I'm not a designer but I know how to use some of the programs. I've done some """"designing"""" for several projects (either mine or for some friends/family) and mostly I inspire in someone else's design to achieve something of my own.

This time, someone requested a logo pretty much EXACTLY equal to one of the example ideas I sent him to check out:


He wants the colors changed and some minor stuff but, essentially, it's the same.

Is it even legal to use it? I don't see any copyright claims nor legal information available on dribble.


3 Answers 3


Concepts or ideas can't be copyrighted. However, how that concept or idea is rendered can be copyrighted.

Unless otherwise clearly stated, practically everything you see or hear created in the last 75 years is copyrighted. There's no requirement to state something is copyrighted for it to be copyrighted. Art is copyrighted the moment it is created.

So, the concept of an animal peeking its head out of water is not something which can be protected. If your client wants a tiger, bear, baby, cyborg, etc... looking above water... then you would be fine exploring that idea.

Where you run into possible infringement is when you look at that sample, and try to mimic the way water is conveyed, the coloring, the depth of the head.. essentially anything similar can be seen as derivative work and therefore a possible infringement.

If the client is dead set on duplicating someone else's design, one possible aspect to convey to a client would to ask why they want a logo that is similar to another logo? The purpose of a logo is to be a unique identifier and merely copying some other logo defeats that entirely.

If I were to have a client dead set on replicating the artwork of someone else, I'd decline the project.

Non-profit, or not-for-pofit, organizations are bound by the same laws as any other organization. There is no legal "free use" clause merely because an organization is classified as "non-profit" for tax purposes. Infringement is infringement -- the tax structure of an organization does not change that fact.


Yes, using this would be illegal. How so depends on your relationship and how it would be used.

Somehow I missed the part in the title that said 'for a company logo'
Definitely, don't do this. Contact the designer and negotiate a rate for the use of his design. Failing that, design something else.

If it's for personal use (ie. invites to a small birthday party) you may find it unlikely to cause an issue (although still against copyright).
If it's for any public/commercial use (business logo, a flyer about a music gig, t-shirt design) then you are opening yourself and your friend up to legal issues.

  • That designer is still active on dribbble, I suggest you contact him and ask about your intended use.
    – Luke
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 4:30

I realise this is an old question and I'm very late to the party, but the answer is no. The image is copyright.

This is the relevant quote from the Dribble Terms of Service page. It really couldn't be more clear.

All Content uploaded are copyright © their respective owners.

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