Who owns the copyright of my new logo or brand?

Copyright is a form of ‘Intellectual Property’ generated through intellectual or creative activity and like all property you can lease it, license it, inherit it, sell it or give it away! Copyright material cannot usually be used without the owner’s permission. Copyright applies to any medium, meaning that you must not reproduce copyright-protected work in another medium without permission.

Graphic designers often supply two or three variations on a theme and clients work on a ‘pick’ ‘n’ ‘mix’ basis when choosing their preferred elements. Initial designs are mostly computer generated and the artwork sent by email, so what’s to stop you from just using it?

In this article, we explore at what point in time do you actually own your professionally-designed logo device or business brand.

Rules and Registration

The general rule is that the creative designer is the first owner of copyright and ownership is only transferable at the time of purchase if copyright ownership is included in the transaction.

Currently, there is no official registration system and copyright protection in the UK is automatic. It arises as soon as the ‘work’ is first written down, recorded or stored in a computer memory. There are no forms to fill in, no fees to pay and copyright of a creative work lasts until 70 years after the death of the creator!

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is responsible for the regulatory framework of protection covering designs, trademarks and copyright. Copyright protection is being modernised for the digital age and the IPO has published a Copyright Notice (March 2014) covering the use of images and photos on the Internet.


In some countries it is compulsory to mark creative work with the internationally recognised © mark followed by the designer’s name and year of creation. Although this is not a requirement in the UK, it does provide automatic copyright protection in certain countries and the practice is now widely adopted in the UK in case action is needed against someone using the ‘work’ without permission or purchase. Graphic designers take copyright violation very seriously and any infringement may result in legal action being taken.

Transfer of Ownership

Nobody likes to read the ‘small print’, but graphic designers make it quite clear that artwork remains the property of the designer until payment is received in full. At that point in time copyright ownership is transferred and final artwork is supplied in the most appropriate electronic format for the specified application, whether it’s a stationery suite or website.

A professional graphic designer in Essex, such as Dan Summers Design, will supply high-quality final artwork in multiple formats to suit all the likely mediums meaning that you’re likely to save money in the long term, even if you go to a different graphic design company!

Contact Dan Summers Design today on 01245 465324 for more information on professional logo, brand, marketing materials and website design and the benefits it can bring your business or organisation.

Dan Summers

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