6 Free Logo Makers: Build Your Brand

POSTED: 10/29/09 7:49 PM

Business owners, whether web-based or operating in the 3-D world, are always talking about branding. “We need to build a brand.” “We need a brand name.” “We need a brand label.” These astute businesspeople appreciate the need for recognition – and easy recognition in the hyperbole-laced business realm.

One key factor in building a brand (it doesn’t happen overnight) is to have an easily recognizable logo – a visual cue that immediately identifies your company with nothing but a picture.

windows-vista-logo

Is there anyone on the planet who DOESN’T recognize this logo?

Business owners often pay thousands of dollars for a graphic design company to create the perfect image to represent a company. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even have to be colorful. But it does have to be memorable. And that can set you back a lot of cash – and there’s no certainty that the design company gets it right.

The fact is, you know your business, your products or services and, most importantly, your target market, better than anyone. So doesn’t it make sense that YOU create your own logo. Not only do you save cash, you nail the right look and feel, the right motif, the right color – the right everything to hit the sweet spot of your market, even if you have zero experience in design.

Fortunately, the web is loaded with lots of free logo makers – all offering free tools that’ll help you create the right logo to brand your company and hit that demographic bulls’ eye.

Save yourself some money (critical if you’re just starting out) and design your own company brand with these free logo making tools.

1. AAA Logo Maker

AAA Logo Maker is a full-featured design suite with all the tools of high-priced image creation software (think Photoshop: price tag $799) but none of the stuff you don’t need. It’s a logo maker, short and sweet.

AAA Logo Maker

You don’t have to be a Picasso to create a professional looking logo. You just need the right tool.

I like AAA logo maker for a couple of reasons. First. it’s OSS, and I like anything that’s free. But I also want a tool that does what it says it’s going to do.

The designers of AAA have stripped out all of the features you don’t need and pumped up the features the novice logo designer needs:

* a strong collection of design templates
* easy template manipulation (so you don’t look like a template)
* 1000s of logo objects from which to choose
* multi-formatting options so you can upload a jpg to your blog or website or create a doc that you can take to the printer for your stationery
* complete customization of text, logo objects, templates and other built-ins to get you started
* unusual fonts you won’t find in Microsoft Paint
* intuitive editing and manipulation tools
* full, 256 true-color palette
* tons of SFX options

AAA Logo Maker is a powerful tool, whether you need to create a single logo for your own business or you’re adding logo creation to your service offerings. It’s not PS, but you don’t have to shell out $800 to look professional, and that’s a trade-off I’ll make any day.

2. Innovative Logos

company_logo_designer

Company Logo Designer won both the Editor’s Pick Award and User’s Choice Award at the FreeDownloads Center, a site worthy of bookmarking because they have a ton of OSS tools, apps and utilities to save you money. In fact, it’s one of my favorite sites because there’s always some new tool available so I usually stop by a couple of times a week to see what’s new on the offerings page.

Now, this logo maker is the simplest to master so your learning curve is cut down significantly. But you also sacrifice customization in exchange for that ease of use.

This OSS logo maker has fewer objects and fewer templates (only 25) to play around with, but that’s okay. The suite also provides enough image manipulation tools to adapt one of those templates to suit your design needs, and project that spot-on brand.

I do wish the software came with a larger image library, but with all of the free clip art and rip art available, you can import what you need and change it to make it your own, i.e. no trademark infringement.

If you want it fast and easy, go with this OSS logo maker. If you want more options (and don’t mind a longer learning curve), use one of the more powerful tools recommended above.

3. Logo Ease

Logoease

It employs an intuitive GUI that simplifies the process of logo creation. One cool feature is that Logo Ease is one of only a handful of OSS tools that allows you to create vector source files – something your programmer will love. These files hold formatting whether in digital or hard-copy formats. That’s a real benefit.

LogoEase comes with 100s of images and is adding new imagery all the time. It’s tough to complain about free software tools, but I do have a quibble with this logo designer. Purely subjective.

