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This article is written by Neelam Prusty, pursuing a Diploma in Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Laws, from LawSikho. The article has been edited by Dipshi Swara (Senior Associate, LawSikho).

Introduction

Social media has phenomenally changed the lives of people. Nowadays, social media is not only used for communication and entertainment, but also for personal branding, promotion of businesses, and sharing information with consumers. The social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter increase people’s engagement on the service or product which allows businesses to expand their reach and strengthen their online presence on social media.

Recently, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube have also come up actively to provide services to expand the reach and contact the consumer in various ways, i.e., Feedback, Consumer Review, Sponsored Video, Affiliate Marketing, etc. The online presence of the businesses determines the authenticity of the brand. Since we have a variety of social media to promote our products, we must wisely use the social media logo for our promotion and strengthen our customer source.

Benefits of Social Media logos

Social media gives a platform to people to interact with people and find your businesses which will help you to increase your customers and expand engagement. Almost every business has its business cards, posters, banners, etc. for marketing purposes. In recent years, people are very active on digital platforms. They prefer social media over posters, templates and newspapers for acquiring information regarding the world. Hence, they are very familiar with the logos of social media and they prefer to watch content, information and feedback on social media before they rely on any businesses. Companies are setting up their online website and accounts on various social media handles that can be accessed by people easily. Businesses are using the social media logo with their username to make people aware of their online presence through offline marketing materials. Further, for digital marketing, the website is linked to various social media handles that can be accessed by people with just one click.

Guidelines by Social Media on using their Logos

Nowadays, branding and creativity are necessary for both online and offline promotion. Hence, it is obvious to up social media links with their logo to provide a visual connection to the customers. The logos of various social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are unique and ubiquitous. These social media platforms are being generally used by businesses and individuals. However, the use of logos and designs of these platforms are permitted up to a specific extent.

Facebook Logo

The businesses owners are recommended to download the logo of Facebook from the Facebook Brand Resource Center. Before using the logos, the businesses must ensure compliance with the Guidelines provided by Facebook. The guidelines are listed as follows:

  • The use of the Facebook logo “F ” must have the correct colour and shape. If due to any technical limitations, the businesses can’t use the combination of blue and white combination, they are allowed to opt for black and white colour.
  • The use of animated, edited or filtered logos of Facebook is highly discouraged. The brand guidelines strictly object to the businesses to modify, rotate or destroy the logo in any means.
  • In case, when the business cites the logo of more than one social media in a place, i.e., template, website or poster, the size of the logo must remain the same as other social media.

Instagram Logo

The businesses owners are recommended to download the logo of Instagram from the Instagram Brand Resource Center. Before using the logos, the businesses must ensure compliance with the Guidelines provided by Instagram. The guidelines are listed as follows:

  • The businesses must use the Instagram logo from the Brand Resource Center. Unlike Facebook, Instagram allows businesses to use the logo in different versions of multicolour or black and white or any solid colour.
  • Unlike Facebook, Instagram allows businesses to animate, or filter the logo without changing any other aspects of the design.
  • Instagram only recommends maintaining a proper proportion of the logo and keeping the resolution more than 29×29 pixels. The businesses are advised to use the logo of Instagram for radio, broadcast, advertising or print in more than 8.5 inches × 11 inches.

Twitter Logo

The businesses owners are recommended to download the logo of Twitter from the Twitter Brand Resource Center. Before using the logos, the businesses must ensure compliance with the Guidelines provided by Twitter. The guidelines are listed as follows:

  • The businesses must use the Twitter logo in blue and white colour. If due to any technical limitations, the businesses can use the combination of black and white colour only after getting permission from Twitter.
  • The use of animated, edited or filtered logos of Twitter is highly discouraged. The brand guidelines strictly oppose businesses to modify, rotate or destroy the logo in any means.
  • In case the business wants to put the logo in a shape, the guideline approves the use of the logo inside either a circle, square or square with rounded edges.
  • Twitter advises not to overemphasize its logo and keep the logo at least 32 pixels wide.

YouTube Logo

The businesses owners are recommended to download the logo of YouTube from the YouTube Brand Resource Center. Before using the logos, the businesses must ensure compliance with the Guidelines provided by YouTube. The guidelines are listed as follows:

  • YouTube advises keeping the space of at least half the width of the logo around the YouTube logo.
  • The logo should be at least 24 dips tall for digital content and at least 0.125 inches or 3.1 mm tall for print content.
  • YouTube highly discourages the use of animated, edited or filtered logos. The brand guidelines strictly oppose businesses to modify, rotate or destroy the logo or shape of the logo in any means including altering the spacing between the letters, replacing the typeface, adding visual effects and changing the shape.
  • The businesses must use the YouTube logo in either red, black or white colour. 

LinkedIn Logo

The businesses owners are recommended to download the logo of LinkedIn from the LinkedIn Brand Resource Center in both English and Chinese language. Before using the logos, the businesses must ensure compliance with the Guidelines provided by LinkedIn. The guidelines are listed as follows:

  • LinkedIn recommends the businesses to use their signature colour, i.e., blue. But, it also allows the use of black and white.
  • The logo of LinkedIn is always recommended to be used inside a square with rounded edges.
  • Since LinkedIn is a professional site, it highly discourages the use of animated, edited or filtered logos. The brand guidelines are very strict in comparison to other social media and object to the use of modified, rotated or destroyed logo or shape of the logo in any means.
  • The logo should be at least 21 pixels tall for digital content and at least 0.125 inches tall for print content.

