What images am I allowed to print with Spoonflower?

By uploading a design to Spoonflower, with or without the intention to list it in the Marketplace, you are indicating that you own it or have a legal right to use it.  This means that you either created all of the images, words and design yourself and they don’t originate from another source or you are using someone else's material but have a license or right to do so.   

Your own original artwork/design

  • The most popular designs on Spoonflower are original works by artists around the world -- creating your own original designs is the best way to ensure your work is unique and stands out!
  • If your artwork is on paper, you'll need to scan or photograph it at the highest resolution possible to achieve the best printed result. 
  • If it's a design you've created on the computer or a photograph you have taken yourself, you can upload that directly. 
  • More information on creating and uploading design files can be found here.

Images for which you have licensing

The Internet offers many resources for images that can be used for projects, but there are some important caveats:

  • Not all images on the internet can be used; you need permission or a license granting you the right to print the image.
  • Even some images that are available for use are not available for commercial use (i.e. for incorporation into products that will be sold).
  • Unless explicitly stated, it’s best to assume that public domain or images with expired copyright are okay for personal, but not commercial use
  • It is not okay to represent a non-original image as your own work, even if you have a license granting you rights to use the image. You should credit the original artist and source if you are displaying the work in any public forum or on your own website. However, merely identifying the original source of an image or design does not give you the right to use it.  
  • If you have received licensing or permission from a third party allowing you to use their content, please provide Spoonflower with a copy prior to uploading any design making use of such content.

What might create problems?  

  • Any time a design includes a trademark or image that originates from another creator (e.g. celebrity, fictional character, designer, business, company, film, TV show, band, sports team, book, product) or even includes a combination of words, colors and/or images that is intended to bring to mind another's work, the use may be a violation of trademark or copyright law.  
  • Even if you draw or create your own designs that contain or reference third party intellectual property, it can still be a violation of copyright or trademark laws.
  • A common misconception is the 10% rule, which asserts that if you "change" at least 10% of a design that it is no longer considered the same as the original and becomes your own. This is not an actual rule and you can still violate someone else's rights even if you have changed 10% (or more) of someone else's work.
  • If in doubt about whether an image is allowable, it is best to steer clear or seek the guidance of an intellectual property attorney who can advise you on what is legally permissible.

See also: Terms of Use - Copyright Policy