Small business owners, website developers, and others often have a need to design logos, business cards, and more, but can't afford to hire a professional designer to do the work. While designers are your best bet for getting a logo or other artwork that can truly "sell" your business to customers, the recently updated Logoist 2.1 ($29.99, on sale through December 27, 2014 for $14.99) can help you to easily create good-looking, professional illustrations or images.
The OS X app is fully optimized for OS X Yosemite, and creates files as images in PNG, JPEG, PSD, and PDF formats. But before you can output your images, you need to create them... Launching Logoist 2.1 displays a splash screen with a showcase of different designs, all of which can be used as a starting place for creating your own work.
If you're looking more for a specific type of graphic item - say a logo, greeting card, business card or photo layout - there are tabs for those items as well. You don't have to use the presets, but they may be useful in getting your creative juices flowing.
Selecting a preset brings up the example in a separate window that can be expanded to full screen if desired. On those presets you'll see several animated dots - clicking on those allows you to change some of the major features of a specific design. For example, one simple calligraphy logo had one dot for changing the text, while another dot changed the background color.
But what if I wanted to do more than just change the text and background color? Well, there's a button to create a new document from the preset, and once that's been created a full editor comes into view. Want to change the text style or rotation? Done. Add shapes, lines, paths? It's in the controls. There are buttons for adding clip art or images, and specific items can be layered for depth or to mask out other items.
I found it fascinating that individual letters in a logo could not only be rotated, but that I had total control over items such as line height and kerning. Style changes include fills, motion blurs, borders, a ton of effects from bevels to shadows, and even a "set distorter" to force perspective or warp words.
There are so many choices that Logoist 2.1 provides a browser of style presets that you can try out, scrolling through gradients, flat colors, glows, plastic, glossy or glassy extrusions, or even metallic looks. All said, it's possible to make some really hideous choices like the faux TUAW logo seen at the top of the page.
Clip art can be added in at any point along with images, and there are a number of combine effects for melding graphic and textual elements.
As with most graphic apps, you'll want to be sure to take some time to learn the app so that you don't create nightmares like I did for the examples in this post. That's where the Logoist 2.1 User Guide comes in handy - it's a 51 page PDF document that outlines many of the techniques that you'll want to know in order to master the app.
Anyone who needs an app that can help them design logos and cards - or at least show them that they need a professional designer's help - should jump on purchasing Logoist 2.1 while it's on sale through December 27, 2014. It's a powerful tool that can produce great results in the hands of those who learn its tricks and can show restraint.