Some time ago, I wrote a post about if and how you can use Canva images on your blog.
Apparently, this was a question that quite a few Canva users like you and me are asking every day; it didn’t take long for that post to become one of the most visited and most commented posts on Maker’s Aid.
In the comments, a reader of that post asked a question about the logo templates in Canva. Since a logo is such an essential part of your brand identity and online presence, I thought the topic deserved a post of its own. And, after weeks of procrastinating, I finally found the inspiration to write it.
The question is, “Can you use Canva’s logo templates to create a logo for your website or blog?”
The answer is “yes,” you can… with a few caveats.
Canva allows you to use logos created with the Free and Pro templates for both personal and commercial use. However, you cannot trademark a logo created with a Canva template, and anyone else can use that template to create a logo of their own.
To remove any doubt among, if your blog is monetized with display ads, affiliate programs, and/or you sell your own products or services on it, you generally can create a templated Canva logo for it as you are allowed to use it commercially.
According to Canva’s “Licensing Explained” page, you can even sell merchandise, such as T-shirts, cups, posters, and what-nots, with your logo on it (as long as your audience is willing to buy it and you can pull it off logistics wise).
Of course, certain limitations, which we’ll talk about in a moment, apply. And, before you proceed, it’s important that you understand and accept them.
Canva is a fantastic design tool, especially if you are just starting out, because it lets you do most of the design work yourself.
As long as you educate yourself on how to choose and combine colors and fonts, you can save a lot of money and time from otherwise having to work with an agency or freelance designer.
For the new business owner, that’s time that can be better spent building out your website or blog, and money for hiring others that you may or may not have.
That design work includes almost anything imaginable, from images for Facebook links and Pinterest pins to flyers, infographics, and, lately, logos.
Creating logos in Canva is easy. Simply open Canva Logo Maker, choose a design from the hundreds of Canva templates, customize the text and color to your taste, and you’re pretty much ready to go.
You can export the logo in the size and format you need and use it for free and commercial purposes as you like.
That convenience, however, comes at a few trade-offs.
Templated Logos Are Non-Exclusive
Think of Canva as “the design tool of the people.”
The templates that you see can also be seen—and used by—everyone else who uses the Free or the Pro version of Canva. In legal speech, they are granted to you under a non-exclusive license.
In rare cases, this can cause headaches for your brand and business. Let’s imagine that, some time in the near future, someone wants to start a blog or website in the same niche as you, and they like a logo template at least as much as you do.
Maybe they don’t really know that your blog or website exists, and that it’s using the same logo template in the same niche. Or maybe they do, and they’d like to piggyback on your already-established name and authority.
A highly hypothetical situation, I know. But it’s a jungle out there, and things like this can (and do) happen.
The fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t really be able to do much about it since neither of you is violating anyone’s exclusive rights. You both used a template under a non-exclusive license!
What you can do about it:
If you like a logo template and you are willing to use it under a non-exclusive license, customize that template as much as possible. Don’t just limit yourself to changing the text and colors: change the size and position and angle of shapes, try out new fonts, add or remove a shape or two.
This way, even if others use the same template for their logo as you did, your logo will still look unique and different in the eyes of your readership.
Templated Logos Cannot Be Trademarked
If you create a logo for your blog or website using a logo template in Canva’s Logo Maker, you can’t register that logo as a trademark.
The reason behind that is simple: That logo isn’t something that you designed from scratch yourself—or that you hired a professional to design from scratch for you. Instead, you used a template granted to you under non-exclusive rights.
What you can do about it:
If you design an original logo from scratch in Canva and you use 1) the basic lines and shapes from the Canva Free library and 2) any of the fonts in Canva, you can create a trademarkable logo.
At least that’s how I interpret the “Design an original logo from scratch in Canva” section on the “Trademarking logos created on Canva” page in the tool’s Help Center.
It goes without saying that this is just one step in the process of creating a trademarkable logo—and there’s a lot of research and consultations you will need to do along the way if you decide to register your logo as a trademark for your business.
Or you can start with a templated logo now and rebrand later only if and when doing so starts to make sense.