Social Media Icon Customization (Hint: Don't Do It!)

Custom social media icons that are branded to match your blog or business may look great but are they really worth the hassle? After all, just by tweaking that Twitter blue you are infringing on someone elses copyright! Continue reading now to see how I discovered this issue and how I fixed it.

Let's get real here for a second and talk about the social media legalities that everyone knows about yet no one wants to openly discuss. 

Your custom social media icons are not legal.

 

There I said it. I identified the white elephant in the room. 

Over the weekend I changed up my client packages and plans and prices to reflect a few new services I will be offering her in the design studio. I also completely removed the option of purchasing custom icons as part of my packages. And from my Etsy shop.

Why?

Because we can all be sued. And I don't know about all of you but keeping my business both legal and up and running is something I very much want to make happen. I also don't have time to fight an essentially losing battle in court. And I am sure you don't either. 

Each platform of social media that you all use (and I use as well) to promote your blog posts and your businesses have very strict guidelines for what you are and are not allowed to do to their visual property. In the midst of branding our blogs and businesses we tend to forget that we do not own the networks that we share on. It's easy to get caught up with sharing and networking and so we seek to make our own sites memorable. But just because we own the content on the site does not mean that we own the images of the networks we use. And we have no right to alter their logos in any way. 

And let's face it, when you take the time to create a logo or graphic, you really don't want anyone to come along and change it to use on their blog or business page, do you? Why why have we all (I'm just as guilty here) done it to the major players in the social media world?

To make our own blogs look prettier? That's hardly an excuse if I come to your blog and rip off your logo, changing the name and tagline and decreeing it my own.

Now I am not going to go on and on and on about the legalities. You can just as easily check each of your social platforms. It's all right there in their terms of use (the ones you agreed on when creating an account). I'm simply going to say that these major companies are cracking down. And hard. Businesses, Etsy Shops and, yes, even blogs are being sent cease & desist letters and if they are ignored, these places on the world wide web are being yanked down for copyright infringement. 

Funny story: 

I had a client tell me she wanted the "official" social media icons and I laughed off her concerns. Although I gave her what she wanted and made her icons basic and standard from the various networks she used, I also went about my business designing and creating pretty icons to sell on Etsy to supplement my design business. I must have spend around sixteen hours hopping from program to program, cutting, pasting, overlaying; everything to get the perfect social icon set for those looking to purchase them as vectors. Guess what? Within a month of listing all these gorgeous social media icons, every one of them were ripped down for violating Facebooks T&C. 

I kid you not!

This is very real folks. 

As a result, I am no longer selling custom social media icons. Not on my Etsy Shop and not with any design package. I will apologize for any inconvenience this may cause my amazing and wonderful clients. 

And I highly suggest that you all stop, check out the legalities for yourself and then change your icons asap. 

This doesn't mean you are without options. So long as you use the "official" logos and/or colors, you will be fine. solid black or white are perfectly legal and acceptable and I have some really great new alternatives rolling out very soon, so stay tuned!

In the meantime folks, get legal, stay legal and let's all avoid those infringement letters, shall we? ;)

Until next time readers,

Elle'sSignature
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Elle Ay Esse

I'm Elle, a California girl transplanted to the Midwest with a goal of landing in New Orleans some time in the next five years. I'm self taught in all aspects of design, harking back to the bygone era of MySpace custom flash layouts. I have an eye for pattern and a love for color that makes me a perfect candidate for working as a web designer. Combining my love of design with coding and helping others and I am a natural teacher of all things blog related. My first ever blog was created on AOL Hometowns back n 2003 so I have had a lot of time and experience watching Blog Land grow and evolve and become a place of sharing stories, reviewing products and even making enough money to help support their families.