Is it standard practice to create negative copies of a companies logo if they don't provide one.

I'm asking as I'm creating a website which will have a companies page where I would like to list the companies I have worked for as B/W logos (and color when hovered over).


  • What do you mean by negative? Are you using it the same way as it's used in photography? Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 4:15

2 Answers 2


"negative" and "black and white" are not synonyms.

Many companies have a 1-color version of their logo for things like cardboard boxes and any collateral where it is a waste of money to print more colors. It may not be used often.

However, it sounds like you are asking whether you can or should do it. The answer is: in general you are free to do whatever you want and they are free to complain about it.

One might argue that it is their property, but you probably have a fair use case considering it is for self promotion and it is specifically tied to your employment history, and you are altering them (original derivative work).

If there is going to be a problem it will be with the use of the logo at all and not an "unapproved" style faux pas.


Depends. Some Logos are not supposed to be used in negative which is usually stated in the corporate identity manuals. Many are though.

Rule of thumb: If they don't use it in b/w or negative in publications it is probably not intended to.

  • 1
    KMSTR: I understand what you mean by your second paragraph, but it's always possible that you as a designer simply haven't found the instance where the company logo IS in reverse. I would instead reach out to the company (starting with the website) and try to find the corporate ID manual, to see if such an instance has been created and approved. Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 10:09
  • 1
    I feel like it tried to say exactly that in my first paragraph.
    – KMSTR
    Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 10:29
  • Sorry, then it wasn't clear. I read "if they don't use it in B/W or negative" as "if you don't see it in the real world printed that way," not "if they don't provide it in the manual." Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 17:39

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