To use or not to use client logos in your marketing materials? That is the question.
Here’s the scenario: You’re designing a proposal and leadership insists that you include the client logo in the team organizational chart, or maybe on the cover. While it might look nice and in some cases flatter the client, did you ever think that that client might find your usage offensive? When you google image search a company (let’s say Coca-Cola for example), the results leave you with hundreds of images to choose from. But there are some things you should take into consideration before you are quick to Ctrl+C:
Offense No. 1
You copy the first logo you see, not paying attention to the source. If you are grabbing the logo from an unauthorized source, it may already be distorted in a number of ways (size, color, proportion, etc).
Offense No. 2
You copy the logo directly from the client, but do not give consideration to logo usage guidelines that may exist. If you take the time to look (or ask), you’ll most likely find a set of guidelines directing you how to use the logo in accordance with brand standards. Here are a few examples to check out:
Offense No. 3
You copy the logo and then distort it at your own discretion. Yes, it may look great with your graphics scheme to completely white out the logo in Photoshop, and then place it directly over your cover image. But what if the client already had a preferred greyscale image to use? You wouldn’t know had you not ever inquired. These unintentional one-offs can be very off putting.
I’ve come across this debate several times, and the best advice I have to offer is to put yourself in the client’s shoes. Would you want your company’s logo to be used and/or distorted without your permission? In my opinion – it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are not able to find guidelines, just ask. You never know what the conversation could lead to!