A brand needs a memorable logo to stand out, and you can’t create one with a box of crayons. If you want a professional logo, you need professional logo design software.
But lately, the market’s been flooded with logo design software of all kinds: desktop, online, free and even AI-powered software! All of those options can be overwhelming, especially if your previous graphic design experience comes from MS Paint.
In this guide, we outline our top picks for the best logo design software on the market. We break them up by category and evaluate their pros and cons so that you can get a sense of their greatest strengths vs. their cost. Let’s dive in!
Nowadays, you don’t need to download software at all—you can create a perfectly professional logo with an online app. As it happens, Gravit Designer is available both online and on desktop. But out of all the online options we reviewed, this program has the most features and tools to support custom logo design. These include selection tools, precision alignment, blending modes, symbol libraries and much more.
You do have to pay for the pro version if you want a range of design export files as well as full editing control over color, typography and vector paths. Depending on your particular needs, this might not be a concern, and the free version has enough assets to create a professional logo, provided you have the design savvy to do so.
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People who have experience with vector programs or a willingness to learn—a lot of tools mean nothing if you can’t use them.
If you’re looking for an online software option that’s much simpler than Gravit, Vectr provides a streamlined interface that supports custom logo design. Their mission is to make graphic design accessible to everyone, and this translates to completely free software and an intuitive workspace that welcomes newcomers to vector art.
While the barebones toolset certainly delivers on this promise, there are limits to how far you can take your designs. But it still manages to contain a decent array of tools (pen/pencil, gradients, shadows, opacity and others), that make it a great place to start as a logo designer.
Beginning logo designers looking to get started with vector programs. Anyone who needs to create a custom logo design with no budget for or time to learn expensive software.
Of course, why bother designing your logo at all when you can get a robot to do it for you. Looka‘s online logo software is perfect if you do not have the design chops to create your logo or do not have the time or budget to hire a designer.
Right out of the gate, their preliminary questionnaire is more involved than similar platforms like Renderforest. Looka delves deeper for more accurate results about what kind of brand you are and what style suits you. But it probably comes as no surprise that the results are ultimately based on templates and the quality of these automated logos can be mixed. If you’re looking for a logo that’s fully customized and tailored to you, you may want to leave the robots behind.
People who don’t need to participate in the logo design process. Maybe you’re afraid your lack of design skill will hold you back. Maybe you just don’t have the time. Maybe creative tasks stress you out and you can’t afford to hire a freelance designer. Alternatively, Looka is perfect for when you’re on a deadline.
Although you can use it on desktop, Hatchful (a.k.a., the logo maker from Shopify) has an excellent mobile interface that makes it perfect for the user on-the-go.
It works similar to the other logo makers in that you choose your category and style, although Hatchful has more options for more accurate results.
People looking for free logo software, who either don’t have access to a desktop computer or prefer mobile devices. People who don’t mind using template logos.
Moving on to more robust, desktop design software, Inkscape is the perfect transition—it offers lots of features like its design software counterparts, but it’s 100% free to download and use. Inkscape is a open-source design program that still receives regular updates, and it comes with SVG capabilities to boot.
Designers on a tight budget who are looking for more functionality and creative freedom than the templates offered by other free logo software. New designers who don’t want to invest in pricier design software just yet. Developers who want to tweak and personalize the source code of their design software.
One of the most well-known design software, Adobe Photoshop, has earned its reputation for good reason. Although mainly conceived as a photo manipulation editor that’s not meant for actual logo designs, Photoshop still offers plenty of design features to make it one of the most versatile programs around—it can handle digital painting, video and even 3D imaging!
Provided you have a graphics tablet, Photoshop is an excellent program for freehand drawing and logo sketching. You can quickly trace and refine sketches with layers, resize and edit specific parts with selection tools, and wind back the clock on your mistakes with the friendly Undo button—all significant advantages compared your average sketchbook.
Vector programs are essential for finalizing logo designs, but their focus on precise points and perfect curves makes them not the best tool for sketching. Photoshop even has some vector tools at its disposal, allowing users to go a step further and prototype their logos. For a professional quality final logo, you will need to transition to a vector program eventually, but Photoshop is a great place to start the logo design process.
Because of the learning curve and price, Photoshop is for serious designers only. Moreover, it’s for designers who work extensively with raster documents and prefer every pixel to be in the perfect place.
A popular brand name among designers, CorelDRAW is a powerful and feature-rich designer software rivaling the Adobe products that dominate the industry. What CorelDRAW does better than its competition is integrate hand-sketching via its LiveSketch tool: with a pen-enabled device, you can transform free-form sketches into precise vector graphics, without the hassle of scanning and tracing.
One big downside with CorelDRAW is its file format, which isn’t industry standard, so avoid using it if you need to share your original files with clients and stick to software with standard file formats only.
Designers who prefer illustration. CorelDRAW is as much digital sketching software as it is logo design software, so if you’re a designer who loves drawing with pencil and paper, this is the software for you.
Digital images are usually either vector, meaning their size can scale without a loss of quality, or raster, meaning they have a set number of pixels. Most design software prioritizes one over the other, but Affinity Designer provides top-tier features for both.
While raster elements are not ideal for logo design, they are for the more complex graphics, texture and shading you see in illustration. This means that logo designers with other creative ambitions are not stuck purchasing multiple software. Continuing on this revolutionary path, Serif (Affinity’s publisher) has also garnered notoriety for challenging Adobe’s subscription-based model by offering its software at a flat rate—a change many graphic designers are onboard with.
Professional designers whose style benefits from switching between vector and raster without the use of multiple programs. Designers on a budget who don’t want to spring for more expensive logo design software.
Lastly, we have Adobe Illustrator—logo design’s longtime industry standard software. While some newer faces have come along since Illustrator’s release in 1987, it remains the most popular vector software available. Some argue that this has more to do with Adobe’s grip on the marketplace (aided by its emphasis on integration with its other products) than its merits. But it’s hard to deny the shear volume and depth of Illustrator’s features—from perspective and web tools to complex imaging effects, along with advanced color, typography, and vector controls. Almost every tool is backed up by more nuanced variations on those tools, giving designers unmatched control over their imagery. At the end of the day, Illustrator is more than a logo design program—it’s a complete vector art powerhouse.
Illustrator pioneered the vector art field, and while other programs have added their own ideas to the mix, many still feel like derivations, racing to catch up. Only time can tell whether they eventually will, but for now, Illustrator remains firmly in the lead.
Serious and committed logo designers. Illustrator is specifically made for professional graphic designers, and its comprehensive vector capabilities make it the software of choice for logo designers.
There are tons of logo design software options out there, and they each have a different purpose. Which one is best design for you depends on your particular needs and budget.
Of course, if you’re a business owner, hiring a logo designer negates the need for logo design software in the first place. Professional software is a key component of professional logo design, but the most important asset is design expertise. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re working with a professional every time.