Trademark Drawing

The “drawing” (the depiction of your mark) is what will appear on your registration certificate once the application process is completed. You cannot add or subtract words and designs to the mark throughout the process, except in very rare circumstances. So, the mark you submit or have now is what will register later. Typically, a mark may appear as a wordmark (Standard Character mark) or as a logo (Special Form mark).

Most applicants apply either for a wordmark or for a logo that appears in black and white. This allows them the greatest flexibility in the use of their marks as their businesses grow and change over the years.

A Wordmark (Standard Character mark) is the most flexible of all mark depictions. It is used when the mark you wish to register consists solely of words, letters, or numbers. A Standard Character mark grants protection to the wording itself, without regard to the font, style, size, or color. Although the mark looks like plain typed wording when registered, a Standard Character mark means that you can change how you display the wording over the life of the trademark. 

Example: COKE

A Logo (Special Form mark), on the other hand, is a mark that comprises special characteristics, like fonts or designs or colors. This is the way to go when you want trademark protection for a particular design, stylization of wording, or combination of the two. Special Form marks can be broken down into two categories: Stylized marks and Design marks. A Stylized mark is a mark in which the wording appears in a particular font. A Design mark can be a composite mark, in which you protect wording that is combined with a design. Or, it can be a mark comprised of design elements alone. If you want protection for wording alone, without regard to font, style, or color, the Standard Character format might be the one for you. 


If you want to lock in a particular color scheme, a color drawing is needed. If you want flexibility to change colors, then we can submit a depiction of the mark in black and white and indicate that no colors are claimed. 

The drawing must display a high-quality image of the mark drawing that reproduces well with all lines appearing clean, sharp and solid, and not fine or crowded. The drawing should not have a ™, ℠, or ® symbol. It should not contain extraneous informational matter like the net weight or volume, lists of contents, company addresses, etc. 

The drawing format and size requirements:

  • JPG file format
  • File size is 5 megabytes or smaller
  • File name is less than 256 characters, including “.jpg” file extension
  • Zipped or compressed files are not acceptable
  • Mark image has as little white space as possible around the design
  • If a color mark, use RGB color scheme; if you can open your image with your browser, then it is saved in the RGB color scheme. Do not use the CMYK color scheme when using design programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

One of the trademark rules prohibits amendments to the drawing that would materially alter the mark that was filed with the original application. The public relies on the USPTO database of trademarks to see what trademarks have been applied for before selecting a trademark for their business, so federal law does not allow you to make any material or significant changes to the trademark in your drawing after you file your application. Generally, adding or deleting significant text or design elements to your trademark is likely to be a material change and will not be accepted. 

You can change the mark in your drawing only if the change does not materially or significantly alter the mark as compared to the mark shown in the previously submitted drawing. If the USPTO determines that the old and new forms of the mark create the same overall impression, the change is not considered material or significant. The USPTO generally accepts small, insignificant changes to the mark drawing, such as:

  • Deleting a TM, SM, or ® symbol
  • Deleting extraneous informational matter (net weight or volume, lists of contents, company addresses)
  • Adding punctuation, such as quotation marks, hyphens, periods, commas, and exclamation marks (unless it significantly changes the mark)
  • Changing a special form drawing from black and white to specific colors.