Designing It For Success: How To Avoid Logo Infringements

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A lot of people often have a lot of great ideas and concepts when it comes to company logos and designs. Creative juices start to flow if the individual who designs the logos has sole ownership of that company. A lot of times, when a person does create a logo, it becomes the symbol for its aspirations, ambitions, and beliefs.


When a person is truly creative, naivety often comes along. Sometimes, an overflowing imagination leaves little room for consideration in choosing designs for a company logo. This fact is the reason why a lot of people get into trouble when it comes to creating logos.


Creating an image for a company or brand is a lot more tricky than just simply opening applications like MS Paint or Adobe Photoshop. A lot of things must be thought of and taken into consideration. Phrases can be for copyrights, and any similarities that come with it can become usable.


To further understand, here are some basic things to take note of, if people want to create their logo for their company.


 Understanding the Law


Copyrights protect a lot of things. Movies, music, drawings, photographs, literature, recipes and even choreography can be subject to copyright. This fact means that people cannot get something out of those works to create a logo for business.


The only thing that people can get out of this stuff is the inspiration. Be careful though, as too much inspiration can result in a copy that can sometimes be unintentional.


 Why is there no protection?

Copyright law doesn’t protect ideas and facts. For example, any idea from a movie can be expressed in words and will not constitute to copyright claims. However, if such ideas come from sources like movies and music, one should always cite its references.


 Public Domains


Public domains are works by people who have their copyrights either expired, forfeited, or in some cases, inapplicable. These works are publicly available to everyone who wants to use such works.


 Off the Internet


Aside from inspiration and ideas, nothing else should come from the web for the sole purpose of using it as your own. Chances are, these images are already copyrighted. It can cause a major problem if used without proper discretion.




Always be creative. Although it is not prohibited to have a wild imagination when it comes to designing logos, people should be wary and should research about ideas. These ideas might have copyright issues with things on the internet or anywhere else.


Also, people should be aware that scanning something from a source material does not give the ones who scanned it new copyright claims. Neither is taking screenshots or videos of something original give out a new copyright.



With all the strict implementations, there are some exceptions. Some things cannot be simply copyrighted. For example, simple shapes on logos are usually fair games and can be used by anyone. If well researched, plain text logos in generic fonts can also be free from copyrights.


 Fair Use


Here comes the legal aspect of creating logos. Fair use is a guarantee that no laws can endanger the freedom of speech made by a person. Fair use is very complicated for people that do not have any backgrounds in law. If in doubt, always ask permission first before attempting to use something that you think falls into the category of “Fair Use.”


 Bonus: International Laws


Famous cases like that of His Airness, Michael Jordan versus Qiaodan China are perfect examples of why people should think twice about copying content from other countries and then translating them into their native tongue.


The case was won by Jordan because there was enough evidence that Qiaodan used a lot of intellectual property from the Jordan Brand. The logo they both used came in white and was a silhouette of a person, possibly Jordan himself.


The company even used the names of Jordan’s sons in their product. In fact, the Chinese word “Qiaodan” is a direct translation of “Jordan.” It resulted that people in China think that “Qiaodan” and the Jordan brand are one and the same.




Creating something unique and seeing it succeed is the best feeling a person can get when making logos. It’s comparable to seeing your children being great. However, creating and using logos is a lot more complicated. A lot of laws can quickly become violations if one does not do research.


It is also important to remember that a lot of these laws are complicated, especially when it comes to Fair Use policies. It is never a bad idea to ask for legal advice on such matters. In any case, ideas and inspirations are never copyright protected.


About Maria Theresa Estrada

Maria Estrada is a business associate by profession and an artist by heart. She is working in Print Meister Australia, one of the rising stars in Print Advertising in Australia. Since she's an artist, she loves experimenting on different designs, logos, and colors. During her leisure time, she writes her ideas about the same field.
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