You have a team, a business plan, a company name and perhaps a product in the making. And now it’s time to get a logo.

There are four ways to get a logo for your company, from the most expensive to the least:

  1. Work with a design agency;
  2. Work with a design freelancer one-on-one;
  3. Launch a 99designs contest;
  4. Use an online logo maker.

Working with design agencies is typically out of the price range for startups. We might be biased, but we think that running a logo design contest is the best way for entrepreneurs to get unique, quality design for a reasonable price (starting at $299). Working with a freelancer is also a good option if you have a very clear idea of the style you are looking for, and more experience working with and vetting designers.

>> Check out our article on logo design cost to learn how much you should be paying.

However, if you’re bootstrapping your company and just starting out, you may not even have $300 to spend. That’s okay; online logo makers can help you out.

What is a logo maker?

Logo makers—sometimes called logo creators or logo generators—are simple-to-use, web-based applications that help you to create a logo in minutes. For some you input the name of your business, select an icon or font from a stock library and pick custom colors to match your brand. Others are more free-form, presenting you with a blank canvas and a set of icons and tools to build your own logo.

The pros and cons of using a logo maker

logo maker canvas
A logo maker canvas

Pros:

  • Logo makers are the least expensive option on the market to get a logo. Most are free to use, but many require you to pay to download the files if you actually want to use them. That cost is usually around $5-$50.
  • Logo makers are available 24/7, meaning you can get a logo exactly when you need it.
  • Logo makers are fast! You can have a completed logo in a matter of hours (or less, depending on your level of perfectionism).
  • Logo makers are getting more sophisticated and easier to use all the time.

Cons:

  • Logos created on logo makers are are generally generic-looking.
  • Logo creators require the user to have some design sensibilities; logos are generally clean, simple images and it can take a trained eye to figure out what’s “off” about something seemingly so uncomplicated.
  • Many other people are using the same logo makers, including your competitors. That means there are potentially hundreds of businesses out there with the same icon, font and or color combos representing their brand.

At the end of the day, logo generators are a cheap and effective method for getting a basic, stop-gap logo. Your result won’t be of the same quality as a logo designed by a professional designer, but sometimes budget or turn-around time is the most important thing! With that said, here’s how to get the most out of a logo creator:

Prep before you make: tips to get the best from a logo maker.

Before you jump in and get your hands dirty with logo makers, it’s wise to prepare a few thoughts on your logo so you can maximize your efficiency.

kangaroo mascot
Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Custom kangaroo mascot created by Hazel Anne in a logo design contest.

1. Name it

If you haven’t done so yet, a must-do step before creating your logo is naming your company. Not only will the name be an important driver for your logo choice, but also it will probably be featured in the logo design itself.

For instance, I named my recruiting analytics startup day100, because we help employers to get the long-term, “day 100” understanding of their job candidates, instead of the incomplete “day 1” view that they can get from resumes or interviews.

2. Consider your vision & mission

Secondly, take a moment to consider your company’s mission, vision and identity: who are you as a company, who do you serve, and what do you stand for? It helps to personify your company: are you exclusive or friendly, expensive or affordable, serious or fun?

3. Decide on the main elements of your visual identity

Once you have some thoughts on paper, consider how this personality would translate into visual elements, like color, shape, and logo type.

Taking again my company as an example, we settled on a bright orange as our main color. This emphasizes the approachable and human part of our product, as opposed to the more serious blue color that most companies in the HR technology space use.

We picked a triangle as be our icon shape, both for its simplicity and for its meaning. To us, a triangle represents the three parties that our platform brings together in the hiring process: employers, candidates, and the candidates’ connections. In my experiments below, I mostly use the triangle shape, but sometimes experiment with other, more complex shapes if I think they tell a good story.

Finally, we decided on combination logo—using both an icon and the company name in the logo—since this is a new venture and we want to build name recognition.

At day100 we worked with a team of freelance graphic designers to come up with the look-and-feel of our brand and web platform, including the company logo. Granted: the wide scope coupled with the limited budget made it so that we had to settle with one of the first iterations of the logo, instead of tweaking it enough to come up with a truly differentiated logo.

