I am creating a "logo" for a group of women who fly fish in Central Oregon. They are a small group that gets together within the larger club called Central Oregon Fly Fishers. In the past, they've used unattractive clip art for their group and I wanted to revamp the icon for them.

Essentially, I have chosen a stock mountain image, a stock fly rod image and a font that will be incorporated to create this icon. This icon will be used for hats, sweatshirts, gear, Facebook, website and handouts. There are so many uses that are approved (including some of the above) that I'm unsure when it is called a "logo"?

I don't want to get any surprise fines... but I also want to help them out without designing from scratch.enter image description here


2 Answers 2


If art contains any stock graphics - i.e. images which have either been purchased or downloaded from other sources... technically it will never be a logo in strictest terms, because you don't own the rights to the image(s). If you don't own the rights, you can't technically claim the rights and therefore call it a "logo" in the strictest sense. "Logos" customarily contain 100% original artwork, not composites of artwork owned by others. Of course, you can purchase unlimited rights to stock art, in which case, you would own the rights and therefore could legally claim the artwork as a "logo" or trademark.

You should also be aware that most (if not all) royalty free stock services expressly state that no image may used as a logo or trademark in part or whole. You may want to read the license agreement for wherever you got the stock images.

Wikipedia defines a logo as....

a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark).

Your described usage would certainly fall under the technical umbrella of a Logo to me... the fact that you do not own the rights means you may be in violation of any stock image service agreements and may be liable for misrepresenting artwork as original when it is not. The safest bet is always "start from scratch" if the intent is an actual Logo.

Now, that being posted... you can call anything a "logo" in general terms. It's only when you try and copyright, trademark, or prevent anyone else from using the artwork that my initial paragraph here matters. Or when someone else realizes you've used their artwork in an unlicensed manner.

  • TY, that makes sense. W/Canva images I am looking at purchasing the Extended License. It states proper uses as: invitations, advertising, promo projects, printed materials, product packaging, presentations, film & video presentations, commercials, catalogs, brochures, cards for promo &/or resale, no reproduction quantity limit; social media; apps, books, covers, magazines, newspapers, editorials, newsletters, video, online & electronic publications, web pages, blogs, ebooks, videos, prints, posters, reproductions for personal or promotional purposes, resale, license & other distribution. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:07
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    Well, that still doesn't seem to list unlimited rights, just unlimited reproduction. They are different. Typically if a "license" is involved you won't own the rights. Most stock services give you an option to purchase unlimited rights above and beyond any "extended" licensing.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:09
  • @MakaylaWalters: What rules would apply to the glyphs in a font like Wingdings, or to things like smiley faces, musical notes, etc. that appear in various mosty-text fonts?
    – supercat
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 22:59

There's a licensing agreement for stock art & it says what it can be used for. Usually, you buy the kind of licensing that allows you to sell it in a logo design & then you're covered. As for the font, you usually tell the client to purchase a license.

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