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Tutorial: How to cut logos very tidily

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I have not made many tutorials, so if something is amiss or badly presented, just tell me and I will try to improve it. If there is a less laborious way to cut logos that achieves as good results, then mention that too. Also, as will undoubtedly be noticed, English is not my native tongue, so some of the language used may be non-standard and/or funny sounding... ;)


How to cut logos very tidily

Programs needed:

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator


One can cut logos by merely selecting the background and then deleting the selection, but that often leads to suboptimal results. The objective here is to create a shape in Illustrator by tracing the logo, and then use the shape to cut the logo in Photoshop. Photoshop has shape tools of its own, but if the logo is a bit more complex, its more effortless to use Illustrator.



A. Here we have a logo which is pretty good in quality with nice contrast between the logo and its background. The canvas is not any bigger than the logo, so the first thing to do is to increase the canvas size so that there is more room around the badge.


  1. Since the layer (in this case) is a locked background layer, the canvas can be very handily resized by using the crop tool.

  2. Activate the crop tool, hold alt + shift and drag one of the corners of the canvas.

    • Use the logo's background colour as Photoshop background colour. Since its in this case white, it can be done by hitting d on the keyboard.

    • ”Delete cropped pixels” should be ticked - otherwise the added canvas area will be transparent.





B. The next task is make a silhouette of the logo (so it can be traced in Illustrator as well as possible).


  1. To preserve the original logo layer, duplicate it by hitting ctrl + j.

  2. On the new layer use the magic wand tool to select the background.

    • Tick the ”contiguous” box so that the selection is restricted to everything that is contiguous with the background.

  3. Invert the selection by hitting ctrl + shift + i. Now the logo is selected rather than the background.

  4. Contract the selection by 1 or a few more pixels. This is done so that the border between the logo and the background is conserved in its original state. Select → modify → contract.

  5. Select the logo's outer edge colour as Photoshop background colour. Since it is black in this case, it can be done by hitting d and then x.

  6. Push ctrl + backspace on the keyboard to fill the selection with the Photoshop background colour.

  7. Push ctrl + a to select the entire canvas, then hit ctrl + c to copy it to the clipboard.





C. Lets use the Illustrator. The silhouette that was created in Photoshop will be traced and reproduced as a vector shape.


  1. In Illustrator, hit ctrl + n to create a new document, and then hit ctrl + v to paste the content of the clipboard.

  2. Select the image trace tool. Window → image trace.

  3. Trace the image using black and white mode. Its usually good to use pretty high paths and corners percentages to achieve high equivalence with the original silhouette.

  4. Tick the ”ignore white” box to make the background transparent.

  5. Hit ctrl + c to copy the traced shape to the clipboard.




D. Back to Photoshop.


  1. If the whole canvas is still selected, the selection can be removed by pushing ctrl + d on the keyboard. The black silhouette layer is not really needed any more, so it can be hidden or deleted.

  2. Hit ctrl + v to paste the content of the clipboard. Paste it as a ”shape layer”.

  3. Use the move tool and arrow keys to place the new shape layer precisely above the logo on the original logo layer.

  4. Unlock the original logo layer by clicking on the lock symbol on the layer's row on the layer palette.

  5. Drag and drop the original logo layer above the shape layer on the layer palette.

  6. Right click the logo layer on the layer palette and select ”create clipping mask” (or hit ctrl + alt + g).







E. The background is now transparent and the cut is as smooth as it can be. There is however a little bit of the background colour on the outmost edges of the badge. Since the logo's edge is entirely of the same colour, its simple to use stroke to cover the remaining background residue.


  1. Select the shape layer and activate the shape tools.

  2. Create a stroke that is wide enough to cover the remaining background colour. Align the stroke inside.

  3. Choose the logo's edge colour as the colour of the stroke.





F. The perfect cut is ready! Export as a png with transparency, or save as a psd to retain the separate layers.



Comments and questions are welcome.


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Great tutorial mate. This will help a lot of people and particularly with our current project. 

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I still remain not able to use Photoshop also with this tutorial. Me and Photoshop are two different worlds and i need to delete some backgrounds on the logos pictures

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