How to licence a project-specific software logo?


I am a FLOSS maintainer and not a designer. I am asking on behalf of one of my contributors who designed a logo/icon specific for this application. So it is not a set of toolbar symbols but a unique application symbol. See the original discussion and examples here: Use distinctive app icon for Back In Time (icon proposals) · Issue #215 · bit-team/backintime (

The contributor struggles to choose a licence and so I am because I am not experienced with design elements.

For a set of toolbar symbols I would choose MIT licences or CC0 (creative commons zero).

But for a unique application symbol I would like to disallow the re-use (meaning: modification) in other projects. And the project maintainers them self should be able to modify that logo (incl. its source file) without the original author. So the licence should be kind of free or open to us as project maintainers but not to people outside this project.

Is there a known licence for this?

Or does this point to an individual licence agreement between the project and the designer/contributor?



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Hi there @buhtz , This is a really interesting post and a topic I’ve thought about a lot in the past and also very recently!

So It’s possible that these CC licenses may cover what you need:

It’s specifically this line: ND: No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted. that is useful for the unique application symbol to not be edited and then distributed.

However, it doesn’t really cover your need for the project Maintainers to edit and redistribute when needed as part of the project. It’s possible that you may not find a license that clearly and specifically covers this.

Perhaps is worth a read? I also thought there might be a font license out there that could apply to this need but I couldn’t find anything looking on the OSI licenses listings.

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re: Toolbar icons: Rule of thumb is not to use code licenses (like MIT) for non-code things.

re: Application icon: I think this has two parts: How you license it to the public and how the creator licenses it to you. For the latter one you probably want the project to have the full and exclusive rights to the logo but license it to the public with another license that does not allow modification.