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If you’re a small business or startup, getting your logo designed and ready for publication will require some creativity. A great place to start is to browse art photography books, catalogs and magazines for ideas, and having a sense of the color palette you want will help you pull it all together. Photoshop is a great program for designing and creating your company logo, banner, or signature; you can start by using stock images and scenes as ‘pieces’ for a background on your signature. Here are the steps involved in creating your design with Photoshop:

Step 1: Set up your Photoshop canvas and background color

You’ll want to start by choosing a central stock image–a photo, picture, or even clipart that will be the focus of your layout-and choose a color palette that works with it. Fill out the background with a color that matches, and apply the spatter filter to the image. You can do this by selecting ‘brush strokes’ from the filter menu, and then selecting the spattering tool. Set the spatter layer to difference, and change the opacity to 90%. It’s a good idea to use the eraser and remove any additional space you don’t need.

Step 2: Insert the stock image onto the Photoshop rendering

Erase as much of the background you can around the stock image after placing it in the chosen location. This creates your image rendering.

Step 3: Fill the Photoshop canvas to create dimension

Choose a color 2-3 shades darker then the original color and fill the entire canvas area with your selection. The trick to making this look as natural and even as posble is to fill a layer with color, erase, then repeat with different shades to create different dimensions.

Step 4: Add depth to the image

Create a new layer then select ‘apply image’ from the Image menu. Add another spatter filter and set this to 75%. You’ll be ‘smudging’ the stock image with the new image and can get pretty close to the outline of your stock photo as you do this. This will create some depth and blend your stock photo in with the background colors. Use the erase tool as needed, and start adding black to new layers and blend with the spatter brush.

Step 5: Create a lighting effect around your stock image

This will help provide a strong visual attractiveness to your image, and is easiest with a medium rounded brush around your rendering. Use complementary colors to your logo and set the layer to overlay . Lower the opacity to about 65% to provide some contrast.

Step 6: Import your logo

If your logo is already in image format, place it within your Photoshop canvas. Use the splatter brushing with the soft light technique to blend it better. Use the blur tool from the filter menu to create an even stronger blending effect (1-2px should work well).

Step 7: Add more images

You may want to apply another stock image or photo to the banner, and all you need to do for this is add another layer and set the opacity to 85%. Choose a fill level of 35% and start brushing; this will help make everything else much darker and add some depth. Whenever you make a new layer, make use of the smudge tool with a brush and set the layer to Soft Light; the opacity should be set to about 50% for this one

Step 8: Create emphasis for your main image.

Move the layer you just created around your main photo render to create a more blended effect. You can add more focus to specific areas of the image by using a large gray or off-white brush and setting the blend to ‘linear dodge’

Step 9: Add a border

Add a border by changing the lighting settings, or simply painting one in. Do some final touchups to the main image as needed.

Congratulations, you’ve just created your first stylish banner in Photoshop!