AI is the new *new* tech thing at the moment. While the topic of artificial intelligence still requires significant discussion about the ethics of intellectual property, it’s still a technology worth understanding; especially since tech' is our bread and butter here at MQ.
In this post, we’re going to explore the steps to design a logo, while leveraging Artificial Intelligence to expedite the creation process. This will include a break down of our approach to building different logo ideas, icons and graphic treatments in AI to get a broader range of generated outcomes.
We’ll also share some helpful prompts for AI logo generation, and cover how A.I. programs like Midjourney, ChatGPT, and DALL•E are likely to be game changers in the future of brand identity design and logo creation.
Getting Started: Fragment Ideas to Build a Logo and Brand Identity with AI, like ChatGPT
You could hop into Midjourney and start plugging away at prompts to create logos. If that's what you're interested in, scroll down to step 3 and skip the next bit. However, if you hope to achieve specific outcomes you’ll need to get creative with your prompts.
AI can improve our logo creation process by helping us brainstorm more effectively and by removing some of our own cognitive bias in the process.
To begin, let's first delve into idea generation. This crucial step will lay the groundwork for developing prompts further down the line. By establishing a strong brand identity and creating a formula for image generation, we can produce a wider variety of potential logos. Using these ideas as prompts, we can then combine them in unique ways to produce logos that are distinct in style and design.
Step 1. Start With a Brand or Create a New One
Enlisting AI can help us create a design brief and brand name for our logo
a. Create a random design brief with AI: If we wanted to explore a new brand, we could go to GoodBrief and generate a random design brief, and in that case we'd need a name...
b. Create a new brand name with AI: there are AI tools like NameLix that could help us come up with new names. This product is a 2-in-1 tool because it helps with naming and exploring different font treatments for the logo. Alternatively, we could go to ChatGPT and ask it to give us some suggestions for brand names based on our design brief. If you're coming up with a new brand name, this process requires more extensive effort like checking for trademark and copyright infringements.
The Brand We'll Use: SokoLocal.
For the sake of this article and evaluation, we’re going to use an in-house brand that we've created a few years back, called SokoLocal. This brand already has a logo, but let's leverage AI to explore new options.
About the Brand We're Making a Logo For: SokoLocal
“Launched in 2021 during the pandemic, SokoLocal is a search engine combined with an online marketplace that organizes stores and their products at a local level. SokoLocal gives users the ability to search for products in their city, making it easier to buy from and support local businesses. Created to compete against brands like Amazon (that were taking an increasing share of the local retail economy), SokoLocal offers consumers an alternative way to shop for products in their own community.
Version 1 of the SokoLocal branding used the colours orange and blue to represent optimism, energy, and innovation, and the brand is focused on community, convenience, and empowering small businesses. The logo uses a combination mark logo style that brings together a storefront awning with the word “Soko” (which means “market” in Swahili)."
Let’s see what AI can do for SokoLocal…
Step 2. Create Brand Identity Words, Visual Ideas and Colours with AI
To create a logo, we need a few iconic/image representations that represent the brand and can be used symbolically in the logo. Obvious examples for SokoLocal might include a store, a magnifying glass (search icon), a shopping bag, cart (eCommerce), or a location pin (map/nearby); but, let’s get AI to help us generate more visual ideas that we might use in the logo.
Ask ChatGPT for symbolic representations of our brand:
ChatGPT Output: magnifying glass, shopping cart, barcode, credit card, package, computer screen, smartphone, location pin, star rating, lightbulb.
Let’s put a pin in those visual ideas and come back to them later when we start generating logo composites. For now let's explore colour and mood…
Brand Mood & Colour Creation
To create a logo that represents our brand, we want to incorporate the emotional vibe, style and brand colours. There are many technical components to colour theory, typography, and branding, but we're skipping the theory and leaning on AI instead.
Ask ChatGPT for brand words with two questions:
1. “What would 5 good brand words be to define a community-focused mall, with lots of local shops and stores?”
2. “What would 5 good brand words be to define an innovative online search engine for online shopping?”
Output words: innovative, efficient, convenient, personalized, trusted, community, local, vibrant, authentic, connected.
