May 1, 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Icons

Read our 2017 Guide to Social Media Icons here!

Social media is constantly and rapidly changing. New social media sites and apps are constantly being created and released, and older platforms are always updating their designs and features. Keeping things professional and consistent for a brand on social media is important, yet many are making a common mistake: using incorrect social media icons and logos. From signage to consumer packaged goods, the incorrect use of social media icons by brands is a widespread problem.

A simple search on Google Images for “Facebook icon” highlights the problem. How do you know which icon is the most current, official Facebook icon? A search for “Facebook icon official” results in the same issue. Even if you find an official icon, how do you know that it is the most recent version? And if you finally find the correct icon, are you using it according to their brand asset guidelines?

Here is a guide that clears through the clutter. It has all you’ll need, including links to official social media brand assets.

What Facebook calls the “f” Logo is likely the most incorrectly used social media icon on the internet. As a rule of thumb, the correct icon is one solid blue with a white “f” that bleeds off of the box. If there are multiple shades of blue, a shadow, or a gradient, it’s likely the wrong icon.

Link: Facebook brand assets/guidelines

On June 2012, Twitter did away with its old logo that featured text and the scruffy design of Larry the Bird. Replacing it was a textless icon simply called “the Twitter bird.” Anything with a lowercase “t” is obsolete, and cartoon birds are a no-no. Lastly, the Twitter Bird is only white or blue. It is never black or any other color. Twitter is even stricter with their brand guidelines, going as far to provide typography specifications (see link below).

Link: Twitter brand assets/guidelines

Instagram is unique because it has two versions of its icon. The “Multi-Color Camera” is instantly recognizable, since it’s literally the mobile app icon. The simpler “Glyph” is actually the default icon that a brand should use. Instagram states that the Multi-Color Camera should only be utilized if you are encouraging users to download the app. Lastly, Instagram permits the Glyph’s color to be changed as needed, making it the only known icon to allow this.

Link: Instagram brand assets/guidelines

The Pinterest icon, or the “badge” as they call it, stands out from the crowd since it’s a circle instead of the usual rounded square. Hence anything that isn’t a circle is automatically the wrong icon. Pinterest as a social media network hasn’t been around as long as these other veterans, so incorrect icons are less likely to turn up. However, note that utilization of their wordmark is strictly forbidden.

Link: Pinterest brand assets/guidelines

Other Social Media Icons

Final Tips/Review

  • Always download social media brand assets from their respective official websites.
  • Always adhere to social media brand guidelines/requirements.
  • Never change the color of an official icon/logo (unless it’s the Instagram Glyph).
  • Never add any additional design to an official icon.
  • Ensure that the icon you are using is the most current version.

If this store successfully uses the correct icons, then so should you.

Tags: Best Practices, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter

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