Use of logos for conceptual work

I’ve got two questions which fit in with each other around the use of logos:

  1. I recently designed a rebranded logo for my work, however, they then decided they’d like to keep the current logo. Can I use my rebranded concept for my online portfolio? Whilst it has the same name, I’ve changed the colors and shape so it bears no resemblance. If not, would I be able to make up a name and use the logo for that, as a ‘conceptual’ brand?

  2. Similiar to the first question. I’ve designed 3 conceptual websites as a personal design project for big brands. When using their logos online should I clarify this is only a conceptual project and I in no way have anything to do with the company

Thanks! :smiley:

Uh… yeah. You should absolutely clear about this. In fact, you might want to remove the big brand name, and replace with “Company Name.” Definitely label it as a personal project. Or school project.

One of the biggest problems every designer faces is in working with clients who do their best to undermine our best efforts. As a result, we all have work that would have turned out better if not for the less-than-inspired contributions from clients.

The main purpose of your portfolio is to display what you’re capable of doing. A few unpublished or unused pieces in your portfolio is just fine as long as you’re honest regarding the story behind them.

Every good art director will understand how one’s best work is often not used, and will appreciate the story behind it as an indicator of how you, as a potential employee or contractor, deal with these kinds of frustrating situations

Most potential clients you show your portfolio to won’t see the distinction anyway, so it really doesn’t matter anyway, as long as you’re honest about the whole thing.

Too many unpublished pieces in a portfolio sends the wrong signal, and might suggest a problem with your ideas never quite working out for some reason. A few of them, though, doesn’t seem to be a problem. For that matter, they’re opportunities for a good story about your seasoned experience with the realities of the profession.

A public, online portfolio presents additional problems where you need to exercise even more care in case the original client stumbles across the work and takes issue with it being online.

I feel it is OK to use unused logos in your portfolio, but it would be better if you changed the name of the company.

The conceptual stuff is OK but if the companies are well known brands in a newbie’s portfolio, it can be a distraction. For example, I’ve seen a few too many student portfolios with pieces for companies like Nike and Coca-Cola. Because the brands are so well known, it’s really obvious when someone has absolutely no idea about staying within corporate guidelines or at least a believable style.

Almost an anti-portfolio piece, would you say?

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