Create Brand Colours Based on Brand Words, with AI
Now let’s take three of the ten words that best describe our brand and correlate those to colours. We'll use "innovation", "community" and "authenticity."
Ask ChatGPT for colours that represent our brand words
Output: blue, green, brown
Now let's test colour swatches - with the help of Midjourney AI
“/imagine prompt: a brand colour palate for a modern online store and search engine that incorporates the colors blue, green, brown” and/or
“/imagine prompt: a brand colour palate for an online store and search engine that incorporates blue, orange, and navy”
Midjourney Outputs for Colour Swatches
Better prompts equal better outputs: You can get better examples of applied swatches by using a prompt that applies the colour selection to a site design. We used variations of "beautiful search engine website design | CSS style guide | UX UI design | search website | shopping website | in the colours of [the colours we want to test]" to get the following:
Example of colour swatch variants
|Green, Blue, Brown |
|"blue, green and brown"||"navy blue, green and brown"||"sky blue, mint green and brown"|
|Orange & Blue|
|"blue and atomic tangerine"||"blue and burnt orange"||"blue and peach"|
Note about colours in Midjourney: At the time we published this article, the AI image generator didn't accept hexcode prompts for specific colours. If you want to include colours in prompts, you’ll get better results if you use very specific common colour names. For example, consider "orange” vs. the many variants of orange like burnt orange, atomic tangerine, apricot, melon orange, saffron, etc. Your ability to define the difference between colour names like “lime green” vs. “chartreuse” will help you get more precise outputs (and if you're not sure, you can turn to Google for help by searching, “shades of ____[your chosen color]” or even searching the hex code and looking for the names attached to the results).
Now that we have image ideas, brand words, and colours, let's have some fun and start creating logos.
Step 3. Logo Designs with AI: Midjourney or DALL·E - using OpenAI
When creating a prompt in AI programs like Midjourney or Dall•E, you’ll find it helpful to apply a general formula to focus your results. If you just type, “logo for search engine”, you’ll get results. However, if you want specific logo styles, colours, or even applications on different media, refining your prompts can go a long way to build something unique. Later, we’ll even cover how you can combine outputs either using AI or Photoshop.
General prompt formula:
[subject] [topic] [task], [style] [color] [background]
Simple Prompts for Logo creation
Here are some simple AI prompts that can get you started with good results. After, we’ll explore logo styles and visual variations that you can use to refine your prompts and results. It's also helpful to include the subject and topic of your business when prompting, though it's not always necessary. Repeating words such as "Logo logo logo" within a prompt has also shown to improve results in some cases.
AI Logo Prompts
- logo vector simple modern 2d
- logo icon logo mark logo design
- wordmark logo no icon flat
- mascot sports logo style flat
- emblem vector logo in clean minimalist style
Basic logo - AI Prompt:
/imagine: "ecommerce store logo vector simple modern 2d" - and the output is:
Note: without some specific prompts applied to filter the style, the outputs aren’t very specific or unique to the design brief. However, simple prompts may still be good enough to give us some new stylistic ideas.
