written by: Tara M. Walsh•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 8/2/2009
Contrary to what friends, coworkers, or even high-end DTP program marketing materials will tell you, you cannot easily create pro-style logos in programs like Adobe's Indesign or MS Publisher. You can try but you'd waste precious time. Illustration software is your best bet for designing logos.
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The Best Graphics Programs for Logo Design
Logo design software products abound, and a quick search of Google will find many offers for free trials, but if you're a desktop publishing professional, you know that you need to use a high-end drawing tool to create the vector-based, scalable logos that you can then deploy for use with all kinds of business documents and/or on company websites.
If you already have Adobe Illustrator (CS4 is the latest version), CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 4X, or Xara Xtreme for Windows at your disposal, you have what you need to create professional-looking logos for your clients or your company.
If you're shopping for the right program for creating logos, however, here is a brief look at these three graphics programs. Depending on your budget, and your specific needs, this article's look at Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and Xara Xtreme should help you choose the right program for your business and your budget. (Bear in mind, these three programs are for Windows, though Illustrator has versions for Mac as well, and Xara Xtreme makes an open source version for Linux users.)
The premier illustration program remains Adobe Illustrator. It is by far the program of choice for professional desktop publishers. Adobe Illustrator may be pricey, but for logo design, it is the best drawing program available today. Its latest version, CS4, offers many new features, but as a vector-based drawing tool, it is ideal for quickly designing pro-style logos that are scalable. Scalability is key when creating a company logo, as a scalable vector format lets a desktop publisher easily resize any logo they create, without losing its high-quality look and feel. Of particular interest to web designers, Illustrator also lets you can easily convert and optimize your logo designs to place into websites.
For about $170 bucks less than Illustrator's pricetag, you can purchase CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4. Like Illustrator, CorelDRAW is a vector-based illustration program ideal for creating scalable logo designs. You don't get all the bells and whistles unique to Illustrator, but whereas Illustrator targets professional designers almost exclusively, CorelDRAW has a friendlier learning curve that can be more ideal for some designers, especially as tasks like logos are not typically ongoing projects. Once a client or company personnel agree on the logo design you've created, they're not likely to change it anytime soon.
Xara Xtreme Pro 5 (Price: $249 U.S.; Upgrade $89 U.S.)
If you've got a tight budget, Xara Xtreme Pro (http://www.xara.com/us/products/xtreme/) is a great tool at a great price. Xara makes many versions of its graphics program, including the aforementioned open source version, but for the vector drawing functionality you need for logo design, Pro 5 is the tool to choose. And a quick analysis of its feature set against its competition from Adobe and Corel may have you wondering why you would ever pay more. If you want to learn more about this program, you can also read a review of Xara Xtreme on BrightHub's Desktop Publshing channel: Xara Xtreme - A Powerful Graphics and Illustration Program.