WhatsApp Logo

The businesses owners are recommended to download the logo of WhatsApp from the WhatsApp Brand Resource Center. Before using the logos, the businesses must ensure compliance with the Guidelines provided by WhatsApp. The guidelines are listed as follows:

  • The brand recommends using the WhatsApp logo in a combination of green and white. The businesses are allowed to opt for black and white colour too.
  • The use of animated, edited or filtered logos of WhatsApp is highly discouraged. Hence, the businesses must not modify, rotate or destroy the logo in any means.
  • The logo of WhatsApp must be always used inside a green coloured square.

Amongst all the following guidelines provided by various social media platforms, businesses are strictly advised to adhere to the non-permitted use of social media. The guidelines for non-permitted use of social media are as follows.

  • The use of the social media brand for partnership, sponsorship or endorsement combining any part of social media must be avoided.
  • The use of trademark, name of the businesses, domain name, logo and other content of the business must not be done in a way that it is confused with the social media platform.
  • The use of logo, image or trademark of the social media that may represent any association with illegal activities must be strictly avoided.
  • The modifying of social media brand assets by changing their colour or design that could possibly affect their association or collaboration must be taken care of.

Best ways to avoid misuse of Social Media Logos

There are domestic legal frameworks that prevent the unauthorized use of logos or any other trademark of a company. For instance, in India, Section 29 of the Trademarks Act, 1999 prevents the unauthorized use of a trademark whereas Sections 19 and Section 20 of the Trademarks Act restrict the use of registered trademarks under Canadian Law. According to the Federal Trademark Law, 1992 by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a trademark owner is allowed to take legal actions to prevent others from unauthorised use of your trademark. 

However, under the concept of ‘fair use’ of a trademark, the social media owners allow the use of their trademarks by a third party. The use of social media logos for the purpose of comparison, endorsement or goodwill associated with the trademark is unlawful to use under the law and the user can be held liable for such an act. But some brand owners establish some provisions to maintain brand integrity and allow third parties to use their logo and trademark by following specific guidelines. For example, the WhatsApp logo is exclusively used with the combination of green and white colour. Any modification in the design and colour of the WhatsApp logo can have a negative impact on the brand and create confusion as to the association of the brand.

Since the use of social media logos is very beneficial and recommended, it is highly advised to use the trademark or logo from the website of the brand and follow the necessary guidelines. By conducting proper due diligence, your businesses will be protected from unnecessary problems or conflict with the brand owners regarding the use of their trademarks and logos. To establish a strong social media presence, the social media logos must also be used properly. Hence, we can follow some advice before using any social media logo.

Don’t make any alterations

The logos of the social media are their registered trademarks. Hence, the businesses can’t make any changes to the logo by rotating them, changing their colours, animating them or adding any specific effect and elements. The businesses are advised to use the colour scheme of the original social media logo or use the monochrome versions like Calendly.

Maintain uniform space and size

In case, the business uses the logo of more than one social media in a place, i.e., template, website or poster, the size of the logo must remain the same as other social media. The sizes of all the social media logos must remain the same in terms of height, width and resolution. Each social media has specific requirements mentioned in their guideline to maintain a specific amount of space between their logo and other elements of the businesses to ensure proper visibility. For example, the website of iPleaders and Content Marketing Institute has enough space between different social media logos.

Choose a strategic location

The social media logos should be prominently visible to get the desired impact of the target audience. The position and size of the social media logo are very important to draw the attention of the audience. Hence, social media logos are mainly used at the bottom of the page.

Use them beyond your website

Besides the website of the businesses, social media logos are used in the videos, newsletters and emails for the purpose of marketing to increase the impact of the audience. Through this way of using social media logos on videos, newsletters and emails, the chance of attracting an audience increases, people are likely to click on the social media and follow your businesses.

For example, the YouTube videos of a famous ed-tech company, LawSikho, always mention the link of its social media in the description box to attract the audience to their website.

Conclusion

Social media logos are often used in marketing materials and websites. It is also advised to use the social media logo to increase the credibility and reputation of the business as well as increase customers. But it is also important to conduct due diligence and follow the guidelines of social media properly. A business must not be negligent regarding every minor stuff because this can lead to great loss in the long run. The big social media brands, even outside the country, observe the activity throughout the world and may sue your business for improper use of their logos and trademarks. Therefore, it is very important to be careful with logos related to your business.

References

  1. https://www.agorapulse.com/blog/free-social-media-icons/
  2. https://www.logodesignteam.com/blog/copyright-and-logo-usage-of-social-media-logos-and-icons/
  3. https://www.mondaq.com/trademark/404874/beware-of-the-like-button–how-to-avoid-misuse-of-common-social-media-logos
  4. https://www.kubbco.com/how-to-use-social-media-icons-correctly-and-our-13-favourite-sets/

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