This is the logo that we came up with and still use to date:

day100 logo

There’s definitely room for improvement here, so I went ahead and tried 13 logo makers. Below, you will find an explanation of how each works and my own experience of redesigning the day100 logo, so you can have a good idea of what you’ll be getting out of each logo app.

Logo makers, compared

To give some order to the madness, I’ve rated the tools according to the following criteria:

  • Ease of use: measures how user-friendly and quick to create a logo the tool is, from Easy to Complex (90% fall in the Easy or Medium categories).
  • Customizability: measures how much you can customize the logo suggestions, e.g. by color, layout, size etc, from Low to High.
  • Cost: this measures how much it costs to download and use the logo you created, from 0 when it’s completely free to three-dollar signs as the most expensive option. $$$
  • End result: measures how much I love the logo I got—within the constraints of using a logo-maker—from 1 star to 4 stars. ★★★★

Here’s a quick summary of the results. Scroll down to learn more about why I gave each of these logo creators the ratings I did. (And to see examples of the logos I made with them!)

13 best logo makers online in 2017

Ease of use

Customizability

Cost

End result

TailorBrands

Medium

Medium

$$$

★★★½

 Canva

Easy

Low

Free

★★★

Logoshi

Easy

Medium

$$$

★★★

Ucraft

Easy

High

Free

★★½

Logo Genie

Easy

Medium

$$

★★

Logaster

Easy

Medium

$

★★½

Logojoy

Easy

Medium

$

★★

DesignMantic

Easy

Low

$$$

★★

SquareSpace

Easy

Low

$

★★

GraphicSprings

Easy

Medium

$$

★★

LogotypeMaker

Complex

High

$$

★★

Logo Garden

Easy

Low

Free

★½

Shopify

Easy

Low

Free

The best logo makers

1. TailorBrands

How it works

Pick your company name, describe your audience (e.g. “We are an organic shop in Williamsburg focused on a young, cool audience.”) then pick if you want an icon-based, text-based, or initials-based logo.

tailor brands describe your business
Tailor brands gathers information about your business to help customize your logo solutions.

When it comes to icons, you can select from a library (where the icons are pretty standard and not very exciting), or allow the service to create an abstract one for you. Next, the app will gauge your style by asking you to pick your favorites from a series of fonts. Ta-dah! A number of logos will be automatically generated for you. After you pick your favorite, you can edit the font and colors further using a simple but effective toolkit.

tailor brands app
Seeing multiple logo options in various “in situ” images really helps you picture what you’re getting.

Quality

TailorBrands day100 logo
TailorBrands day100 logo

The fun part about using this app is that when you edit the logo by switching the color or the font, each choice comes with a helpful explanation, e.g. it could describe your choice font as “subtly masculine” or “slick and sleek”, to help you pick something that truly embodies your brand.

Cost

TailorBrands day100 logo on tags

Monthly cost for use, priced at $3 month for the logo only, or $11 for additional marketing material (e.g. branded business deck). You can pay for one month and download everything, but you will be unable to make changes in the future.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Medium
  2. Customizability: Medium
  3. Price: $$$
  4. End result:★★★½

2. Canva

How it works:

Sign up (yep, required step), select your industry, then use their canvas interface to drag and drop elements, including layouts, icons, photos, text and background—quite a bit of customization!

canva logo maker
Everything in Canva is done in squares!

Quality

Canva day100 logo
Canva day100 logo

They’re all great design, but limited range of choice. The design aesthetics leans toward modern and hipster—not a fit for every business. Indeed, the categories include items like Band, Restaurants, Cafe, Fashion, Beauty, and fewer professional industries. If your business fits into those buckets, this is a great pick!

Cost

Completely free to download png file.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Low
  3. Price: 0
  4. End result:★★★

3. Logoshi

How it works:

There are two products: the standard logo maker and “draw your logo”.

