The legal side of logo design

Posted on 26 October

Though most of my work involves coming up with the creative concept for your new graphics, you may be surprised to learn that I often get asked about the legal aspects of logo design.

I thought it would be a great idea to bring together some useful information on the steps I take to protect your moniker from trademarking issues further down the line, and how you can use and share your logo once it has been signed off.

It’s my job to create a logo that’s both beautiful and protectable

You can rest assured that all my logo designs are developed from scratch using Adobe Illustrator.

I don’t use templates or logo generators during the logo design process, because I want to make sure that whatever I create is totally unique.

There are two main benefits to my approach. Firstly, developing bespoke logos means I will always produce something that is an accurate reflection of your business. It eliminates the risk of creating a mark that’s too similar to someone else’s.

And secondly, custom-designed logos can easily be trademarked or copyright-protected, which stops them from being copied or misused by your competitors (and therefore damaging the reputation of your business).

What kind of logo protection can you apply for?

The type of protection you can apply for will depend on whether your logo contains one or a combination of the following:

  • A device mark: a single image on its own
  • A stylised mark: a word on its own (usually your brand name)
  • A combined mark: a word and an image within the same design

You can trademark a single element or all the elements within your logo, depending on how you want to use it.

In the UK we’re lucky in the sense that we don’t needto register copyright to prove that we were the original creators of a design.

Here, the creator of the ‘work’ – which could be any kind of graphic design, but in this case is the logo – automatically owns the copyright (although ownership can be transferred – more on this later!).

But if you do want to go that one step further and make sure there’s evidence that you created a design at a particular time, you can register your logo with the UK Copyright Service. For obvious reasons, it’s best to do this as soon as your designer has finalised your logo. 

Good design is key to the protectability of a logo

Though it is largely up to you to make sure that your logo is fully protected from copycats, there are things I can do during the design process to enhance the ‘protectability’ of your design.

For example, I can add a distinctive look to everyday objects so that it can’t be argued that the image is common property.

I can use colours that are not typically associated with your industry, too. If most of your competitors are using varying shades of green, I can come in with a bolder palette of oranges and yellows that will set you and your logo apart from the rest.

What rights do you have to logos that are designed and produced by Design FX Studio?  

Once your new custom logo is ready to be unleashed, I will supply it to you in a variety of formats that can be used across all kinds of online and offline materials. You’ll always receive a vector image too, because this will enable you to scale the design up or down depending on the size of your graphics. 

Most importantly, you will own all the rights to your new design. You can use it across your new branding as you wish, with no limitations – and the copyright is all yours. Full ownership will be transferred to you as a matter of course!