Logo Design Studio is a desktop graphics program designed to help you create a one-of-a-kind logo for your business. With over 200 customizable logo templates and more than 850 logo design objects, you have the design world at your fingertips. Logo Design Studio is intended to walk you through the logo design process. However, it is not as intuitive as you might expect.
The installation process, which took only about 20 minutes, including the initial download, was a little painful. The registration box that appeared after the installation was completed didn’t function properly, causing a debug error. However, registration can be completed via a link in the Help menu.
From a user interface perspective, Logo Design Studio is designed to include a static canvas on the lower half of the screen and a dynamic menu on the upper half. Across the top are tabs for each of the main components of the tool: Home, Insert, Color, Effects, and Canvas. One of the items that is lacking in the UI is a dialog box that identifes the purpose of each icon. Fortunately, the icons become recognizable enough once you gain familiarity with Logo Design Studio. Along either side of the canvas are tabs that are similar to those in a PDF file. [See Image 8] The tabs provide menus that are also embedded into the menus on the upper half of the screen. Users can also customize the canvas to their liking using the Canvas menu options. [See Image 6] Specifications such as screen size, click or drag commands, and text options provide the user with a feeling of familiarity and personalization. While not obvious, the large Logo button in the upper left hand side of the screen, where normally a Windows user would see a File menu, controls the Save, Save As, and other typical file menu commands. [See Image 7]
From a logo design perspective, which is Logo Design Studio’s main objective, there is something for everyone. Users who are not graphically inclined will appreciate the many logo templates that are available. [See Image 1] While, those who have some graphic talent will appreciate the ability to create their logos from a blank canvas. [See Image 2] From either a blank canvas or a customizable template, users can add their own personal touch by inserting a picture or graphic, customizing the logo’s colors, and modifying design effects. [See Image 3, 4, and 5] A tagline can be created or chosen from the list of over 100 taglines in the Tagline Library. [See Image 9] Moving the components around on the canvas is very simple and similar to any Windows graphics program. Users simply grab the item with the pointer and move it to where they want it.
Completed logos can be exported into a number of file formats, depending on their use. Supported file formats include jpeg, tiff, gif, png, wmf, bmp, and pdf. Logos can be prepared for use on websites, letterhead, banners, t-shirts, business cards, and more. There is also an option for trademarking the logo via LegalZoom.com. By clicking on the Trademark Logo option on the Help Menu, Logo Design Studio will navigate to the LegalZoom website, where the user can find information on logo trademark regulations, the trademarking process, and the costs.
Logo Design Studio is most lacking in the area of support. At first glance, it appears as though the tool really does a great job in providing support for its users. However, after closer examination, many of the support options are minimal or don’t function properly. Additionally, if the user does not purchase the box version of Logo Design Studio, they will not have reference materials readily available to them. Customer support or an email-only process could probably provide the necessary information, but these communication methods may not be as timely as desired.
Price to Value (4 out of 5)
The cost of custom logos can be expensive, often as much as $2500 or more. For as little as $29.99, you can purchase Logo Design Studio and create your own logos. Logo Design Studio is available as either a download or a CD in a box. The boxed version is worth it because you will receive supporting documentation.
The time required to get started and learn Logo Design Studio is considerable. Therefore, those who are time-strapped may find that it is worth spending the extra money to have someone else create a logo for them.
Installation & Setup (2 out of 5)
Downloading Logo Design Studio was fairly quick at about ten minutes over high speed DSL.
Some users may want to view the Logo Design Studio demo before buying it. Unfortunately, the demo link on the Summitsoft website doesn’t work and navigates the user to a CNET.com page instead.
While the initial installation is simple and fairly quick, the registration process doesn’t work as smoothly. The Registration window that popped up during installation didn’t work and caused a Debug Error. Product registration must be completed on the Summitsoft website.
When launching product from the computer’s Programs menu, the selections are confusing. The menu lists Logo Studio Pro as the application but in reality the product is Logo Studio Standard.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
The User Interface that opens upon starting Logo Design Studio is pretty simple and offers the ability to create a logo from either an available template or from a blank canvas. Creating from a Blank Canvas opens a new screen on which the logo is created. The canvas remains static while the menu above is dynamic and changes based on the selection from one of the main menus; Home, Insert, Color, Effects and Canvas. The user also has the ability to set their canvas preferences with settings such as canvas size and insert text options. This customization allows the user to maintain a little more control over how they use Logo Design Studio.
