How To Remove White Backgrounds From Logos

You just created your new kick butt logo, but you’ve run into a snag. You can’t figure out how to remove the white background. What’s the trick?

In this article I’ll cover the exact steps to follow to remove white backgrounds from your logo and export with transparent backgrounds in Photoshop.

Video Tutorial

Removing White Backgrounds From A Logo

Method 1 – Channels

Channels is a tool in Photoshop that allows you to make selections using the natural contrast in your photo. When your logo is sitting on a white background (or any lighter colour) channels is a fantastic way to quickly remove the background.

First access your channels by going to your layers panel and look for the channels tab. If you don’t see this tab, go up to Window > Channels to bring the panel into view.

Find the colour channel with the most contrast. Click on each individual channel to see which one is best for your logo. In my case the best channel to use is Red.

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Duplicate this channel by clicking the channel layer and dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom of your layers panel.

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Select your channel copy, in my case Red Channel Copy, and bring up your levels adjustment by pressing Command + L (MAC) or Control + L (PC). Move the shadows and highlight sliders accordingly until your logo is 100% black and your background is 100% white. You don’t want any grey remaining. Once you’ve done this, click OK.

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Now let’s turn this into a selection. Hold Command or Control and click on the channel layer thumbnail. You will see a selection appear around your logo. Click back to your layers tab and add this new selection to a layer mask.

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If your logo becomes transparent, click on your new layer mask and press Command + I (MAC) or Control + I (PC) to invert the mask. Success!

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Method 2: Select Colour Range

If the above method doesn’t work this method is the perfect option. The colour range feature in Photoshop allows you to make a selection based off of any colour you choose to sample. How cool is that?

To access this feature go up to the top of your window and click SELECT > COLOUR RANGE.

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Once the colour range dialogue box opens up, your cursor will become an eyedropper tool. Click on the background of your image and notice how the colour range preview changes. It may look a little complicated but just remember this preview works like a layer mask. White is 100% visible while black is 100% transparent.

Don’t sweat it if your logo isn’t white (100% visible) in the preview. You’ll be able to invert your layer mask like we did previously.

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Once you’ve selected the background colour, it’s time to use the fuzziness slider. This slider represents the tolerance of how many similar colours to your sample that Photoshop can select. I like to set mine to 40 or higher but you can experiment.

Once you’re happy with your selection, click ok to activate the selection.

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With the selection active, click your logo layer and add the selection to a layer mask. If your logo is transparent select your layer mask and press Command + I (MAC) or Control + I (PC) to invert your layer mask.

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Exporting Transparent Backgrounds In Photoshop

Once you have cut out your image/logo exporting a transparent background is easy. It all comes down to what file type you choose.

Making sure you have a transparent background in Photoshop (represented by the white and grey checker board) go up to FILE > SAVE AS.

Rename your file to whatever you like and choose the location you wish to export to. Now comes the important part. Near the bottom of your window you’ll see an option that reads ‘format’. Click on that drop down menu and set your file type to PNG. Then click save.

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That’s it! Now your PNG image will export with a transparent background and it’s ready to be quickly dragged and dropped into any image. No more annoying white backgrounds!

Happy Editing!

-Brendan

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