cutting out logo icon

How Do I Remove the White Background from a Logo?

Ever tried to overlay a logo or other graphic onto an image only to find there’s an annoying white background behind it? Frustrating for sure.

If you’re looking for a graphic with transparency to use in your design projects, there are three potential solutions. Note, these solutions require that you have access to Adobe Creative Suite. If you don’t, skip on down to solution No. 3.

1) In Illustrator

icon resizingIf your graphic is a professionally created logo, one option is to get access to the original graphic file – preferably an EPS or Adobe Illustrator format. What you want is a vector image, which means the image has been created digitally in such a way that it can be re-scaled up or down without losing its resolution and becoming pixelated.

It’s likely the vector file already has built-in transparency. That pesky white background doesn’t appear until someone saves a version of the graphic in a format like a JPG or GIF to use on the web. Take that EPS or Adobe Illustrator file and save it as a “PNG” file. Make sure you check the box labeled “preserve transparency.”

2) In Photoshop

Open a relatively high-resolution version of the graphic in Adobe Photoshop. Use the pen tool to trace around the object and then create a clipping mask. This is pretty technical and can be challenging if you don’t know your way around Photoshop very well or if the graphic is complicated by features like hair, soft edges and lots of “holes” like those in the letters D, O and R.

pen tool cutting letter

You can sometimes get away with using the “Magic Wand” to select around your logo/graphic especially if the graphic is pretty simple. Once you’ve masked out (or deleted) the unwanted background, export your image as a PNG with transparency preserved. If you don’t preserve the transparency, Photoshop will add white back into the areas you just cleared away.

3) But I don’t have these fancy programs!

If you don’t do a lot of graphic design work, you may not have Photoshop or Illustrator. In that case, try one of these programs:

GIMP is a free Photoshop alternative. It’s powerful, but not the most user-friendly so it might take you a little time to learn your way around this one.

Inkscape is a free vector program will do the trick. As with Gimp, this app is off the beaten path so there may be a steep learning curve.

If you don’t have access to the high-resolution version of your logo or the original files, it’s going to take you a lot of time and energy to do this on your own, especially if all you have is a low-resolution graphic. This might be a good time to hire a professional graphic designer to re-create your logo. Graphic designers then provide you with all the various file formats you could need – saving you a lot of headache in the future.

Need help re-creating a new logo or need additional formats for an existing one? Get in touch at ab@andrewbartondesign for help. 

Have a great week,

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