Professional graphic designers will scoff.
The Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator expert will knock it down.
Even GIMP will wonder – why not me? I am free. But when you don’t belong to the creative tribe, then you take whatever tools you need to design a logo in an emergency. Microsoft Word isn’t the first choice for drawing eye-catching logos. It doesn’t have the credentials to merit a place in a lineup of logo design software. But can it gatecrash? Let’s take a risk.
Why Pick Microsoft Word to Design a Logo?
Microsoft Office is a productivity suite and not a creative unit of tools. Microsoft PowerPoint would be my tool of choice if somebody holds a gun to my head. But before we dismiss Microsoft Word outright, consider these five factors in its favor:
- Is commonplace and easier to learn.
- Has multifaceted tools that work with both text and images.
- Allows you to use the document page as a canvas to drag and drop Shapes, SmartArt, and Icons.
- Can merge text and images and combine everything into one image.
- Documents can reuse the logo directly in a page or letterhead.
Key Microsoft Word 2016 Features for Logo Design
I won’t go into the details of all the graphic drawing features Microsoft Word 2016 brings to the table. But the brief descriptions and the linked help pages should help you if you get confounded. There is also the helpful Office assistant called “Tell me what you what you want to do” on the Ribbon that works as a pathfinder.
Stay with the basic rules of graphic design and stretch Microsoft Word to its limits.
Here are some essential tools you will find on the Ribbon. Do note that some features may be available with the latest updates on an Office 365 subscription.
- The Icon Library.
- Insert WordArt or Clip Art to your design.
- The Shapes gallery with presets, files, outline, and effects.
- Insert and edit Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files in Word 2016.
- Gridlines and The Ruler.
Shape recognition that converts hand drawing with ink into a perfect shape (only on a touch enabled device with Office 365).
You will find most of the tools and effects on the Drawing Toolbar which is automatically displayed with any drawing object in the document.
Let’s Draw a Simple Logo
This is a simple logo we are aiming for. I borrowed this simple graphic from Shutterstock. Most of the objects in the vector graphic below can be duplicated in Microsoft Word. Maybe, not exactly…but close enough to demonstrate the Word can try hard enough!
Open a new document. Go to the View tab, and then check the Gridlines box. With the grids, you can align shapes and other objects in your Word documents. The grids can only be viewed in the Print view. But rest assured – they cannot be printed.
Turn on the Object Snapping option. Click the picture or object. In the Graphic Tools tab, click on Align > Grid Settings. Enable both the highlighted settings below for better alignments of the graphics in the logo.
Snap objects to other objects. Check this box to make a shape or object align with other shapes or objects.
Snap objects to grid when the gridlines are not displayed. Align shapes or objects to the closest intersection of the grid even when the grid is not visible.
You can press the ALT key to override the previous settings temporarily when you drag a shape or object.
The above settings prepare our document for the first shape or object we are about to insert. We are going to use fonts and basic shapes. We are going to use some of the same techniques covered when we made a flowchart in Microsoft Word 2013 by aligning and formatting different shapes. The logo is going to be a bit more artistic to the eye than the business-like flowchart.
1. Insert a shape to use as the background of your logo.
Go to Insert > Shapes and select the Rectangle shape. Hold SHIFT to draw a perfect square on the Word document that is now your canvas.
Change the color of the canvas. Double-click on the shape to display the Drawing Tools > Shape Styles group on the Ribbon. Here, I used a Shape Fill with a choice of a color and set the Shape Outline to “No Outline”.
You can also right-click the shape and choose Format Shape. Now, you have more powerful controls that allow you to fine-tune the look of the shape. For example – if you want to use a gradient instead of a solid fill. For simple logos, a solid fill is preferable to a gradient.
You can also leave the background for the last part of the design. This helps you use the grid instead of obscuring it with the colored fill of the background.
2. Use more than one shape to make a compound shape.
In an earlier How to Make an Infographic for Free with PowerPoint tutorial, we had seen how to combine simple shapes to create more complex shapes. We use the same methods here to create the outer hexagonal graphic and the anchor in the middle. Shapes are limited in their scope but the imagination isn’t – so you can create a lot of different shapes with the basic line, circle, and rectangle.
Let’s try with the available Triangle and Rectangle shapes.
Select and drag a rectangle shape on the background square of the logo. If you have to draw a square, you can hold down the SHIFT key to make all the four sides equal. Then draw a triangle to construct the top two and bottom two sides of the hexagon.
Make a copy of the first triangle and drag it into position on the opposite side. Snap each object to the other. Tweak each shape with the help the handles to get the desired shape.
Set Shape Outline to No Outline for all three shapes.
