Isolating a Logo Using Layer Masks

Posted by AMac on January 03, 2010

Not all site designs are easy; some, you have to work for. And by some, I mean all of them.

Recently, I had to work out a problem with a site showcasing logos on a black background. The problem was the logo files I had were JPEGs of each on a white background. Laying out these white rectangle logos on the black background just wasn't working for me—not a good look. So I came up with a Photoshop method to cut the logos away from their white backgrounds, thus making them usable on any color background. I assure you this method works better and more often than other traditional isolation techniques, magic wand included.

Here's how I do it

1) Open the logo file in Photoshop and create a Duplicate Layer.

Image removed.

2) Desaturate the duplicate layer.

Image removed.

3) 'Select all' of the duplicate layer and Copy it to your clipboard. Make sure to then Deselect, this is important.

Image removed.

4) Next, add a Layer Mask to the duplicate layer. Choose 'Reveal All.'

Image removed.

5) Option-click (PC: Alt-click) on the Layer Mask Thumbnail. This will allow you paste right into the layer mask itself. Paste from your clipboard. Deselect.

Image removed.

6) Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) on the Layer Mask Thumbnail, which will select all white pixels. Invert your selection so that you've got just the logo pixels selected.

Image removed.

7) Next, drop down to your original layer by clicking on the layer's thumbnail, making it your active layer.

Image removed.

8) Make a new Layer via Copy and you've isolated the logo.

Image removed.

9) This method may produce some logos with unwanted transparency, in which case you should duplicate the isolated logo 2 or 3 times, until it appears opaque. Then, merge these duplicate layers into one, solid, isolated logo.

In the End

That should do the trick. Using layer masks is an effective and efficient method to isolate logos from white backgrounds for use on any other background color. Here are some examples of logos created using this method, the the Boerne Wild West Day site.

Marketing Guide

Monthly Marketing Insights.

Get thought-provoking and actionable insights to improve how your firm makes a connection with your customers.


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Submitted by Guest on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 1:35pm

This was great for me. Can't tell you how many times I have had to remove/change backgrounds from logos. Thanks so much!

Submitted by Guest on Thu, 02/25/2010 - 3:57pm

Great tutorial AMac! Keep em coming!