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Well I am stunned.

Today I learned that UPS owns the color brown.

It started with the thing that is my Happy Holly Project activity for the day … getting ready to do my bathroom over this weekend.

And yes, before and after pictures and details of the makeover will definitely be forthcoming.

I have the paint, the Kilz, the brushes, the new curtain rod, the new shower rod, the new shower curtain holders, the cleaning supplies, the new towels … and I was waiting for the shipments of the shower curtain and the matching window curtains.

As an aside … the shower curtain showed up today … the curtain curtains will come soon. And I am very Happy. But back to this morning before they came  …

I decided to go out to the UPS.com site to check out the progress of my shipments. UPS is usually very good about tracking their shipments.

Their tracking looks something like this …

“We have gotten a label”
“We have stored the label”
“We have gotten the package”
“The package is beside the truck”
“The packing guy coughed”

“The package is in the back of the truck”
“The package has been moved to the front of the truck”
“The package guy is taking a smoke break”

and so on …

Unlike another shipper I have used whose initials will remain nameless … albeit very very similar. Thier tracking looks something like this …

“You are thinking of using us to ship a package”
“The package was dropped off … sometime”
“The package was delivered … yesterday”

So I was glad to see that the package was indeed due to arrive today. And the beginnings of a blog entry started in my mind. I was Happy.

Then I saw the teeny tiny print at the bottom of the screen.

UPS, the UPS brandmark, and the color brown are registered trademarks of United Parcel Service of America Inc. All rights reserved.

UPS owns the color brown?


I was going to paint my bathroom a mushroomy color … kind of a brown color. Do I have to change the color I am going to paint the bathroom?

I have a sweater that I really like and it is brown. Am I allowed to wear it anymore? Or do I have to get permission from UPS?

And what about all my brown shoes? Is is all shades of brown? Or can I wear light brown before Labor Day?

Thinking perhaps maybe I was over-reacting just a little bit, I decided to go out to the UPS web site and check this stuff out.

And I saw this quote at the top of the Brands page:

The “We ship via UPS” logo may be used by UPS customers on banners, signage, websites and print collateral. When using this logo, please follow the guidelines below. Once you have read the usage guidelines, you will find the link for the logo at the bottom of this page.

So its like a final exam? I have to read all this before I can use the logo? Easy enough. Can’t be all that much to this thing, right?

On further reading I saw this:

The logo must appear in its entirety. … may not be separated, removed, altered or used individually …

Fair enough. If they did a logo, they will want it used the way it should look. What else?

Minimum sizes for each of the logo versions are:

  • Full-color version: 0.5″ wide
  • One-color version: 0.25″ wide

Okay, well I …

Clear space is the minimum distance from the UPS logo to any other graphical elements or the edge of the page. It is the minimum “breathing room” maintained around the logo. This space should be kept free of graphics, photography, text, and other marks.

The UPS logo should always have an area of clear space equal to the height of the letter “U” in the UPS logo.

They even provided illustrations to help explain.

You will see that I clearly allowed a whole ton of clear space up above here where I have the UPS logo. I don’t know about the little x’s and whatnot … but I figured 100 pixels was probably enough.

Hopefully the UPS logo police won’t check too closely here.

Then I saw it. The color brown.

Whenever the UPS name, logo, or trademarks are used on any communications material, the following statement should appear in a clear, easily readable font on the material. The suggested minimum point size is 6 point:

UPS, the UPS logo and the color brown are trademarks that are used with permission by the owner, United Parcel Service of America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Then I read further and discovered they can do translations by request.

All artwork is also available in Queen’s English.

Seriously? How many different ways can you say “UPS”?

And here I was thinking I had overreacted.

So it is true. They own the color brown. Now what? I guess I will have to get their permission before I paint my bathroom. The before and after pictures might be a little late here.

Maybe I should check out FedEx.

Do they own any colors?