no social.

Social Media Icons – Legally!

I’ll get to the conclusion of designing my blog shortly, but in the meantime found out I need to change something! When I made my design, I wanted to include cute, themed social icons as links to Facebook, Twitter, and so on. I thought I was really cool when I found out how to do it by CSS alone. I made colored circles, added a letter with the same font as my logo, all without making an image. Thought that would be awesome and HTML5 of me. Here was my design.

social icons


Then yesterday I happened to see that Twitter updated its icon and logo policies. Now they want only the bird, and not using the name Twitter or a “t” to represent the brand. You can read the full Logos & Brand page here. Check out the usage guidelines. Only the bird. Nothing else.

So I checked out Facebook’s branding policies again. Yep, there too does it make cutesy blogging social icons a no-no. Pretty clear there in the “f” Logo section where a big X is drawn over the wood tile or grassy circle icons. And from their FAQ:

Can I combine Facebook’s trademarks or logos with new terms or artwork to create my own marks and logos?

No. Mutilating Facebook’s logos or trademarks in order to create new, derivative marks can harm Facebook’s trademark rights. We cannot allow such modifications to our marks under any circumstances

Looks like all my awesome (for a semi-beginner) CSS is out. So are all the fun designs out there on vector image sites, free or paid.


no social.

So heads up to the bloggers and blog designers out there! There are so many cute sets of social icons on free icon sets, and many blog designers consider themed social icons a big part of site design. Unfortunately, to conform to respecting trademarks, this is off the table. I’ll be rebranding the social links on my sidebar today.





8 responses to “Social Media Icons – Legally!”

  1. darcie Avatar

    Here’s the Google+ information on the same topic! The “Do Not” section is pretty clear that other buttons than those provided by Google are not permitted.

  2. darcie Avatar

    And the Feed image, created by Mozilla, has guidelines at You may change the background color from the original orange, but they DO NOT want the rounded corners altered (to be squared) or the rounded square shape to be changed to say a circle or triangle or other shape.

  3. Edilene Avatar

    thanks for the post, it helped me a lot.

  4. Pam Avatar

    Thank you so much for this post!!! I was about to design my own icons, but now know not to. I don’t think this information is well known. I’d love for you to share this at our Ongoing linky that’s just for Blog Tips I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve pinned this.

    1. darcie Avatar

      My opinion on this definitely isn’t the consensus! I mentioned it to another large-scale blogger once when she released a custom set to readers, and all she did was change the Twitter T to a bird. So am I right? Who knows. But I think I’d rather try at least to do what seems to be right. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Pam Avatar

    Hi Darcie, I’ve featured your post today… Threading Your Way Features

  6. Joyce Cortes Mackenroth Avatar

    Thank you for sharing there 🙂 Last week, I changed all my social media icons properly. For my web designing business, I changed the same thing in order to avoid an violation of the copyrights and trademarks. I told my clients that I would not customize any social media icons.

    So some of the Etsy sellers did get a few warnings about custom social media icons but – sadly, few of them lost their shops due to the copyright infringement, that’s how Etsy shut their shops down.

    1. darcie Avatar

      Thanks for the comment, Joyce! I wrote about this over a year ago, so I had not seen the recent developments of people finally realizing the truth. I’d hate to see people shut down or sued for simply using the wrong images when it would be so easy to use the ones provided!

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