Part 4

One key exception for logo designers

Logos have their own set of rules in addition to copyright—these rules make up the basics of trademark law

While any creative professional can use this guide, there is one key exception that logo designers specifically should know about.

If you’re not a logo designer, feel free to skip this short section. But if you plan to make money designing logos, you’ll want to make sure to read this important information.

While a logo design is protected under copyright law just as the examples we’ve explored previously in this book, logos are not inherently protected under trademark law.

When logos are used in commerce and have been trademarked, the trademark rights belong to the company using the logo and not the designer.

When a logo has been trademarked, the trademark belongs to the company, not the designer—and they don't need your consent.

And since the company using the logo in commerce can get trademark rights without consent from the designer, that gives you even more reason to have a contract protecting whatever rights you do have when it comes to logo usage.

This means if a client decides to use your logo, even if you maintain copyright, they can trademark the logo making it impossible for you to reuse or resell.

While this usually isn’t a problem, it is good to understand as you show your clients multiple logo options. If your contract doesn’t address the issue (and your client has no heart) they could trademark each logo revision you send them–making it impossible to ever use or sell those designs.

As a logo designer, you should outline ownership (both copyright and trademark rights) of your logos clearly in your contract.


   The blurry lines
Must-have terms