Corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and even some individuals brand themselves with a specific set of colors and a type font or two and a logo. Usually those entities want the general public to use their logo, etc, as such use can mean free publicity. And certainly in the world of blogs and social networks we see the use – and abuse – of organizational branding all over the web. But the fact is, almost any organization that took the time to develop a color scheme, logo, or other materials also worked with their design consultants to develop a style guide. Such style guides usually include a cease-and-desist claim on any one who improperly uses their materials.
Facebook has such a style guide, and many of us stay pretty close to it, probably without realizing it. But what can we do, and not do, with Facebook’s materials when we download or cut-and-paste from the wealth of materials that are online?
The social-media mega site provides its guidelines within its site for anyone to access (even if you are not a member). Some of its expectations we all pretty much follow out of habit, for example: the term ‘Facebook’ must always be capitalized and can not be amalgamated with other words. But did you know that Facebook does not want us to use the term as a verb? Sure many do, but Facebook has the right to slap down a strongly worded letter from their lawyers if you do so on your organization’s site. Moreover, if you link the word ‘Facebook’, the link must only go to Facebook.com, not to any page within the site.
If you want to use Facebook’s logos, they can be found in many online and print-ready formats here. Only two are considered official (though the ‘Like’ button is also available on the page linked above): the white ‘facebook’ on blue rectangle and the white ‘f’ on a light blue line on the same blue square (yes, lowercase ‘f’ in both cases − go figure). But Zuckerberg’s organization is fairly lenient in terms of where you place the logos (except where gambling and pornography are concerned). For example:
- You must keep sufficient space around our Brand Assets so they appear clean and uncluttered.
- You may not combine our Brand Assets, or elements of our Brand Assets, with your own name or mark or generic terms.
- Do not use trademarks, logos, or other content that is confusingly similar to the Brand Assets.
Some style guides demand a precise space around a logo and even how text should be aligned or wrapped around it.
If you are considering advertising via Facebook, the standards are rather more strict and delineated.
The guidelines are there for a reason. Don’t get the world’s largest social network on your case because you are flaunting their branding. And by the way, your organization has created a style guide as well, right?