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The Facebook Do's and Don'ts say that I'm not allowed to modify the logo.

I don't want to modify the logo, I just want to use the white 'f' without the blue backdrop. Does anyone know if this is permitted? I can't speak legal-ese!

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    Removing the blue IS modifying the logo. – Scott Jan 30 '15 at 3:50
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    It's also interesting to note that some large projects, like Fontawesome, don't seem to care about this. – filoxo Jan 30 '15 at 23:44
  • @filoxo Ah, so if you use a font that modified the logo they have nothing on you? aka the font modified it... – Mateo Jan 31 '15 at 1:31
  • Context is everything. Are you asking how to do it for your own use? Are you asking if you legally can for client use? Is this to advertide Facebook? Is this to advertise something unrelated to facebook? We need a lot more information. – DA01 Feb 2 '15 at 21:05
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What you'd like to do falls under "don't".

From page 68 of the Facebook Product Assets and Identity Guide:

DON'T

Modify the “f” logo in any way, such as changing design or color. If you are unable to use the correct color due to technical limitations, you may revert to black and white.

Snippet of branding guideline

Cutting the 'f' away from the backdrop is definitely an alteration.

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    "From page 68" = The first rule of brand guidelines: If you expect people to follow them, don't make them 68 pages long. :) – DA01 Feb 2 '15 at 21:15
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Removing is modifying

Of course you'd be modifying the logo: you're taking away a fundamental piece of the design. Facebook would be overjoyed if the internet promoted their brand exactly as they've spec'd it. They paid a lot of money for that style guide!

But social media is an unruly space

With the internet as your defense attorney, you can establish precedent for all manner of social media icon usage. The stuff you quote is a style guide, not a contract. If you think you can use a lonely 'f' without confusing your users, no one is going to stop you.

Just ask the fine folks at IconFinder. I'm sure they get plenty of downloads on these blatant mutilations of Facebook's guidelines. Probably not a good idea, but that's what keeps the interwebs eclectic.

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Disclaimer

You mention needing help with the "legalese". That implies that you're afraid of getting sued. Welcome the modern world. As corporations like Facebook have shown before, you can be sued for anything. They may or may not have a case, but they have enough money to send an army of unscrupulous lawyers your way. But that's not really the point, is it?

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  • So what you're saying is that I can use an "f" from some random font and that's okay, but I can't use THE facebook 'f'? – wadda_wadda Jan 30 '15 at 17:36
  • @Dom If I were Facebook, I'd be inclined to think the opposite - an icon which incorporates the logo into some other element to match a set is clearly its own design, but using the wrong colours or dimensions is just getting the branding wrong, like calling them Face-Book or something. But changing both things (the font and the presentation) is probably safest, if you can still make the reference clear enough to the user. – IMSoP Jan 30 '15 at 18:52
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    Apparently sense of humor is low this week. My point is that people do all sorts of awful things to social icons. Personally, I stick as close the the original as possible, with a little normalization to make them sit well together. But if you want to violate their rules, you're the designer incorporating a service. This isn't heart surgery folks. – plainclothes Feb 2 '15 at 16:27
  • Point taken. Apparently my sarcasm was set to 'kill' that day. I've toned it down a few notches. – plainclothes Feb 2 '15 at 19:33
  • @Dom but there is also the real issue being shown here that it's not just about Facebook's brand. Yes, Facebook would love it if everyone used their official brand guidelines. But if someone is using Facebook as a social media tool on their own site, perhaps their own brand guidelines have some say as well. It's a legitimate weighing of two competing brand guidelines. I wouldn't say there's anything dodgy at all in the context of plainclothes' answer. – DA01 Feb 2 '15 at 21:10

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