Basic logo prompts with specificity for colour and background
Now we're going to focus our prompts and apply brand colours while removing noise
|ecommerce store logo vector simple modern 2d, blue and orange on white background|
|ecommerce store logo icon logo mark logo design, blue and orange on white background|
|ecommerce store wordmark logo no icon flat, blue and orange on white background|
|ecommerce store mascot sports logo style flat, blue and orange on white background|
|ecommerce store emblem vector logo in clean minimalist style, blue and orange on white background|
Logo AI Prompt Refinements
You can add specific adjustments to your prompt to get desired outcomes. Just beware that some functionality (like version, weighting, and quality) are sometimes in and out of feature depending on the current version of Midjourney:
- Background: "white background", "completely white background" or "no background"
- Simplify the design: Basic, low detail, smooth, flat
- Add text to the logo: Brand named “Name” (though it rarely gets the text exact)
Prompts to Create Different Logo Styles:
These are the primary logo types or styles that you can include in your prompts to generate specific logo outcomes:
- Wordmark or typographic (like Disney, Coca-Cola, Subway, or Google’s logos)
- Lettermark or monograms (like IBM, LG or HP)
- Letterform or one letter (like WordPress, McDonalds or Beats)
- Abstract mark or abstract icon (like Pepsi, Nike, or Microsoft)
- Mascot or sports logo (like Pringles, Cheetos, or KFC)
- Illustrative (like Starbucks, NBA, or Nestle)
- Pictorial mark or Iconic/brand marks (like Target, Apple, or Twitter)
- Emblem logo (like Porsche, Starbucks, or most Universities)
- Combination marks (like Mobility Quotient, Amazon, Burger King, or Doritos)
Example Logos Generated with these AI prompts:
|wordmark logo for retail shop in orange and blue on white background, "SokoLocal"|
|lettermark logo for retail shop in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"|
|emblem logo for online store in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"|
|combination mark logo for online store in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"|
|abstract mark logo for online shop in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"|
|sports logo for online shop in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"|
eSports logo of shopping cart for online shop in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"
|mascot logo of online shop in orange and blue on white background, "SL", "SokoLocal"|
|More specific: |
"SokoLocal", mascot logo of shopping cart for online shop in orange and blue on white background, "SL"
Prompts for Visual Variation
A lot of those outputs still seem pretty abstract and may not fit the vision you had in mind for the logo. You can add additional variations and refinements to the above prompts for even better results. Adding sub-queries for things like your brand images, brand emotions, or brand words can help produce focused outputs that could be later combined. You can also exclude ideas if you're finding concepts are weighted too heavily toward one idea.
Additional AI Prompts You Could Include for Better Logo Designs:
- Subject variations: examples for our test case - shopping cart, location pin, map, etc
- Concept styles: price tag, sale sign, promotion, burst, 3D
- Art styles: Graffiti, sketch, painted, marker, comic, eSports
- Tone or mood variants: elegant, professional, fun, luxury, casual, approachable
- Texture & light styles: Juicy, wet, icy, fiery, rocky, electric, neon, metallic, moody, high-contrast
- Exclusions: you can remove concepts by including "--no [the thing you want to exclude]"; ex. --no circles
- Weightings: you can sway the output in favour of ideas by weighting them in the prompt. The default weight for all is 1. Negative weighting works as an exclusion. A weight over 1 gives favour to the higher value.
See weighting example:
Applying Variations Within Prompts
|storefront logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background|
|storefront awnings logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background|
|storefront awnings logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background, "SokoLocal"|
|abstract shopping bag logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background|
|abstract shopping cart logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background|
|shopping logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background|
|awning abstract logo vector simple modern 2d blue and orange on white background|
|graffiti style logo for shopping brand "SokoLocal", in orange and blue on white background|
|ice logo for shopping brand "SokoLocal", in orange and blue on white background|
|wordmark "SokoLocal" in navy blue on white background|
|"SokoLocal" wordmark navy blue, on white background|
Now that we have a package of prompts and outputs, we can take the logo a step further and combine them using AI. We can either mash them together using AI (and adjust the weight of either input) or photoshop concepts together.
Combining AI Ideas for More Options
Option 1: Combine previous image outputs and blend concepts together
This tends to result in variable quality outputs. Often it doesn't combine the concepts, but instead blends them. You won't get a logo that is "A + B", but more "A*B." To do this, upload your images to a website or directly into Discord, copy the URL of each image and in the prompt, simply enter the URL of the two images with a space between. Midjourney AI will combine the concepts:
Midjourney image combination example
<IMG URL 1> <IMG URL 2>
Option 2: Combine images in Adobe Photoshop
Now that we’ve gone through the process of generating dozens of composites, we'll need to narrow down our favourites. Then present to stakeholders or clients and incorporate their feedback. This could mean taking a single idea further giving it detail and crystallizing the concept or generating more images based on the ideas provided in the review. Once a final logo concept is decided upon, it needs to be created as a final logo product.
Step 4. Complete the Logo Files: Vectorizing Assets in Adobe Illustrator
We create logos as a final vector file because they scale non-destructively, meaning they can be transformed both up and down in size without looking blurry or pixilated. Vector files also allow us to use the logo on a range of canvases from giant billboards and t-shirts to small icons for our website.
