…

    // So how do you start without spending a penny on such expensive software?
    thepiratebay.org 😛

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  • http://www.skepticgeek.com/geek Mahendra

    Coming from a Mac-guy, this is quite a compliment! Thanks!

    Aye, Aye, Captain! PirateBay rules! :-)

  • http://destinationinfinity.wordpress.com Destination Infinity

    Do you have any idea about how photoshop compares with GIMP? Thanks for the links and resources highlighted here for making logos. I think it will be useful.

    Destination Infinity

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com/geek Mahendra

    Yes, I do have a pretty good idea. It’s a complex comparison that cannot be easily covered in a comment, though. If you’re interested, I can point you to some good comparative articles. A simple google search will do the job though!