I have a few payment brand images that need to go in the footer of a website, the footer is very dark grey, to the point where making the logos grey-scale wouldn't be much of a good idea, especially as we still need the logos to stand out.

For example I took the following logo: enter image description here

And changed it to fit with our very dominant red theme:

enter image description here

Is this good in terms of the user's perspective? Is this legal or misrepresenting the brand? If so is completely changing a logo to white acceptable for dark backgrounds?

  • 19
    I dont think it's a good practice. You should follow branding of the logo. Which always has white/black logo option. Also I dont think that payment logo need to stand out :)
    – wyy
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:09
  • 19
    No, you can't do this. Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:33
  • 18
    Removing the colours for a black/white version is one thing. Actually remaking the logo with different colours and fonts as you've done here not only goes against the branding guidelines, but could very likely be considered plagiarism and copyright infringement, which is something that can have legal ramifications for you/your company. Never do that. Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 14:04
  • 3
    When I worked for AT&T, not only would we get in trouble if we wanted to change the color of the logo from blue to something else, we'd get in trouble if we used the wrong shade of blue. There is an official AT&T blue, and being off by even one bit would cause copyright lectures.
    – azurefrog
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 18:32
  • 2
    I suggest you rethink the branding. Your logo and website style should have some represent consistent brand identity
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 19:34

6 Answers 6



In case that wasn't clear: don't do this. Never change colours in a logo of a third party yourself.

Any good logo has alternatives with less or secondary colours, or even a negative (light for on dark background). Use that. As Billy Kerr suggests, many big companies have dedicated download packs with all kinds of alternatives for you to use. They usually don't take kindly to you not following those guidelines and versions.

The only exception I could think of is the use of social media icons, and even that is a grey area. Even those companies would rather have you not use re-coloured versions of their logos, but these are ignored so commonly, that, at least in my mind, it's at least somewhat okay.

Should an identity not have such alternatives, making the logo completely white or completely black is a somewhat less correct but acceptable compromise. In this case, contacting their marketing department might be a good idea.

  • 9
    Not having explicit permission can be a trademark infringement case as well. And yes, people do sometimes ignore it, but it doesn't make it legal, and the repercussions could be severe.
    – phyrfox
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 20:35
  • 2
    The most immediate is they can kick you off their service. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 20:49

I think you should follow the official Sage guidelines. I'm sure you don't want to risk upsetting your service provider by messing around with their branding.

On the Sage Pay website they say "Basic guidelines need to be respected when using the Sage Pay logo and payment type graphics" - source: https://www.sagepay.co.uk/logo-download-centre

There are choices there which should suit your website. The reversed out one in the green rectangle looks like a good choice if you want the logo to stand out.

These logos form part of their branding. It's Sage's choice to allow certain limited variations, and not others.


Absolutely not. I've read a lot of "how to use our logo" guidelines, and every single one forbids this. They provide a variety of official alternate-form logos, which are specifically to solve your problem.

Besides, sticking out isn't necessarily a problem. You are also presuming people recognize the logo by shape, not color: you may want to, um, reexamine heh, that presumption. Color is more potent than shape.

enter image description here enter image description here

You may find their Terms of Use forbids this, and they will tell you to knock it off if they catch you. Given what they do, the obvious "ultimate consequence" is to expel you from their service. (at which point you'd have no right to use the mark).

  • 3
    Are you sure you're allowed to modify the McD and Apple logos that way? ;-) Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 17:07
  • 1
    @MahmoudAl-Qudsi What? I got them off their websites! Their websites on parallel Earth-24592, the alternate reality in which all logos are terrible. On that planet, the Yahoo and Cisco logos are the same, except they never changed theirs. Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 17:58
  • 3
    I'm not sure those images illustrate color being more potent, than shape, though - those are incredibly distinctive shapes.
    – Darren
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 19:41
  • @Darren I did a bit of a double-take when I saw the M, and if it was in the sponsor section of a website, I might have dismissed the idea that it was the McDonald's logo. The apple, on the other hand, has had enough different official and unofficial color variations that I would be surprised if someone didn't recognize it in any color. Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:10

An acceptable compromise in this regard is to completely white / black out the outline of the logo to match what you're going for. You shouldn't compromise their trade dress (color choice / font / kerning), is the guiding principal for my moral compass when it comes to that sort of decision.


You can't change the colour of the logo except you want to make it only black on a white background and vise versa

  • Welcome to GD.SE. I'm afraid this answer really needs fleshing out. Why can't you? Who says so? What about colour on a reversed background (that is, put a coloured logo in a white box on a dark site)? Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 7:46

Absolutely you can use Black / White / Grey Scales only as an option to the real brand color. :)

  • 3
    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Do you have evidence to back up your assertion? Many brand guidelines do not allow black and white/greyscale versions of their logos (including the Sage Pay example in this question), but instead insist that users follow their brand guidelines.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 11:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.