For the standard option, simply type the company name and slogan, and select a color. It immediately creates logos for you, where you can then customize fonts, colors and spacing. It’s very fast, but the results aren’t impressive.

logoshi logos
Standard options from Logoshi

For the “draw your logo” option, you get to sketch or draw what you’d like your logo to look like, enter your business name and it automatically creates a much neater-looking version of that sketch for you in seconds. You then have the opportunity to fine tune the results to get exactly what you want.

logoshi draw your own logo
My great art turned into logo conceps

Quality

day100 Logoshi logo
Logoshi transformed my sketch into multiple neater renditions, which I refined to create an interesting end result.

Definitely go with the “draw your logo” option to get interesting and creative results. For instance, I tried sketching a funnel for the day100 logo (as an alternative visual to a triangle), and got some abstract visuals that I don’t think any other company would have.

Cost

To download, this will set you back $49 for a variety of high-definition formats.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Medium
  3. Price: $$$
  4. End result:★★★

These are the top 3 logo makers from the 15 that I tried, but I totally understand that in life you need options. So keep reading for more logo makers—and to make things easy for you, I’ve categorized them into the decent ones (who may meet your specific needs) and the ones to avoid.

Decent logo makers

4. Ucraft

How it works:

Ucraft presents you with a blank canvas where you can drag and drop icons, text and shapes to create your custom logo. You’re able to search for specific terms, and there are lots of simple options to choose from.

ucraft logo maker
Look at all those triangles options!

Quality

day100 Ucraft logo
I ended up breaking the triangle mold for this one!

The icons are generally abstract and cartoonish style, which may not work for everyone. The app claims to have more than 200k icons, which is great for finding exactly what you want!

Cost

Free!

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: High
  3. Price: 0
  4. End result:★★½

5. Logo Genie

How it works:

Type in the company name, select the industry from the limited options, and then browse the many logos generated with your company name. Once you pick your favorite, you can edit it further by customizing color, orientation, gradient etc.

Flat design options, but generic images

Quality

logogenie logo
Logo Genie day 100 logo

The icons generated are cool and some have a modern minimal design, though many of them are fairly generic. My final logo is acceptable, but there’s little wow factor.

Cost

Pay to download the logo in various formats, starting from $30.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Medium
  3. Price: $$
  4. End result:★★

6. Logaster

How it works:

Logaster’s maker involves a logo-creation wizard that guides you through a series of steps, indicating company name, selecting an industry and choosing a logo concept among the hundreds available. You are then able to edit the layout, colors and fonts of the logo.

logaster logo creation wizard
Logaster has lots of options if you’re into the clip-art aesthetic

Quality

day100 Logaster logo
Logaster day100 logo

The designs were fine, but nothing impressive or modern enough for a startup seeking to shake things up.

Cost

You can download the small-size for free, and large size for $10.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Medium
  3. Price: 0 or $
  4. End result:★★½

7. Logojoy

How it works:

Logojoy uses AI to help understand your business before generating logos for you. From 20+ logo inspirations displayed, you’re asked to pick the 5 that you like best. Then you can pick a color palette, and include any special symbols (like a triangle), and that’s it! The app will work its magic and show you some logo ideas, which you can then customize further with different fonts, colors and layouts.

logojoy logo maker options
Logojoy options

Quality

day100 Logojoy logo
Logojoy gave me a cool (but not very readable) font

Although the concept was cool, the results were a little bland and disappointing. The icon choice was limited to the basics. I was able to get a cool-looking logo simply because of the interesting, albeit not very readable (and therefore not advised), font choice.

Cost

Downloading the logo will set you back $20.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Medium
  3. Price: $
  4. End result:★★

8. DesignMantic

How it works:

DesignMantic guides your logo making process with 4 simple steps. First, select logo type among abstract, symbol and lettermark; second, select font type among serif, sans serif and script; third, select number of colors for the logo; and fourth, indicate name and industry (props for having an “Employment and HR” industry category!) You will then be presented with a number of logos, which you can further edit.

logo maker font selection
A step-by-step walkthrough

Quality

day100 DesignMantic logo
I broke with triangles for this DesignMantic day100 logo

On the bright side, the icons are more intricate and less basic than those of most logo-making apps; however, the icons look dated and you have to really dig to find a good one. The resulting logo that I created therefore lacks in modernity, though the blend of the torch with the tie icon creates an interesting visual that is quite apt for my company’s mission.

