When using crowd-sourced logo design sites, what do I need to worry about regarding font licensing?


I am using a crowd-sourced site to design my logo (examples of such sites: 99 Designs and Crowdspring ). The way these sites work is you put up a prize (say, $200) and then several different designers submit candidate designs, from which you choose one.

In my case, the logo is a fairly simple design-- the name of the company in a certain font and then a few shapes.

My question is this: are there any legal concerns related to font licensing in logos? Assuming the designer has licensed the font, am I able to use the logo provided as is without any further license agreements?

Legal Logo Crowdsourcing

asked Nov 10 '12 at 03:45
Patrick Kenny
277 points
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3 Answers


I'm a font designer and my question is, what is it you are having delivered to you?

  1. If it is a graphic (bitmapped) image at several sizes there are no licensing concerns.
  2. If it is a vector based image where everything has been converted to vectors, there is no licensing issue.
  3. If it is a vector based logo with embedded fonts there may be a licensing issue. My font designs prohibit this usage unless you own a copy of the font. Some fonts licenses allow for this. Many don't.
answered Nov 10 '12 at 08:10
Gary E
12,510 points
  • Thanks for your answer. In this case, I'll be receiving a Photoshop PSD and JPEG files. – Patrick Kenny 11 years ago
  • Do #1 and #2 still apply even if the designer pirated the fonts he used to make your logo? – Mike Deck 11 years ago


As Gary said, if the wordmark is just an image, you usually don't have to deal with copyright problems since most font licenses are triggered only if you download the full font.

If you have to download the font, then the answer depends on the license terms of the specific third-party font that has been used. For example, this font license is non-transferable, so even if the guy who designed your logo paid for it, you have to buy your own copy. This other license, on the other hand, allows for use in client projects (this one is for icons but it's comparable).

This is not legal advice, etc. etc.

answered Nov 13 '12 at 03:10
829 points


Unfortunately, though crowd-sourcing logo design is great, there is the risk of designer using unlicensed and non-public domain font. You may want to ask designers to refrain from using fonts that require a license. Ideally they will create their own style font.

That said, this is your public image, so I would bump up the budget closer to $1K ($500 often does OK, but above that brings better designers).

answered Nov 10 '12 at 04:28
Apollo Sinkevicius
3,323 points

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Legal Logo Crowdsourcing