With social networking playing an increasingly important role in so many of our businesses and organizations, you won’t be alone in wondering which social icons you can print onto your promotional merchandise.
I receive enquiries daily from people who want to promote their social pages on business gifts but there are strict guidelines to follow. In some cases such as Google Plus and LinkedIn, it is simply not allowed!
We’ve probably all seen people showing off their latest mobile phone cover or cap featuring their logo next to a G+, Twitter and/or Facebook logo. In most cases this merchandise looks great. But they could be asking for trouble and even financial loss. With this article, I aim to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
I have also included links to the branding guideline pages of each social network for further reading.
It is not permitted to use the G+ logo on your own printed merchandise. As much as you may enjoy being part of this exciting new network, don’t go to the expense of plastering the logo on the front of your corporate shirts unless you receive written approval from Google first. I have heard of permission being granted in some cases though have never printed or embroidered the logo for our customers.
You can visit Google’s branding guidelines page here.
Twitter is very clear on what is and is not permitted when using their logo. You can even download the logo on their site and view graphics of how the logo can be printed. You can visit their branding guideline page here.
Important points are shown below.
1.) It is generally not permitted to use the Twitter Bird on promotional merchandise though you can use it on product packaging.
2.) It is permitted to use the Twitter logo on other advertising and marketing material.
3.) The Twitter logo may not be larger than your own logo.
4.) The Twitter logo must be accompanied with a clear call to action to follow your company such as “follow us on Twitter”.
5.) You are only allowed to use the current Twitter logo and this must be printed in the Twitter corporate blue or white. No other Twitter logo versions may be used.
6.) There must be a 200% buffer zone around the bird. Again, this needs to be accompanied with a clear call to action to follow you.
You are allowed to use the Facebook logo on printed merchandise but you do need to stick to the rules. You can find Facebook’s Dos and Don’ts guidelines here.
Key points are as follows:
1.) Use the “f” logo to show your presence on Facebook or use of content or products that originated on Facebook.
2.) When printing the “f” logo onto merchandise, it must be accompanied with a clear call to action such as “Follow us on Facebook”. Do not simply print the logo on its own.
3.) The logo must be printed in Facebook’s corporate blue on light backgrounds. If printing onto dark backgrounds where it could be difficult to print in blue you may print the white version. If printing in blue onto a light background is not a possibility, you can use the black version of the logo.
4.) You may not modify the logo in any other way.
From what I have found, it is quite easy to use the YouTube logo on promotional merchandise. I recommend checking out their guidelines for yourself but it appears you can use the current horizontal logo. You may also use the old stacked logo if it is necessary – print area etc.
Unlike the other major social networks, however you are not allowed to use the logo in a call for action.
If you use a call to action, it must be in text without the logo. You may not print ‘Follow my (YOUTUBE LOGO) channel’. You may print “Follow my YouTube Channel”.
As with the other social networks, you are not allowed to change the logo in any way.
Pinterest appears to be very keen for you to promote your Pinterest account. They offer very clear brand guidelines on their site.
As long as you don’t manipulate the Pinterest logo in any way and you don’t imply that Pinterest is sponsoring your promotion, you should be okay.
Forget it. You may not print the Linkedin logo on any promotional material.
I hope this information has helped you decide how best to promote your brand’s social presence with promotional products. When in doubt, you can visit the links listed above. Also, any good business gifts supplier should know all the regulations very well by now.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
By Dan Toombs