Clip art is everywhere today. There are dozens of paid clipart collections on line that add clip art to their library every month or in some cases every day. Topping that off there are thousands more clip art collections that offer their limited libraries free of charge in hopes of sending people on the paid collections and earning a commission for their efforts.

This wide variety of available clip art is a great thing for people who need to grab a simple image to use to illustrate their web page, flier, newsletter or other publication. They can simply log into one of the clip arts collections, whether they choose to use a free clip art image or to pay to get a higher quality image, and search for a clip art graphic that meets their needs. Then it is a simple matter of adding the image to their document.

Users of Microsoft products even have access to many high quality royalty free clip art graphics that they can use in their publications without having to pay any additional fees at all. That’s great if you need a quick cheap illustration or decoration, but does it work if you need a logo?

Legal Aspects of Using Clip Art For Logos

The very idea of using clip art for logos is full of danger and problems. Numerous things can go very wrong when you use a clip art image whether it is from a free or a paid clip art site to base your logo on.

The first big problem is that these images are usually copyrighted. Even the ones that claim to be in the public domain are usually actually copyrighted. Unless you do a copyright search with the government there is no way for you to be certain that an image is not someone else’s copyright. With the stigma and severe penalties that can arise from a copyright violation, especially if you try to use the image as your logo, it just isn’t worth the risk.

Leaving the copyright issue aside, most of these sites have terms of use page, or an end user license agreement page that almost no one ever reads. That’s a big problem too, because most of the EULA pages specifically forbid the use of the images in logos or in identity creation (which is another way of saying logo). Even among those that do not forbid use of clip arts as logos, they nearly always forbid commercial use. You are only allowed to use the image for non-profit generating activities, and logos are all about generating profit.

Practical Concerns of Using Clip Art For Logos

Beyond the legal concerns of using clip arts as logos, there is the practical question of whether they even work as a logo. The purpose of your logo is to create a unique and distinctive brand identity. When you use clip art for your logo any number of other people can and probably are using the same image for their logo too. This dilutes the branding effect and message of your logo and defeats the whole purpose.

The best thing to do is hire a professional logo designer to design your logo. This way you have a unique brand identification perfectly tailored to represent your business. Forget using clip art for your logo.


My God you people are amazing! I'm going to have to get some help on this...I can't decide because they're all so great. I'll let you know.

Thanks so much Lilian!!! Wow!!!

JD - Greenergy2030 Certified Business

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