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I'm making a presentation for a close-group conference, and it's the first time when I am making a Powerpoint slide with my bio. I have decided to put the Academic Degrees + the acronyms of the University names as bullet points, then add the logos from each University/Company at the bottom of the slide. The reason why I would like to do that is to add Design quality to the presentation. This also leads me to the question: when is it appropriate to use logo's of universities/companies when they don't belong to you?

I saw in a previous post this advice about using the letterhead:

Once you're no longer affiliated with the university because you graduated or separated, then you should not use the letterhead.

Can it be the same for the logo on a presentation?

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    "Can it be the same for the logo on a presentation?" - it might in some way, but using a letterhead is rather equivalent to using the university's CI and slide template for the presentation. Insinuating that using an entity's letterhead is inherently equivalent to mentioning an entity (albeit by means of a graphic rather than "just" the textual name) may confuse the issue asked about. – O. R. Mapper Mar 5 '18 at 10:37
  • The answers may depend on relevant local legal provisions, so you may want to state your location. – lukeg Mar 5 '18 at 12:58
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    @lukeg: The answers to "is it allowed" does, the answer to "is it appropriate" maybe less so. – O. R. Mapper Mar 5 '18 at 13:00
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For information purpose this is unlikely a violation. The type of uses here is considered as nominative use. You're not infringing the institute or speaking on their behalf; it's simply "I graduated from XXX university and here is the name and the logo of that place." If you are very concerned, add a disclaimer at the bottom saying something like "Logos are for reference only, I do not represent any of these organizations."

I, however, do consider this potentially inappropriate. For audience, mentioning the name is fine, but slapping the logo, emblem, or seal onto one's work seems like a much bigger deal. I have the following concerns:

  1. I specifically mention it because you said "design purpose." Most school have required design rules when their logo is used. For example, there can be no any alteration of color or scale, no neighboring art components, no incorporating into any other artwork, etc. If you want to slap them all side by side, or worse mashing them into a "design," chance is one of the rules could be violated. It's not a big deal usually (aka you are unlikely to get a lawyer contacting you), just bad practices. I seriously doubt a university will come after any alumni just because they showed the logo inappropriately.

  2. Depending on the audience this action may appear insecure or show-off.

  3. What does this add to the purpose above the name? I can see there is a point if, say, you have emblems in blue, red, and yellow colors, now you just need a green to complete your Harry Potter school color collection, then I'll think "ha, pretty funny." Otherwise, just putting the logo with the name feels redundant.

Here is a page on upcounsel if you wish to learn more. Regulations may differ geographically. Ask the schools for permission if you're in the slightest doubt.

| improve this answer | |
  • "I, however, agree with one of the comments that this is usually deemed inappropriate." - just out of interest, may I ask which comment you are referring to? "The answers may depend on relevant local legal provisions, so you may want to state your location." does not sound to me like saying it is inappropriate, and I didn't mean to express it is inappropriate in any of my two comments (I actually think it is quite appropriate). – O. R. Mapper Mar 5 '18 at 15:35
  • @O.R.Mapper, sorry, that'd be a mis-attribution after reading your comment. I have edited my answer accordingly. Thanks. – Penguin_Knight Mar 5 '18 at 15:54

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