Brand Identity

I’ve seen some people complaining about the fact that Twitter, Facebook, et all will send cease and desist notices regarding the use of their icons. “It’s just so stupid! I only changed the color to match me site!” It doesn’t match the brand that you’ve created and that is frustrating. As a designer, I know how much one mismatched element can throw a well designed webpage into choas.

That being said, the powers that be are trying to protect the same thing! Twitter has done a lot to establish that blue and white look for their brand. Same with Facebook, DeviantArt, etc. I completely understand their point of view as well, especially when you consider how much money moves under those brands every day.

I’ve seen a few well meaning designers say “Do it anyway!” in the name of good design, “They can’t stop us!” Actually, they can… to the tune of lawsuits and loss of your income. So rather than playing David and Goliath, we need to find creative ways to make the icons fit into our designs without breaking the rules that these giants have set out for us.

There are advantages to having different colors, most useful is that they’re more noticable like that and more likely to attract visitors to click and start following your social media presence. Setting them aside in their own little box is an option. Putting them at the bottom of a page is an option. Even integrating them into a drop down menu is an option. Breaking the usage rules… is not.

For those of you who haven’t seen them, here’s the usage rules setout by the big ones:

Twitter:

https://about.twitter.com/press/brand-assets

Facebook:

https://www.facebookbrand.com/

Pintrest:

http://business.pinterest.com/brand-guidelines/

Instagram:

http://help.instagram.com/304689166306603

Tumblr: (by far the most amusing read of the bunch)

http://www.tumblr.com/logo

DeviantArt: (No real quidelines for this one that I can find)

http://help.deviantart.com/21/

Foursquare:

https://foursquare.com/about/logos

In general, they’re really reasonable. Don’t change the color, don’t change the font, don’t change the design. It’s their logo, it’s not our perogative to redesign their logos for them. Keep these guidelines in mind and think outside the box on how to use them as accent points to enchance your design, rather than viewing them as detriments to your designs.

Talk to you soon, guys!
-Aaron