Choosing the Right SVG File License for Commercial Projects
Choosing the Right SVG File License for Commercial Projects
Business of Crafting

Choosing the Right SVG File License for Commercial Projects

As a freelance graphic designer, I often need to use various graphic resources for my clients’ projects. One of my favorite formats is SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) because of its flexibility. However, I learned the hard way that understanding SVG file licenses is crucial, especially when used for commercial projects. Let me share my experience and the guidelines I use to choose SVG files with the right license.

 Types of SVG Licenses

  1. Free License

    – Personal vs. Commercial Use: Initially, I was often tempted to download free SVG files. However, I soon realized that many of these files are only free for personal use. For example, when I used one for a commercial project without checking the license, I had to withdraw the design because it violated the terms.
    – Limitations: Free files often require attribution or have usage limitations. I once found the perfect design, only to read later that I had to credit the creator, which isn’t always ideal for client projects.

  2. Commercial License

    – Usage Rights: After encountering several issues, I started purchasing commercial licenses. These give me full rights to use the SVG files in profit-generating projects, such as client marketing materials or products for sale.
    – Cost: While commercial licenses typically require a fee, they are a worthwhile investment to avoid legal issues and gain peace of mind.

  3. Creative Commons License

    – CC BY (Attribution): I often use files under this license because I only need to attribute the original creator, which is acceptable for many projects.
    – CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike): This allows me to modify and use files commercially, but I must license derivative works in the same way. Sometimes this works, but not always.
    – CC BY-NC (Non-Commercial): This license is a trap for commercial projects. I almost used a file under this license before realizing I couldn’t use it for revenue-generating projects.

  4. Royalty-Free License

    – Convenience: This license is very convenient. Once I purchase a file, I can use it indefinitely without additional payments.
    – Flexible Use: Royalty-free licenses are very useful for various commercial projects, from physical products to digital media.

 Guidelines for Choosing SVG Files with the Right License

  • Identify Project Needs

I always start by assessing whether the SVG file will be used for products sold, marketing materials, or other revenue-generating projects. Next, I analyze the existing SVG files to ensure their quality meets the required standards. This includes checking resolution, details, colors, and compatibility with various platforms or devices. Thus, I can ensure that the SVG files used will deliver optimal results and meet the project’s goals.

  • Carefully Review License Terms

I always read and understand the license terms before downloading or purchasing SVG files. I carefully check attribution requirements, usage restrictions, and other conditions. By carefully reviewing the license terms, you can avoid any potential legal issues and ensure that you are using the SVG files in a way that aligns with the creator’s guidelines. Understanding the terms will also help you determine whether the file is suitable for your intended purpose and if any additional permissions are needed. Remember, compliance with licensing terms is essential for respecting the rights of content creators and maintaining a positive relationship within the creative community.

  • Choose Trusted Sources

I’ve learned to use only reputable websites and marketplaces, such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or Creative Market. These sites offer clear and legal licenses.

  • Consider Commercial or Royalty-Free Licenses

For commercial projects, I find it safer and more practical to choose files with commercial or royalty-free licenses. These provide the flexibility and legal security I need.

  • Documentation and Storage

I always keep all license documents and proof of purchase. This is crucial for future reference and to demonstrate legal compliance if needed.


Choosing SVG files with the right license is a valuable lesson I’ve learned from experience. It is essential to ensure my commercial projects are legal and free from legal issues. By understanding the various types of licenses and following the guidelines I’ve shared, I can now use SVG files with confidence and focus on creating innovative and successful designs.


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