The files produced from AI are raster graphics (pixel-based images) that will become blurry or pixelated if scaled past their maximum resolution. AI also isn’t perfect, so you should infuse improvements, touchups and adjustments to make it more original.
There are a few explorations of AI vectorization tools, but their results are so so. One of the better ones we tried was Vector Magic, but you can likely get better results in Adobe Illustrator using the Image Trace function.
Basic Steps to Convert an AI-Generated Image to a Final Vector Logo:
If you're familiar with Adobe Illustrator, you can vectorize the logo yourself by redrawing the parts or by tracing them. You could instead hire a designer to handle this process for you, but again...it's unlikely that you'll be able to use a concept directly from AI without "fixing" it and making it more original to your brand—these are just concepts after all. It would also be a good idea to create a brand guidelines document to ensure the logo is used consistently as your brand grows.
Additional Notes Regarding Logo Creation
- Logo variants (and create them if applicable): Complex logos should "degrade" responsively so the brand is still readable at small sizes. Some brands create a "responsive logo" set which is comprised of 3-5 individual files; one that works as a very small icon, another that works to communicate the brand name, and one that's the most lavish and is used when there is lots of visual space. A good example is how McDonald's "M" is as recognizable as the full logo.
- Final exported logos: in an array of formats (jpg, png, svg, eps) and in any variations deemed necessary. Standards include: full colour, inverse colour for dark backgrounds, all white, all black, etc.
- Applied logos swatch: this is a visual document that shows the logo variant usage across a range of applications, it's good to have as part of your logo package to show the baseline application on different backgrounds.
- Logo Package: of the various sizes, formats, colours, languages and source files; packaged and saved with the brand guidelines to ensure consistent on-brand application in the future.
Final Logo Comparison
Alternative Step: use an "AI logo generator" instead (skipping all of the above steps)
The process we just covered is a bit complicated, but it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. But, let's say you're not a designer and you just want some speedy logo concepts (without the headache of creating them yourself), then you can turn to an "AI Logo Generator." They streamline the whole thing by collecting some details about your brand (like the name and tagline), then cranking out a bunch of logo options for you to choose from and buy.
The AI logo generators we checked out seemed to stick to a pretty basic formula. You just enter some key details (like the name, tagline, and color), and then the program spits out a bunch of options by randomly mixing up different fonts and icons. But, they don't really "create new" in the same way that Midjourney and ChatGPT AI programs do. Instead, they take a more systematic approach to generating ideas (which is still useful if all you need is a fast and functional logo). The good thing about these generators is that they give you a final vector logo, once you've paid.
Here are a few we found and tested:
Next Steps: Our Prediction for Logo Design Trends
AI is exciting and seems remarkable in its ability to transform how we leverage technology to do more. The application of AI on logo design alone barely scratches the surface of its potential, and already there are people utilizing AI in marketing, content writing (ranging from social posts to web-copy), interface design, development, and problem summarization.
We feel the impact of A.I. tools on the logo design process has the potential to create a future trend of more complex and responsive logos—stepping away from the minimalist logo styles we see overused today. Flat, 2D, simple designs worked for decades, but as more brands and businesses are born, it has become harder to stay identifiable within a minimalist style.
AI allows designers to flex creativity and push boundaries within their own stylistic box. It also helps them infuse more detail into their design process, while breaking free from creative blocks, giving them better feedback and direction as an idea is developed from a concept.
Designers can now create multiple detailed logo explorations in minutes, a task that historically took hours or days to complete just a single idea. AI not only helps designers to identify what works and what doesn't, but also enables them to produce artistic pieces with reduced risk of client rejection. By isolating ideas, designers can invest more time in refining the final logo, while simultaneously working towards developing simpler, responsive logo sets that are versatile across a range of applications.
What About Risks?
AI development is still in it's infancy and the products are sometimes volatile. Occasionally servers are down, or functionality is different than expected. There are also IP considerations and active lawsuits being pursued, which will inevitably shape the future and functions of AI software.
For now, we'll continue to play with AI and leverage this technology to push our products and services even further.