The images provided by LogoEase definitely have the look of clip art, and to the trained eye, nothing says newbie faster than clip art. But, again, you can import your own objects and images easily with this simple tool so the art that comes with the package isn’t a critical consideration.

With a little imagination, LogoEase will do what you want it to do – create a professional-looking brand image in just a few minutes. I use it and, with a couple of simple work-arounds, I can produce logos that’ll blow your socks off, and I’m not a graphic designer.

So, don’t let my subjective view of the clip art put you off. You may like it. Or, as I said, the tool provides enough features to turn any image into your image. Fast. No learning curve, here. Download, install, create, and broadcast your company brand.

4. VidLogo 3.8.6

vidlogo

VidLogo 3.8.6 creates animated logos for webcasts and webinars. It’ll run on most Windows OS including Win 95 for those using older systems.

VidLogo makes it simple to change video files to display your company’s brand or video watermarks to protect your intellectual property. VidLogo 3.8.6. allows for the creation of animated or AVI logos for videos. The software also supports other graphics formats including bmp and jpg graphics and turns a still image into one that moves. It’s animated – ideal for banner animations and other images that require true Alpha video support.

The latest version (the software is updated regularly) has a number of new, time-saving features including MPEG encoding, a preview feature and totally customizable compression so you decide on download times for your next webcast.

VidLogo has had some problems in the past but with each new version, this software delivers improved functionality and features that simplify animated logo creation.

Now, this software isn’t for sissies. You’ll have to experiment (that’s why I like the newly-added preview feature) but if you’re serious about logo creation and Web 2.0 features like webcasts, this is one tool worth learning to use.

I’ve tested the logos produced by VidLogo on a number of browsers installed on a long list of computers – desktops, laptops and net books and the results were a pleasant surprise. While it’s reasonable to expect color shifts from browser to browser (even when using true colors), the animated banners I created with this tool looked most cool whether I viewed them on IE, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

But again, this tool does require some time to get used to. If you’re a site designer, you probably use Photoshop for image manipulation, but if you want that image to dance, download VidLogo and expand your service offerings.

That’s a good way to build your design business in this tough economy when business owners are looking to cut back on marketing costs. With VidLogo 3.8.6., you can make your client’s logo move – and that’s always eye-catching – even to the experienced web surfer.

VidLogo’s simple GUI is somewhat deceiving. While ease of use is an important consideration for the newbie, it’s important to remember that an animated logo is more difficult to create than a still image, regardless of which software you use.

5. XLogo

xlogo

XLogo is available at sourceforge.net, a site worth a bookmark because they offer a lot of freeware and shareware that’ll save search time and, of course, time in creating the perfect brand.

XLogo operates on Macs outfitted with OS X for all you Mac users.

Your browser may not support display of this image. The features of this tool aren’t extensive but, again, it’ll do what you want if what you want is an attractive logo that you can create quickly.

XLogo is, of course, OSS which means it’s free. It also allows you to create logos in different languages with non-English characters – logos in Japanese, Spanish, French, et al.

One of the coolest features is that XLogo is designed for use by young kids just starting to realize the power of web design. That means its GUI is way simple. If your seven-year-old can use XLogo (and she can) how easy will it be for you to create that ideal image to sell your company’s message.

The software is based on LISP scripting, first developed back in the 1970s as a teaching language. XLogo employs a subset of LISP to create great looking graphics.

Now, you might think, well, this software uses out-dated scripting but the fact is LISP has been upgraded over the years and delivers a stable platform for image creation.

The logo creators detailed in this list are not truncated versions of more powerful, “premium” tools available at a cost. All of these logo makers are full-service tools.

Better still, each one is downloadable, testable, delete-able and free. So try them out to discover which logo maker works best for your needs – whether it’s a one-time creation or a value-added service offering to build your client base.

Guaranteed, one of these logo makers is the solution you’re looking for. Have fun. Learn how to create and manipulate logos.

And finally, create your own brand – one that is truly memorable.

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