And when we say free, we actually mean free.
As grim as it may sound, Morgue Files is an old newspaper and magazine term for unused photography and editorial. Nothing wrong with any of it per se, save it was judged at the time to not be appropriate for publication. Since the material was either time-dated or topic-specific, it would probably remain unused and relegated to the archives, never to see the light of day.
Thus, Morgue Files.
Back in the day, we were making some of our unused material, logo concepts and vector art available for free download. Morgue Files seemed a perfectly appropriate moniker to assemble it under. Even had a lead graphic with toe tags (above.) It became pretty popular – lots of people search for “free logos” and our Morgue Files showed up consistently in results. Alas, when we changed our site over to the new format about a month ago, our Morgue Files was one of the casualties. Original layouts were crap, broke in the new framework and the toe tag imagery was deemed far too grim for our new “look.” The entire thing was scrapped for the time being. Besides, with all our efforts focused on the business aspects of the site, a free stuff section didn’t seem like something that should’ve hung up the rollout. Now that we have a little time, and because it’s still a nifty idea, we’re relaunching our Morgue Files this week, complete with new logos, icons and artwork. We were going to call this post “Morgue Files live again” but nah.
That just sounded weird.
Free logo link bait.
The backstory of our Morgue Files is simple – we can link-bait with the best of them. Free logos is a very popular search, and we might as well get people to our site using it, just like everybody else. One small difference though – if you search for free logos on the Google, what you’ll find is that the stuff at the other end isn’t free at all. You’ll bump into stuff like this:
Where I come, regardless of whether you all cap the “FREE” and put an exclamation after it for emphasis, $37 ain’t free. Then there’s this come-hither from a ready-made logo store:
Despite the word “free” being crowbarred into two consecutive sentences, here’s what it actually says:
“Buy one of our rejected logo design contest entries and we’ll slap your company name into the spot that now says Company Name for $99.”
Not exactly free, but whatever. Then there’s auto-ack “logo makers” like this one, where the phrase free logos is actually in the domain name:
Free. Free. Free. But if you jump through the hoops on their do it yourself logo thingamajig, here’s where you end up:
Seems you can buy your free logo for $39.95 (save 20%!)
Cool and all. But it ain’t free, is it?
Look, I get it – this is all click bait for the free logo searchers – and while I’m not opposed to link-whoring, I do think that if people click on a link that says “get yer free logos here,” there should actually be some free logos at the end of it. And that’s how/why our Morgue Files was born. It kinda grew from there. Until we broke it about a month ago.
Morgue Files rebrand.
Don’t know if I’d refer to this as a rebrand (here’s what we do when we brand our own stuff) but the phrase will do for the time-being. Bottom line, the toe tag theme – we used it for years – is a bit grim, so we dialed it back. Not too much though – we’re still using this skull for the time being. May dial that back too at some point because, well, it’s still kinda grim. We’re aiming for pixie dust and unicorns, not Night of The Living Logos.
Naturally, if we’re going to change the logo and reboot Morgue Files with a new look, we need to go back and revamp everything with the new format. This is what the updated download sheets look like (download the actual PDF vector version here):
This is what’s at the other end of that link:
The fine print.
One thing that confused some people the last time around was the fine print. Always meant to write an explanation – none of it’s a big deal – but didn’t get around to it until now. Here’s what is says and what it means:
All designs and logos featured in The Logo Factory Morgue Files are copyright 2000 – 2015 The Logo Factory Inc. Downloading any of the image(s) presented does not constitute copyright transfer or the transfer of any intellectual property rights. All the logos, artwork and designs are available “free of charge” and as such are presented “as is.” We do not offer any warranty of the artwork contained in our Morgue Files, nor is any implied. We are not responsible for any damages, direct or indirect, as a result of your use of this artwork. Reproduction of this artwork, subject to our acceptable uses disclaimer, is at your own risk.
What it means: We still hold the copyright but we’re allowing you to use the art as you see fit. We’re not offering any warranty or guarantee on how good this stuff is or how well it’ll reproduce. It’s free, so we can’t and won’t. If it’s really important, and if you want to make sure the art will work where you’re putting it, hire a professional designer to check/fix it first.
Acceptable Uses – You may use these images, logos, artwork and designs in any electronic or print media, including advertising and editorial use, as long as such use is not intended to allow the resale, re-distribution or re-use of the images(s).
You can use our Morgue Files but you can’t sell them to anyone else, either on its own, part of a collection of icons or as stock art. It would be dumb for anyone to pay you, as they can always download if from here themselves without paying anything.
Prohibited Uses – Not for resale or addition to stock artwork collections. The Logo Factory retains the full rights to the image(s), and therefore you cannot establish your own rights. You may not sub-license, distribute, transfer or assign the image(s) or rights to the images(s) to any third parties. You may not use this image, or any part of the images(s), as part of a trademark or service mark. You may not use or archive the images(s) in any downloadable format intended for multiple distribution including, without limitation, logo templates, web site templates, software design products, etc.
More of the same. You can’t register a trademark because a) it’s ours and b) a lot of people are also using it and that wouldn’t be fair to them. We can’t give you exclusivity to any of this artwork because we have no way of knowing how many people downloaded it before you found it. That wouldn’t be fair to you. Besides, if you really want a unique logo, you should probably start from scratch anyway.
That’s about it. If you’re cool with those terms, download away. If you’re not, then you probably shouldn’t. For more, check out our Morgue Files for what’s currently available.