How to Turn a Hand-Drawn Logo Into a Digital File

Are you wondering how to turn a hand-drawn sketch into a digital logo, but don’t know where to start? With all the options for creating graphics with a computer, many people are still more comfortable drawing their logo ideas physically. They appreciate having that control when creating a representation of their brand. The only problem then is turning that logo into an image that can actually be used online and for marketing purposes.

Luckily, digitizing that image isn’t impossible. While it is a multi-step process, there’s nothing about it that requires computer skills beyond what most people can manage. Instead, it’s simply about having a guide to take you through the process. 

Keep reading to learn how to turn a drawing into a logo.

Raster vs Vector Images

The simplest way to turn a drawing into a digital image would be to take a picture of it. You’d still need to crop out the surrounding area, but you’d have an otherwise serviceable digital image, right?

Not quite. Digital pictures are known as raster images. That means that they are defined by pixels, each containing a piece of information about the overall picture. For example, in a picture of a skyline, the pixels making up the sky are blue, the pixels making up the sun are yellow, and so on.

Raster images work really well for complex images. They can accurately display complex images at defined sizes. The drawback is that changing the size of the pixels changes the clarity of the image. Trying to turn a small raster image into a large one will result in a blurry, unusable picture.

vector image, on the other hand, is defined by paths. These paths stay the same shape no matter what size they’re made. That means the same image can be made any size and still present the same. While this process isn’t as effective at handling all the information that something like a camera picture contains, it’s perfect for simpler objects like logos. It allows you to resize the same logo to meet whatever your display needs are, whether it’s for a business card, corporate banner, or webpage logo.

How to Digitize a Logo

So, how do you convert a hand-drawn logo to a vector image? At this point, it’s not even a raster image, but a physical property.

Step One: Finalize Your Drawing

Before digitizing your logo, make sure that it’s as finished as you can get it. Your focus here is contrast. You want the logo to stick out from the rest of the page as much as possible. This will make the conversion process much easier if you put in the effort now. Thick black markers are great for filling in spaces and rulers will help keep the edges sharp.

Step Two: Digitize Your Logo

The best way to get your logo from the page to the screen is with a scanner. Set it for the highest resolution that you can. Even if the setting is higher than you may need, it’s better to have the option to scale down if needed. If you can at too low a resolution, you’re limited with what you can do. Aim for a resolution of 600 dpi (dots per inch.)

If you don’t have access to a scanner, a picture with a digital camera will work. However, things such as lighting and page creases can have a negative effect on your logo, so it’s not recommended except as a last resort.

Step Three: Open Your Software

Now that you have a digital copy of your logo, you can bring open it up in your editing software. Photoshop is the most common photo editor, but there are many free alternatives. The process is the same no matter which program you use.

Before you learn how to turn your drawing into a vector, there are a few tweaks to make first. Start by converting the image to black and white, then increase the contrast to really make the logo pop. Brightness and exposure can also help increase contrast. Use the brush and eraser tools to clear up any stray lines or to darken any spaces.

Step Four: Isolate Your Logo

Once you’re satisfied with your adjustments, it’s time to separate the logo from the background of your image. This process can vary between different software.

In Photoshop and similar software, you have an option called paths. These paths can be used to trace your image and can be tweaked in many ways. With each program offering a slightly different approach to doing this, it’s worth spending some time playing around with the different options to get the result you want.

Once you’ve traced all your paths you’ll have an option to Make Work Path (as it’s called in Photoshop) which closes off each selection. You can then export the file into your preferred format.

Adobe Illustrator offers a quicker solution. It offers an Image Trace command that automatically detects and creates paths around your logo. Again, playing with the different settings allows you to fine-tune your conversion.

Step Five: Export Your File

Once you have your vector paths created, you can now export your logo into an easy-to-use image file. This file can be changed to any size without altering the clarity of the logo, making it a practical way to brand just about anything. Simply open it up in your photo editor and export a version to the size you need. Use it for your social media logos and thumbnails, as well as any other marketing purposes.

How to Turn a Drawing Into a Logo: Final Thoughts

Being able to take your ideas and convert them into workable products is incredibly empowering. Knowing how to turn a drawing into a logo is a skill that has many applications. This same process can be used for any simple physical image that you want to digitize.

If you need a logo for your business and don’t know where to start, let us know. Our team is on-hand to help you get the branding your company deserves.

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