Cost

Pricing starts from $37 for the basic logo, and goes up to $197 for a complete branding solution (with social media cover designs, matching business cards, etc.)

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Low
  3. Price: $$$
  4. End result:★★

9. SquareSpace

How it works:

Type your company name, search for a symbol, edit the typeface, colors, sizes and layouts, and you’re done!

SquareSpace Logo Maker
SquareSpace offers a simple logo maker

Quality

day100 SquareSpace logo
My day100 logo from SquareSpace

One of the simplest platforms to use with its clean user interface, though it doesn’t offer many icon options. Because so many entrepreneurs use SquareSpace, there is a high risk of ending up with the same logo as other companies.

Cost

Free to download low-rez option, or $10 for a high-rez one (free for SquareSpace customers)

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Low
  3. Price: 0 or $
  4. End result:★★

10. GraphicSprings

How it works:

After entering your business name and (optional) tagline, you can browse a directory of vector-format logo templates. Finally, you can edit the graphic and color, customizing the logo further.

logo maker canvas
The GraphicSprings canvas

Quality

day100 GraphicSprings logo
My GraphicSprings day100 logo

On the bright side, icons are organized by industry categories, making it easier to identify the right-fit ones. However, many of the images look clip-arty, leading to a just-okay logo.

Cost

You can download the JPEG for $20, and if you want more format options (like PNG), the price hikes up to $40.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Medium
  3. Price: $$
  4. End result:★★

11. LogotypeMaker

How it works:

Type your company name, and it will automatically generate logos for you. Select an industry-based category to personalize the results, and once you pick a logo, you can customize it further with fonts, colors and layouts.

I’m pretty sure these logos are clip-art renderings of what people in the 90s thought “The Internet” looked like.

Quality

I went simple and got a pretty solid day100 logo from LogotypeMaker

There are a lot of options when it comes to icons, but most look quite dated, resulting in an unimpressive logo. Additionally, while the interface allows for complex customization, it is unintuitive and unnecessarily complex.

Cost

It’s free to download a JPEG and PNG, or you can pay $40 for more format options.

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Complex
  2. Customizability: High
  3. Price: 0 or $$
  4. End result:★★

Logo makers to avoid

12. Logo Garden

How it works:

Logo Garden offers you a gridded canvas where you use the toolbar to pick any icon (categorized by industry) and text to create your own logo.

LogoGarden logo maker
Is that the At&T logo? Not a whole lot of unique options from LogoGarden

Quality

day100 Logo Garden logo
My Logo Garden day100 logo

The icons are very clip-arty and uninspiring, and customizability is limited, resulting in a below-average logo.

Cost

Free!

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Low
  3. Price: 0
  4. End result: ★½

13. Shopify

How it works:

Shopify offers you a canvas where you can pick your company name, an icon and change the layout freely.

shopify logo maker
Well, you do have the option for a poop logo, so there’s that.

Quality

day100 Shopify logo
day100 Shopify logo maker experiment

This is a pretty basic tool with a very limited icon selection. (And frankly, most of the icons are more like emoji than logo icons.) Additionally, it offers no ability to filter icons: you have to keep pressing “load more” to see more options. Not exactly user-friendly

Cost

Free!

Ratings

  1. Ease of use: Easy
  2. Customizability: Low
  3. Price: 0
  4. End result: ★

Is a logo maker right for you?

By now, you should hopefully have better expectations of the quality, cost and process of using an online logo maker. For the budget-conscious bootstrappers, this may be a good starting point to create your first logo—so go ahead and play with your favorites from the list! (Don’t forget that when you’re ready to upgrade, you can launch a 99designs contest to get your logo to the next level.)

For other entrepreneurs, online logo makers may not cut it, as the limitations in quality and differentiation are visible. In that case, don’t forget that you have other budget-friendly options, such as working with a freelancer or launching a 99designs contest.

Good luck!

What are the pros and cons of using a logo generator vs running a design contest or working with a freelancer? Check out our article on the best way to create a logo.