If you plan to engage in relaxed, direct communication with your customers, you need to make it easy for them to find you. That’s where social media icons come into play. Not only are they instantly recognizable, but you can use them to link directly to your social media channels cleanly and efficiently.
Unfortunately, you can’t just fire up Google and do a quick image search.
Not because you can’t find dazzling icon sets; you can. But, you’ll also find plenty of former icons and icons that require attribution, and, finally, a few icons that constitute copyright infringement.
The social media platforms have enforceable brand guidelines in place to help them protect the icons that are, in fact, registered trademarks. While you are unlikely to find yourself in legal trouble over an animated thumbnail, it can suggest a lack of professionalism. This can be particularly damaging if you’re a social media professional.
The best place to find free social media icons is from the platform itself. We put together this list of approved social media icons and what you should know before you start using them.
Social media icons are an effective method for directing your users towards your social media pages. However, you will need to follow the brand guidelines if you want to use the icons correctly.
The guidelines cover essential details like sizes, colors, and even how to refer to the social media platform when using the icons. If you follow the brand guidelines, then you will have an idea for using social media icons in the following ways:
We included Facebook at the top because they’ve recently changed their social media icon’s design to a new color with a rounded shape.
If Facebook blue clashes with your design, you can use the black and white icons included in the asset pack. However, Facebook also includes a grey icon in their asset pack despite not mentioning it as an official color.
Beyond these color schemes, Facebook does have other guidelines for representing the app on your page. You should pay particular attention to the approved phrases and copy standards.
As a general rule, you should use the ultraviolet gradient to encourage direct communication via Facebook’s popular instant message platform. However, you can revert to the solid black icon if you have technical or design limitations.
While the Messenger brand guidelines are similar to the main Facebook platform, there are some significant differences to keep in mind:
Instagram, like Messenger, has a simple approach to logo colors and your options for using them.
The critical point concerns the multicolored Instagram icon. You can only use the multicolored icon when you are referring to the app. For any other use, like advertising your profile, you must use the Instagram glyph.
However, you do have the freedom to choose the glyph’s color. While the recommended use is solid black on white, you can use any solid color you like. Just keep the overall design the same with no alterations to the proportions, shapes, width, or rotation.
You are further restricted in how you display the icons. Most notably, you can’t use either logo as a dominant feature, and you can’t imply a partnership or endorsement.
WhatsApp provides eight icons to give you some flexibility without breaking any brand guidelines. When using these famous social media icons online you can use any variation of approved colors.
If you use these icons, then you shouldn’t go wrong. However, there are specific rules on how to use WhatsApp in your copy and the use cases for a number of icons.
Twitter is the most flexible platform when it comes to its detailed brand guidelines. Not only can you use different backgrounds, but they provide a flexible lockup for branded hashtags.
As you’d expect, they prefer you to stick to the approved color scheme. However, you can request permission to use black Twitter logos in your designs.
As mentioned, Twitter is more flexible than its fellow social media giants, but you’ll still need to follow these rules:
LinkedIn sometimes gets forgotten in the social media shuffle, but it can be an excellent platform for growing a small business. When it comes to their icons, they have simple guidelines for advertising your social media presence.
While you have just two options for the main logo, you can get them in English and Chinese.
The default logo is blue, but you can use black and white versions if your site’s color scheme is black and white.
Beyond the color, the brand guidelines are direct and easy to follow.
Reddit’s marketing is a unique challenge, but their logo, Snoo, is the cutest one on this list. When it comes to Snoo variations, you’ll find different lockup arrangements for the logo and the wordmark (including one specifically for advertising your AMA).
When it comes to share buttons, Reddit provides four alternative Snoos in different styles.
While you have some room to choose a social media icon you like, you are restricted in your color choices. Namely, you have two: orange-red and white. The background should always be orange-red and, barring one exception, Snoo’s head should be white.
Reddit users are a strong community, so it’s worth covering the brand guidelines before launching your marketing campaign.
Pinterest’s brand guidelines are the most flexible on this list when it comes to color options. While the only acceptable logo is the familiar ‘P,’ you can change the colors to match your design.
The only color restrictions are related to the color fills. You can use solid colors only, and the ‘P’ must always be consistent with the background color.
When it comes to copywriting, you will need to skim through the brand guidelines to get a sense of how you can advertise your page.
It will come as no surprise that YouTube has multiple logos that feature the play icon. With a long wordmark, this shorthand will help you discreetly place the icon in your header or footer.
Each YouTube social media icon comes in black, white, and red variations.
One frustrating thing about the Google family of products is its rigid approach to brand guidelines. It was quite surprising to discover that YouTube is one of the few Google products to offer an asset pack. However, YouTube also asks you to complete a formal brand request before using the icons to promote your channel.
As mentioned above, Google doesn’t have a user-friendly approach to social media icons. Unfortunately, use of the official Google logo is restricted to official partners and sponsored events.
However, you can use their icons to support your product if it works with Google products. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-stop location for the product icons, so you will need to download them individually. Just be sure to use the most recent ones.
When using Google product icons, you will need to use the full-color version in most instances. However, some exceptions can be made for grey or white.
It can get very complicated once you decide to use the icons.
Now you know where to find the icons, it will be easier to maintain the crisp, professional look the platforms have built over several years (and decades).
It might even be an excellent time to undertake a social media audit of your online communication. While you’re unlikely to be sued if you’re using off-brand icons, for designers and social media professionals, using the right icons is about attention to detail and professionalism.
Have any questions about using these social media icons? Ask away in the comments below!
I put words into pleasing arrangements for ThemeIsle, CodeinWP, and ReviveSocial. I curate the monthly newsletter, http://bizzarodevs.com/, with weird and wonderful tech news.
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