Select the three different objects and select Group from the right-click menu. And then, set Shape Fill to white. You can also select Group from the Drawing Tools. It’s on the extreme right.
The next step is a bit tricky. Unlike PowerPoint, Microsoft Word does not have the facility to merge and combine shapes. We have to rely on creatively using another shape of a smaller size (and different color) to create a hollow hexagon with a thick outline. Of course, you can always create a multi-sided box with the Line shape and give it a specific thickness too.
Create a copy of the original hexagon and set the shape fill to the background color. Position it over the original hexagon. Instead of dragging the handles, I find it easier to use the more precise Size fields in the Drawing toolbar.
The Size field helps you make minute tweaks to any object and is always a better option to dragging the corner handles.
Use Other Shapes for The Other Graphics
Follow the same method to add the anchor. The line above the company name, and the two stars. We will deal with the bird shapes in a little while.
The anchor is a combination of an oval drawn as a circle, a thick line, and a block arc. See the individual elements in the screenshot below.
Try the Character Map
The Windows Character Map is also a rich source of symbols you can use in your logos. The Webdings and Wingdings fonts are installed by default and they can supply you with some creative escape routes in case you aren’t getting the right shape to use.
In this case, I could have combined two arc shapes to create the “seagulls” in the logo. But the Bird character in Webdings looks neater instead of my hack.
So, set your document’s font to Webdings. Open the Character Map — type map in the search box on the taskbar, and choose Character Map from the result. Copy the symbol for the bird from the character set. Set the document’s font to Webdings. Insert a text box in the right location and past the bird in the text box. Like any other font, you can give it a color – white in this case.
The second bird on the right is a mirror image of the first symbol. See this Microsoft Word support article to see how to reverse a text box and create its mirror image.
Now, the major part of the logo has taken shape.
3. Add text and text effects.
This is the easy part and self-improvement-explanatory. Use Text Boxes to insert each word so that you can position each word precisely and style them individually.
Font pairing is an art. I won’t be able to go into it in detail here, but there are websites like Font Pair, I Font You, and Typ.io that can help you out. You also don’t have to feel forced by the fonts you have on your computer. There’s an ocean of free fonts you can download with a click.
4. Group the text and image together.
Select each individual object in the logo (press the SHIFT key when you select). Stick them together with the Group command in the right-click menu or on the Ribbon.
5. Save Your Logo as a Picture
You must save the logo as a picture file before you can use it. Microsoft Word does not have a direct way to save this as a JPEG or a PNG file. But it does have a tool which you can use.
Take a Screen Clipping. You can use any screenshot tool to do the job for you. But for effortless utility, open a new Word document. Go to Insert > Screenshot. Select Screen Clipping and select the logo from the Word document. The logo is pasted as a screenshot in the second Word document you just opened.
Still confused? This Microsoft Support page explains the screen clipping steps in more detail.
Right-click on the logo and choose Save as Picture to save your logo in the popular image formats given in the dialog box.
Use the Windows Snipping Tool. This lesser known tool in the Windows 10 toolbox can be launched from search bar. Type Clipping Tool to make it appear. It works like a simple screen capture utility.
To take a screenshot, select New. Select the part of the screen that you want to capture. Choose Rectangular by pulling down the arrow on the New button.
Other Microsoft Word Assets You Can Use for A Logo
Icons. If you have an updated version of Microsoft Word through the Office 365 subscription, then you can spot the new Icons library on the Insert menu. Choose from categories like people, technology, or business. Click the icon that you think can be creatively used in a logo.
WordArt. The old favorite. WordArt is one of the quickest ways to create text logos that look stylish. You can combine WordArt with Shapes and Icons to enhance your creative options. The Microsoft Support page should help as a primer.
I would try to avoid WordArt and keep things simple by using a creative combination of artistic fonts. And then, enhancing with subtle text effects.
Microsoft Word Isn’t for Graphic Design. But…
With your first logo in Microsoft Word, you will realize that the software isn’t meant to be a graphics editor. It is not even recommended as a page layout program. Microsoft Word is good for typing words and making professional documents. Then what is the purpose of this tutorial?
- You can explore your creative chops quickly.
- Brainstorm an idea and make a quick mock-up.
- Use the logo design process to understand Word’s limitations (and design features).
I have drawn a few logos on Word for my personal blog and just for fun or practice. It has been an exercise in using constraints. Good logo design is always about keeping things simple (the KISS principle). Using the right pair of fonts can stretch your imagination all on its own.
How effortless did you find the process? Do you find the graphic and text effect features in Microsoft Word 2016 good enough for basic design? And, don’t forget to tell us about your logo design stories.
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock.com
Originally written by Mark O’Neill on 12th August 2009