Twitter has a bird, Nike a tick, McDonald’s the golden arches and Apple an apple. All of these are instantly familiar icons.

Your logo is one of the most recognizable things about your business. That’s why it needs to be simple, striking and professional.

You could hire an agency to work on your brand, or you might prefer to do your logo design in-house. In that case, you’ll need software that’s up to the job.

Best Logo Maker and Creation Tools

1. Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator – part of the Creative Suite – remains the kingpin of graphic design software, and for good reason. It packs a punch with a host of features that give you control over every aspect of your logo design.

For starters, the pixel grid makes it easy to cleanly align objects, while the precise shape-building tools, brushes, and advanced path controls give you the freedom to create almost any graphic you can think of. Perspective grids can help create realistic depth and distance. Rich typography, visual effects and a new tracing engine that converts raster images to editable vectors add to the arsenal.

When colour needs to be used sparingly, gradients can be very effective. Illustrator enables interactions with gradients directly on an object. Users can even apply gradients to individual strokes, while still controlling placement and opacity.

However, Illustrator can be intimidating for beginners. If you’re new to graphic design, a more basic program may be more up your alley instead.

2. Logomaker

If you’re just after a logo to use for your online collateral, Logomaker could be just what you need. Even those without any previous design experience can create a brand new logo in minutes using the online wizard.

There’s a huge selection of artwork to build on – more than 10,000 icons and images, all created by professional designers. Add text, choose a font, play around with colors and spacing to create your own unique design.

You can create and save up to six web-ready logos and download them for free. You’ll get the appropriate HTML code to copy and paste online, or if you need high resolution versions to print on stationery or business cards, these can be bought for $49.

3. Laughingbird

Like Logomaker, there’s no need to draw anything in Laughingbird’s Logo Creator. You will, however, have to download the software, available for both Mac and Windows with a free trial.

Logo Creator comes with 200 templates and even more graphic elements, which can be dropped directly onto the canvas. Alternatively, upload your own or import custom graphics from the web (just be sure you’re not violating any copyrights). There’s a range of special effects and text options on the menu too.

As for exporting your logo, it can be saved as a jpg, gif, bmp, tiff or transparent gif/png. You then have full rights to use it however you want or even license it to others.


4. Summitsoft Logo Design Studio

Summitsoft’s Logo Design Studio, which visually looks something along the lines of Microsoft Office, also offers a free trial.

There’s a whopping 1500 pre-designed templates to match any industry, from finance to food, cleaning to construction, and 5000+ logo objects to pull from. Tweak the colors, fonts, shapes and effects or import your own graphics to personalize your logo. Or you can use the shape tools to draw your own and snap them into place with the one-click alignment option.

As well as the usual web formats, you can also print your logo in high resolution. As with Laughingbird, Summitsoft says you’ll be able to sell your designs to others. It will also take you through the trademark process so you can secure your brand identity, and generate ideas for slogans and taglines to go with your new logo.

5. LogoYes

LogoYes allows you to design and perfect your business logo before paying anything. Only once you’ve finished with the process do you need to make a purchase.

The online wizard is very straightforward. Start by finding art for your logo (try browsing by industry). The second step opens up a drag-and-drop canvas and involves adding text or making small tweaks such as rotating, resizing, flipping or repositioning elements. There are no special effects or other extras, and you can only use one graphic icon per logo. If a very clean, basic logo is all you need (and simple is often best), this could be the option for you.

If you want to use your design and receive all the files, including high resolution versions, LogoYes charges a mere 99 cents.

6. Sothink

Sothink’s Logo Maker Pro is another Office lookalike – downloadable software with a free trial. You have the choice of building on a free template and editing an existing logo, or creating your own from scratch.

Sothink helps you out along the way with some smart color tools (choose a dominant shade, and it will list relevant palettes for you to use), seven vector drawing tools and a few dozen special effects, which can be applied to individual text letters.

Finally, you can import content yourself – either Flash or static graphics. Supported export formats are png, jpg, bmp, tiff and svg.