I've been asked to design a logo for a heritage trust. The logo must have a medieval cross as its centrepiece. However, whilst I'm a photographer with negligible graphic design experience I gave it a shot:

original try

It was a case of trying to combine the intricacy of the original Celtic knots with the simplicity of the best logos. It looks somewhat clumsy to me.

I then messed around with some filters in PS to try and roughen up the edges. The stamp filter (nothing else was used) seemed to give the best finish. The result is better but could it be improved on:

filter added

So, what I'm wondering is if anyone knows of a very quick filter or combination of filters that could be applied to the original "cross" image to give some "sparkle" to the original file? This is very vague, I know, but to an extent I'm going by feel here. Watercolor effect? Stone effect? Carte blanche rules.

Not a technical question and it sounds like a logo design on the cheap--which it is. But if someone has an idea that could quickly be applied to the file, I would be very grateful as this is an area I'm very inexperienced in. Even a suggestion to look at another logo that might provide me with ideas would be great? Any assistance is much appreciated.

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    Honestly the first image looks a lot better than the second. Is this the highest resolution version of the image you have? Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 16:18
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    Welcome to Stackoverflow @Ray200. It looks like your question will result in only opinion based answers. Since the value of this site is in generating a knowledge base of solutions to problems, I don’t see this question as fitting the site scope. Essentially you are looking for design help - which is not wrong - but not a good fit for the format of this site.
    – kontur
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 16:57
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    The more "filters" and "effects" you use on a logo, typically the less professional it appears.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:04
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    I agree with @kontur - specific problem solving or direct pointed criticism are great! General "idea farming" is typically too broad.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:15
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    We simply disagree @LateralTerminal "advice on filters" could not be more broad and opinion-based in my view. "....provide me with ideas" is another indicator.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:36

4 Answers 4


I second the comment on your post. The original image is better, to my eyes, than the "improved" version. With respect, I think your thinking is back to front.

Firstly, good job with the logo, considering you say you have little experience I think it's a reasonable job. But you should keep in mind that no filter, no quick trick, is going to make the original somehow "better".

Think about the classic logos...Coca-cola, Amazon...a million others, logos tend to be "vector" files... like your first example. Clean, high-contrast and uncluttered. (as well as visually appealing, on subject etc etc). So I would stop thinking what can be done to improve it "after the fact" and instead concentrate on what can be done to improve the original design.

Bearing in mind that this logo is going to need to be reproduced in colour and black and white, and also at multiple sizes including possibly down to 64x64 pixels or less, I think one immediate area for improvement is in reducing the complexity of the cross.

I do like what you've done with it, but I worry it will scale very effectively. I would start out by reducing the complexity there, and I would beef up the font to provide more balance with the cross. Perhaps something Medieval/Celtic but of course it would be easy to go "pastiche" by accident!

The takeaway here is that no filter, no quick fix, is going to improve the original design.


Simplify the design. Start off my converting to a vector format - no logo should ever be done in a pixel format, since this will limit the use of the logo to that specific size or smaller sizes only.

Here is some things that come to mind:

  • Reduce the detail of the top, left and right set-in crosses and floral decors; maybe use a simple cross or single leave in all of them; alternatively try completely removing them

  • Make the celtic not less intricate; you could for example remove the entire middle of the three rings

  • Remove the center circle and expand the size of the knot lines instead, opting for a single dominant visual element

  • Overall look at the balance of white space and detail, and make sure you have clear shapes with equally little amount of detail all over

  • Pick a font that somewhat reflects either the early christian scribal culture or resonates stone carved letters associated with celtic tombstones

  • Integrate the wordmark to the logo and balance the size of text to logo

Use your imagination, not your tools. Start the design by drawing on paper, it will be much more fast to find what works and what doesn’t.


There are two possiblities to filter

1) make it simpler

2) try to be arty by adding details; random and mimicking textures, light and thickness

If you are going to filter a logo to keep it as a logo, simplifying have a possiblity to be productive.

Making it more complex perhaps is useful when creating a derivative work which utilizes the logo as a subject - a T-shirt or scented candle, for example, if the original is still recognizable. If you are lucky, you make an illusion there's somewhere a real object which is shown one way in the logo and otherwise in the filtering result (see NOTE1)

Here is your original, a simplification and three "wanna be arty" filterings

enter image description here

I believe that the simplification could be a logo. It's fault is we know it's a filtering result. I tried to make the small details rounder like you have done, but to save all gaps and holes, even to make them bigger. The writing is thicker and taller. I think your simplification has made it too thin in many places.

The simplified version actually is more easily produceable with 1000 years old tools than your original, so it has at least one reason to stay alive until enough downvotes appear.

NOTE1: If that happens and you are going to use the result, be sure that you also have a nice story.


First I want to say I agree with the first answer here.

The takeaway here is that no filter, no quick fix, is going to improve the original design.

And this comment

The more "filters" and "effects" you use on a logo, typically the less professional it appears. – Scott

If you insist on using a filter

FIRST: We are working in Illustrator because logos need to be vector.

I think the "Rough Pastels" under "Artistic Filters" is a good choice for this particular artwork. I like it because it adds a little bit of depth to it with the shading and it also makes it look a bit worn. Unlike the second image OP provided which just looks like a bad fax.

enter image description here

Even better if you apply it in Illustrator then you can keep everything vector. You don't need Photoshop to use all the Photoshop filters.

enter image description here

The benefit of doing it in Illustrator is that you can still modify the file with the filter over it.

enter image description here

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    I don't personally like the effect, but your answer definitely didn't warrant a downvote. Upvoted. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:28
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    @LateralTerminal I think you grossly underestimate the average person’s visual awareness and eye for cheap graphic design, the role of meaning and cultural context for informing design, and the role of a designer as communicator of ideas. Just because OP asked for a filter does not mean you have to suggest a filter if that is nonsense. In my personal experience of 15 years of working as a designer not once has adding a filter made a logo better. Not once.
    – kontur
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:59
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    @LateralTerminal The image you link has neither torn edges nor rough texture in the paper visible from chalk drawing. What it does have is line shading from a pen, color filled shapes that occasionally bleed out from their contours, it has inked lettering that has stronger borders where the ink has dried toward the edge of the wet mark, it has colored drop caps and floral interwoven decoration of different color — all of which are a better inspiration that suggesting a beaten, cheap looking, off the shelf texture mimicking the wrong medium. I rest my case about this topic and your answer both.
    – kontur
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 18:08
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    Be aware.. everyone and their brother under the age of 40 has a pirated copy of Photoshop or knows someone that does..... the public is fairly aware of what many filters look like and spots them easily at times. You could get away with it 10 years ago. Not so much now days. The younger the demographic the more aware they are. Often Photoshop is actually taught in High School.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 20:00
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    @Scott well it has been discussed over here that should we teach all young adults basics of typography and layout. Which in my opinion is not too much asked.
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 18:44

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