As graphic designers, we are often poised with tasks that we might not normally take on or even think about. Designing is not only a creative field, but also one with unique demands. Logos are often high on the list when it comes to client requests. Because logo designs are so common, it is important to know how to create not only an effective design, but also one that is visually appealing, unique, and creative.
In regards to logo designing, inspiration plays a pivotal role. Often these designs are inspired by things such as company names, origins, mascots, or even products. Other times, logo designs are inspired by current trends. During the time when minimalism was the new “thing,” a lot of brands were modifying their designs to incorporate minimalistic elements. It isn’t just logos that get this type of treatment, but entire websites as well. In today’s tutorial, I draw inspiration from the traditional Japanese art form of paper folding also known as origami.
Completed, Layered Photoshop File
Step 1: New Document
Once you have Photoshop up and running, create a new document. Set your canvas so that it has the dimensions of 1000 x 800px and press OK.
Step 2: Sketch
To make the construction of our logo easier, we need to first put together a sketch. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to give us an idea of what we want our logo to look like. You can either draw your sketch directly into Photoshop or draw it by hand and then scan it in.
Below, you can see a quick sketch I did for my origami elephant logo.
Step 3: Head Outline
Now that our sketch is finished, we need to create the lineart. In other words, we need to make a solid sketch so that we know where to divide pieces of the elephant into folder paper segments. To do this, you will need to use the pen tool and do the head and body separately. I used the color #db0052. You will notice in the image below that I created sharp points and edges for the head.
Do not forget to outline the tusks.
Step 4: Body Outline
Make a new layer and place this beneath the head layer. Now, as you did for the head, make a solid outline for the body and tail. When you are finished, your outline should resemble the image below.
Step 5: Cuts
Since we now have the entire outline of our elephant, we need to start dissecting it in order to know where our “folds” will go. To achieve this, make a new layer and label it “cuts”. With a color different than the colors used before, begin creating lines with the pen tool. I used color #00afdb. Note that the more pieces you create, the more complex your logo will look. To make things simplistic, concentrate on outlining where the legs will be, the ear, and the trunk. Your final image should look like this:
Step 6: Paint by Numbers
You might find yourself confused by the number of lines going on. If you are unable to distinguish different pieces, then I suggest you create a “paint by numbers” effect. Simply create a new layer and with a different color fill in each section. You should have 16 sections unless you have created more lines than I have.
If assigning a different color to each piece confuses you, you can always assign numbers to differentiate the pieces. Use 1 and 2 to distinguish the pieces. Sections labeled with 1 will be under and sections labeled with a 2 will overlap. This will help you when it comes to building the shadows.
Step 7: #1 Color Sections
It is easier to break the color sections into two separate parts. We will start by coloring all the sections that are labeled with 1. Change your foreground color to #e0246a, create your paths with the pen tool, and fill them, making sure to only do those labeled with 1.
Step 8 #2 Color Sections
With the 1 sections now filled in, change your foreground color to #ec2c74 and use the same technique used in step 7.
Step 9: Tusks
Create a new layer and change your foreground color to #c0c0c0. Use the pen tool to make a path for your tusks and fill them in.
Step 10: Ear
You might have noticed during the numberings that the ear and front leg of the elephant were both labeled with 2, so when you created your paths these two combined to look like one large shape. For our logo, we need these two shapes to appear as if they are overlapped. To do this, you need to simply pick the right color for the overlapped pieces and create a new layer. Lower the opacity of the “2” layer and turn the outline back on. Trace the shape of the ear alone and fill it in.
Step 11: Ear Shadow
Duplicate this layer and — staying on your newly-created ear layer — go to “Image” > “Adjustments” > “Hue/Saturation.” When the dialogue menu appears, leave everything alone aside from the “Lightness” option. Change the “Lightness” number to -42. The ear should look like this now:
Apply a 2px Gaussian blur to the duplicated ear and then drag this layer under the ear layer so that it looks similar to the image below.
Step 12: Body Shadow
Just like with the ear, you probably noticed that the body and the left hind leg of the elephant both are labeled with the same number, making it appear as one piece. To rectify this problem, simply implement the same steps as done in step 10 to make the two pieces appear separate and overlapping. This is how your image should now look:
Step 13: #2 Section Overlap
We want to make the sections originally labeled with 2 look like they are overlapping the sections labeled with 1. We will use the same process used on the ear and body shadows. Go to the “2” layer and duplicate it. Next go to “Image” > “Adjustments” > “Hue/Saturation” and drop the Lightness to -42.
Move this duplicated layer underneath the original “2” layer and apply a Gaussian blur to it.
Step 14: #2 Section Gradient
Make sure that you are on the original “2” layer, that your foreground color is #e0246a, and that your background color is #ffffff. Double-click on the layer to access the “Blending Options” menu. Select the “Gradient Overlay” box and change the gradient so it reflects your chosen colors. Enter the same numbers as shown below.
Do not forget that your elephant’s ear is separate, so you will need to copy the layer style and paste it on to that layer as well.
Step 15: #1 Section Gradient
Copy the layer styles used in step 14 and paste them to the original “1” layer as well as the “body” layer.
Step 16: Shadow
Create a new layer and place it underneath all the other layers. Use the elliptical marquee tool to create a shadow and fill it in with color #000000.
Drop the layer opacity to 20% and apply a 5px Gaussian blur.
Step 17: Paper Texture
Copy and paste the paper texture above all over your layers and change the layer mode to “Divide.”
Finish your logo design by adding in elements like a background color and a company name.
Download PSD File
Gabrielle is a freelance graphic designer, animator, photographer and filmmaker who has taken on various projects including creating logos for clients, animating commercials for film festivals, working as a character and background designer and animating music videos for an international music artist.