NHS Designs

student work


Graphic Design Projects

Painting a Logo

Turn a sketch into a digital logo in Photoshop.



The goal in digitizing a logo from a sketch is to create a version that is clean and visually balanced.

For the purposes of this project:

  • Outlines should be in solid black and make with neat edges. Avoid sketchiness.
  • Colors should be carefully selected and smooth in appearance. Avoid splotchiness.


Get a copy of logo-tutorial.psd from the Outbox. This is a playful sketch I created for the purposes of demonstrating logo creation techniques. It is not intended to be a serious design for a logo.

  1. Rename the file with your last name and first initial.
  2. Open the file in Photoshop.
  3. Add a new layer above the background layer and name it Color.
  4. Add another new layer above the Color layer and name it Outlines. Make this the active layer.
  5. Press D on your keyboard to set your foreground and background colors to the default of black and white.
  6. Select the Brush tool. In the options bar, set the brush to 25 pixels and a hardness of 100%.
  7. Save your file.




Paint the Outlines

  1. Make sure the Outlines layer is active.
  2. Trace over your black outlines with the Brush tool.
  3. Use the eraser tool to erase/fix any mistakes.
  4. Change the size of your brush as you see fit. Use the [ and ] keys on your keyboard to quickly change the brush size.
  5. Save your file.


Straight Lines

To paint a straight line with the Brush tool:

  1. Click once at the beginning of the line.
  2. Hold the Shift key and click at the end of the line.
  3. You can keep adding line segments using Shift-click.

straight lines

Ellipses and Rectangles

You can use the Elliptical and Rectangular marquee tools to paint neat outlines for circles, ovals, squares or rectangles.

  1. Select the Elliptical or Rectangular marquee tool.
  2. In the options bar, make sure that the Feather is 0.
  3. Draw the shape you want on the Outlines layer. Rememer to hold down the Shift key after you begin drawing to get a perfect circle or square.
  4. Make sure that black is the foreground color.
  5. Add a 25px stroke (Edit > Stroke). Make sure that Center is selected before you click OK.
  6. Deselect using Ctrl-D.




Paint the Fill Color

  1. Make the Color layer active.
  2. Decide which part of the logo to paint first.
  3. Click on the foreground color in the toolbox to select a color.
  4. Adjust the brush size to paint your first logo section.
  5. Use the brush and eraser tools to paint the color.
  6. Save your file.


Painting Shortcut

Sometimes painting an area can take a while and leave white gaps. In logo sections that are completely enclosed by black outlines, you can try the following shortcut:

  1. Make the Outlines layer active.
  2. Select the Magic Wand tool. In the Options bar, make sure that Contiguous is checked.
  3. Click with the Magic Wand in the section you want to color. This should make a selection outline where you want to put your color.
  4. Expand the selection by 5 pixels (Select > Modify > Expand.)
  5. Click on the foreground color in the toolbox to select a color.
  6. Make the Color layer active.
  7. Fill the selection with your color (Alt-Backspace).
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 to color another section.
  9. Save your file.

magic wand



If you want to use any of the fonts installed on your computer to create text, you can add that too.

  1. Make the Outlines layer active so that you can add a text layer above it.
  2. Select the Text tool on the toolbox.
  3. In the options bar, select an appropriate font and a font size of around 24 - 72.
  4. Choose a font color in the options bar before you begin typing. Choose left, center or right alignment.
  5. Click on the image and begin typing.
  6. Click the checkmark in the options bar to finish typing.
  7. Play with other fonts in the options bar if you are not satisfied with the first one.
  8. You can warp the text:
    1. Select the Text tool.
    2. Create warped textIn the Options bar, click on the Create warped text button.
    3. Play with the options until you get something you like. Click OK.

warp text

  1. You can rotate the text:
    1. Ctrl-T
    2. Move your mouse just outside a corner so that it becomes a curved double-arrow.
    3. Click and drag to rotate.
    4. Press Enter to finish the transformation.

rotate text

  1. Save your file.



Make Ready for Client

  1. Add a new layer above the background layer and name it White.
  2. Make sure the foreground and background colors are black and white.
  3. Press Ctrl-Backspace to fill the layer with white so that the original sketch is hidden.
  4. Make any last changes to the Text, Outlines, or Color layers.
  5. Save your file.



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