How to Design a Modern Logo: Adobe Illustrator Vs. Corel Draw

The Basics: What You Want From Your Logo

Are you ready to unleash your business on the world? Unless you have all the important parts settled, the answer is going to be no. One of those vital component parts includes a logo design your company can live with - and thrive with.

A well-designed logo can send a message to your potential clients. According to the Logo Design Workbook: A Hands-On Guide to Creating Logos, "Our task, as designers, is to take the commonplace - letterforms, geometric shapes, and images - and make them distinctive and meaningful." By doing that, a logo can truly become "a vital component in a company's success."

Of course, creating a logo can mean a great deal of work, and an even greater amount of thought. Fortunately, there are tons of tools out there to make it easier to put together a great modern logo. We're going to explore two of them today: Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. This article aims to explore how these two programs can help you to design the logo of your dreams.

Some things you want to have in mind before you fire up your Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw - or both, if you want to do a comparison trial of your own - include the type of logo you're looking for, the color scheme you want, and what you want your logo to say about your company. It's always a good idea to do some rough sketches beforehand, and maybe even turn to already-existing logos to see what works, why it works, and why you like it. Or even if you like it. Just because a logo is successful doesn't mean it's something you would choose for yourself or your own company. Design is in the eye of the beholder.

But never mind that. What you want is something that truly speaks to your aesthetic.

Modern Design Trends

Of course, people's ideas of what constitutes an "aesthetic" differ widely. Part of what contributes to that is whatever happens to be trending currently - which also differs widely. Are you looking for a logo that's truly "modern," something on-trend but not overdone? That doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to end up with something slick and shiny.

It doesn't necessarily mean you won't, either.

According to an article on mashable.com some of the most popular logo design trends in modern day include the following:

Not only are many new logos being created to be as simple as possible, but some older companies are actually having their logos re-designed, broken down into simpler versions of themselves while keeping the core. This makes sense, since the fewer elements contained in a logo, the easier it is to reproduce, and the easier it is to remember.

Also called font based, wordmark, or lettermark, depending on what elements the logo actually uses, this type of logo keeps it as simple as possible: make the name of the business the actual logo. A great deal of thought goes into the font chosen for a typographic logo, since that font often becomes instantly recognizable as being associated with that company - think Disney, for example.

But don't let the mention of Disney throw you. Just because this design trend has been around for a while doesn't mean that it isn't still on-trend for today. It's easy to find examples of wordmark and lettermark logos, especially for internet-based companies.

Famous Typographic Logos


An on-trend aesthetic choice not only for logos but also for use throughout branding, badges are easy to create and endlessly customizable. They run the gamut from vintage to extremely sleek and modern, depending on the type and quantity of features you add to them. The term "badges" can apply both to button-like images and to a more "classic" badge shape that evokes Boy Scouts. Can a classic design be counted as modern? According to medium.com, our "appreciation for vintage style logo design is at the peak." This style is a perennial favorite and can be found in a wide variety of venues, both online and off. Even though these designs are created as vector images, they can often have a nice letterpress feel to them that gives them a unique aesthetic advantage.

Badge Logos

So, to start our comparison of Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw and how they can be used to create a modern logo, let's look at some of the possibilities. We're going to use a badge logo as an example.

Using Adobe Illustrator

There are tons of how to articles and videos on using Adobe Illustrator to its full potential. One of these easy-to-follow videos is by DesignTuts on YouTube, and it walks you through the process of creating a badge for use as a logo.

Let's take a look at a brief breakdown of a step by step process for creating a badge logo for your company, using Adobe Illustrator.

Open up a blank file. You will want to have your color swatches decided upon. You can keep those close to hand for ease of access as you go through the process.

Create a shape, using the tools on the left hand side toolbar. Remember that you aren't limited to the ones that are available in Illustrator. You can combine multiple options and flatten them to make one, giving you a smooth, unique silhouette. Or you can rotate or off-set them. Hexagons and circles are popular base shapes for badges. Keep the lines sharp, or smooth the edges. Take a few minutes to play around with the different options, until you find something that you like

For a layered badge, you can add another of the same shape or a different one. Whatever your choice, make it slightly smaller, and overlay it on top of your original shape. To create a border, use the path tool and "offset path," then color the outside border differently so it stands out. You can also bisect or intersect your basic shape by using secondary shapes of the same color as your border. This gives you a nice background area for your typography. Secondary shapes can also be layered and cloned, and used to give a gradient to the logo.

You may choose to use another, simplified image layered on top of the badge, or just text. If you want to create your own simple shape on top of the badge, the "draw" tool can help you with that, or you can turn to resources such as vector images found in online graphic design marketplaces.

Since these shapes are easy to work with and can be changed around quickly, save several different versions along the way so you can go back to an older design in case you take a turn you don't like.

When you've finished with that version, make sure you group all the elements of your logo, so they don't separate when you want to move or reposition it.

Ultimately, here's how this one turned out:

Using Corel Draw

There are, of course, a number of tutorials for using Corel Draw, as well as Adobe Illustrator. There do seem to be more for Illustrator, though an accurate count is difficult to get. This video is on top of the "vintage-modern" trend, giving a breakdown of creating a retro badge.

The same basics apply for setting up your workspace in Corel Draw. Start with a new file, and select the shape of your choice from the "hape" tool found in the left-hand toolbar.


The angles and curves of the lines can be adjusted with the path tool at the top of the toolbar. Depending on how much customization of the shape you want, you can take some time with the options this presents.

Again, secondary shapes can be overlaid as desired, depending on what you want your design to look like.

Using multiple secondary shapes, one nested into the other, can give you a nice outline to your inner layer. You can also play around with the lines, making them thicker or thinner, dotted or dashed.

When overlaying the text, if you want a curved look, you can use "fit text to path" in order to make the text follow along the inner lines.

Simple banners overlaid on the badges are also a classic look that is a modern trend.

All in all, Corel Draw offers a lot of the same features for this type of graphic design that Adobe Illustrator does, just with a variety in the buttons.

Conclusion

As demonstrated by the processes discussed, and as evidenced by the vast number of tutorials for both Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw, both programs can be very simple to use in creating the modern logo you've been dreaming of. Very simple - as long as you want them to be very simple. The logos discussed here are very basic, but there are always more options. The more you step up your design game, the more the programs have to offer. The point is to remember what message you want your logo to send potential customers and clients.

Corel Draw tends to be a little faster when it comes to loading options and images, but many designers prefer Adobe Illustrator for the more user-friendly interface it offers, as well as being an industry standard. However, ultimately, which program you use for designing your logo may very well depend only on which one you are more comfortable with.