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Can Graphic Designers use free resources to create their own design (or most of it) instead of creating something from scratch?

What if I can't draw or have troubles to come up with completely new, original designs?

Is it fair to charge a client £300 for a logo design and use free resources to complete a logo? For example, using a free font and imagea from Freepik and assemble it into a logo.

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    If you can't draw, don't make logos! You can code, like me. There's enough talented creative people out there to handle the logo demand. – CodeAngry Jul 26 '15 at 15:36
  • Very bad idea. Read the terms, you usually cannot use these images and cannot guarantee to your clients they can trademark their logo: TERMS #7: The User may use the FreePik Content provided that it:.. (iv) does not resell, assign, transfer or sublicense the FreePik Content or any derived work from a FreePik Content, (v) does not use the FreePik Content in printed or electronic items aimed to be resold.. does not use the FreePik Content (totally or partially) in any trademark, logo or part of the same, of which may be used by any other mean... – go-junta Aug 6 '15 at 22:03
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The long and short if it is, it's about legal issues. Logos need to often be trademarked or registered. Using free resources often means the designer does not own the rights to the free item. So, rights certainly can't be provided to any client if the designer doesn't already own them. A copyright can not be acquired for something if you don't own the rights to it.

Most certainly don't want a logo that uses free resources which anyone can also use. This completely defeats the purpose of creating a unique identifier for the company. Any competitor can find, and use the same free items and dilute the brand. There's nothing which could be done about that.

So, while yes you could use free resources, it's just bad design or bad business if you do.

As for charging for a logo using free resources, the client may not be getting what they think they have legal rights to and the designer may be liable if they aren't disclosing everything properly. I am not an attorney though. Logo artwork should always be free and clear of any rights claims by others. Just because something is free to use, it does not mean there is no copyright on the item.

It is always best to create your own unique content for logos. Even if the idea or concept is similar to something else, original artwork is often a must for logo.

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First, most things in existence are copies of some idea or other. The skill to pick, search and match are worth while design skills*. In fact its often better to pick out things than to succumb to the not invented here syndrome.

Second, you can draw. Logos are very geometrical and usually quite simple. Since every 3-5 year old I've interacted with last 5 years has known how to draw so can you. You might not like what you see, but that's only a matter of practice**. Again no reason why you need to know how to draw but you do in general benefit from it. So it is worth developing, and certainly if you need to sell original works then this is a must.

Third, yes that's how business works. People pay for the information asymmetry. I fall for this same trap every day. But to make money you need to understand that the system helps you not to feel so guilty about this. And if you do feel bad learn to not feel others do not either. Your providing a service saving time, and thinking about the big picture.

* Though the better skill might be mix

** This explains it Nobody Tells This To Beginners (youtube) not the best source but the first one in my browser history on this subject.

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While not 'free' perhaps the 'cheapest' logo vs. size of company of recent memory is this one:

enter image description here

The twitter logo originated as a $6 piece of stock art. And, well, it actually worked out pretty good for them. It's been tweaked and customized since then but, hey, $6.

That said, that's perhaps the exception to the rule. There's nothing wrong with stock art or free design resources per se, and they are used quite a bit in logo design. But there's a lot to be said for custom work and using commercial licenses for typefaces and the like.

The main reason to opt for the latter:

  • less brand dilution. If you use free art in your logo, so can everyone else. You likely don't want a lot of other logos looking like yours confusing your customers
  • less likely to quickly look dated. The thing with free typefaces and stock art is that the really good stuff is the exception. So what it's the really good stuff that gets used a lot. Because of that, you tend to risk your design elements becoming overly-used during a span of time leading to it feeling dated quickly.
  • few options. This is just a practical issue. Constraints are good, but if you as a designer are restricting your work to only free design resources, you're simply going to reduce your creative output immensely and find yourself often cornered in a concept that you can't easily get out of due to your limited resources. Allowing yourself to find the right typeface or icon rather than the free typeface or icon will simply give you and your client a lot more freedom to nail the concept.

All that said, I've certainly used free typefaces in my logo designs. I try not to make that the only part of the design, though. I may modify it extensively, combine it with a custom icon, or pair it with other typefaces.

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    Realize that most stock art sites have specific clauses in their terms of use that state artwork can not be used as a logo. Twitter broke that license.... not sure if anything happened due to that, though. – Scott Jul 27 '15 at 6:30
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It is hard to create something completely unique and original. Every design is result of ideas and inspiration and other factors. Sometimes if you use free resources to use create design, it is more important if you manage to create "the message" and deliver what customer really needs and wants. It is a long process to create something completely unique an innovative and its takes many hours of studying the design, thinking, prototyping and so on... However, if any particular element is taken from somewhere else and included in your solution it is fair to says to customer the source, with explanation of the choice. Hope this helps.

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