After playing with Logo Design Studio for a while, the UI seems to make more sense and becomes more intuitive. The layout of the canvas, which is static on the lower half of the screen, is similar to a pdf layout. It has small tabs along the outer edges of the screen that allow the user to open tools also embedded in the menus across the top.
The Logo Design Studio menus are not laid out in the typical Windows format but, instead, are much more graphic. This style may make a more visually driven individual feel more comfortable.
The icons for Logo Design Studio, while fairly recognizable, on the menu bar don’t include any pop-up boxes that explain what they are. The layout of the Create from Blank Canvas screen is not as intuitive as the New Logo screen. The developers seem to have tried to provide a step-by-step process for creating a logo but it isn’t all that intuitive for a first time user. Someone who is not comfortable with new programs, or with using computers in general, may have difficulty getting started without any documentation or a user manual. Users expecting and desiring Windows-style menus may also be disappointed and require some time to get used to the graphic menu layout.
The UI doesn’t provide an obvious way for saving files either. Most applications today make the method for saving or closing an existing project obvious. The only way to close a project with this application is by clicking the round Logo button or by closing the application.
Product Features (4 out of 5)
The main features of Logo Design Studio are really embedded in the five available menus:
- The Home menu includes tools that allow the user to create a new logo from the click of a button. The New Logo button navigates the user to the initial screen from which the user can begin their logo project using either a blank canvas or template. From here open an existing project or link to other resources such as LegalZoom.com. The Home menu also provides a number of graphical tools that the user can select from to manage an existing project.
- The Insert menu allows the user to add a shape, graphic (such as a picture or object), text, or tagline to a logo. These options help the user to further customize the logo.
- The Color menu provides the ability for the user to select the colors for the included shapes or text.
- The Effects menu provides the ability to shadow, frame, blur or emboss the logo.
- From the Canvas menu, the user can setup their preferences for the canvas on which the logo will be created.
Although the tools and features in Logo Design Studio are fairly robust, their navigation is less than simple. Users who don’t have a lot of time available to sit and play with the tools and features may find them to be difficult to use frustrating. Users who have the financial means to pay someone else to create their logo for them may decide that is a more effective solution for them.
Performance (3 out of 5)
The resulting logos look very professional. Someone with a graphics background could create some really fancy logos. Users who are not quite as experienced in the area of graphics can create logos that appear as though they were created by a high-end design firm or seasoned professional and will save money in the process.
The image resolution is not the highest in the industry and, depending on the user’s needs, can be somewhat limiting. Additionally, the exportable file format is limited by the user’s selection for how they will use the logo, online or printed.
When making selections from one of the submenus, Logo Design Studio often seems to have a mind of its own, making the menus dynamic and difficult to figure out.
Help & Support (2 out of 5)
The good news is that there are a number of support options included in Logo Design Studio such as video tutorials, trademark logo guidelines, FAQs, design tips, and a user’s forum. The link to LegalZoom.com is a nice option for finding out how to trademark a newly created logo. The link to LegalZoom.com Business Services is another nice support feature and helps the user to learn how to create a new business or maintain an existing business.
At first glance, it appears as though there are a lot of really useful support options. Upon further review, it was discovered that not all of the options, such as the online tutorials, function. Additionally, if the user chooses to download Logo Design Studio from the Internet rather than purchasing a boxed product, there is no hard copy documentation or downloadable reference information available.
From a live support perspective, other than a long distance phone number for ordering the product, there is no customer service phone number provided on the website. All Customer Service inquiries must be sent as an email. Store related/product order questions can be asked via online form.
- Improved image resolution options. Many competitors in the marketplace today offer a higher photo resolution, which is often a point of distinction for consumers.
- More customer service contact numbers including a toll free option. Consumers are often discouraged by having to make a long distance support phone call, especially for a product that is fairly inexpensive.
- Online tutorials would provide users with not only an additional support option, but also a greater level of comfort while using the product.
- In the current format, Logo Design Studio requests the intended use of exported files. The tool would be much more robust if the files could be exported regardless of the intended product use.
Overall, Logo Design Studio is not a bad tool, just not as user-friendly as one may hope or expect. All of the necessary components, including logo templates, customization tools, taglines, import and export capabilities, and support for multiple file formats are there. Users with any graphic design background will probably find it to be cumbersome at first but become less so after just the first use. Those less familiar with graphics tools will probably feel challenged each time they use Logo Design Studio, which probably won’t be that often. That said, however, you can’t beat the price. At roughly $30, the application is a steal and, if you can get past the usability issues, it can help you create very professional-looking, customized logos for whatever type of business you may own or be involved in.
Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Make My Own Logo, LogoSmartz