Steve Douglas on August 14th, 2011

Or how I bought the WWF Panda logo from Logo Garden for only $69.00.

logo garden homepage

According to the press release that hit my e-mail account this morning, Logo Garden is “poised to disrupt online logo design and biz card space” with their do-it-yourself logo maker. Ooooh, that does sound swell.

Billed as the ‘fastest growing logo site in the world’ Logo Garden is yet another in a line of Flash-driven do-it-yourself logo generators that promise for a few bucks ($69.00 to be exact) would-be entrepreneurs can avail themselves of do-it-yourself logos without employing the skills of, oh I dunno, a pesky graphic designer (though Logo Garden looks remarkably like another DIY logo site – Logo Yes – and if I were a betting guy…)

Anyhoo, say I wanted to open a new business called, lessee, Steve’s Pandas or something. I’d naturally want a logo that incorporated a panda. So, we’d start off looking for some animals using the funky animated interface…

logo garden logo selections

And then narrow it down to pandas using the handy-dandy search field. I kinda like the cute little fella in the top left corner. That’ll work nicely methinks.

logo garden panda selection

The Flash-driven interface let’s me drop in type, so I’ll add my company name, mess around with the fonts and Bob, as they say, is your uncle.

logo garden panda

Wow, that is a pretty sweet logo. Now, it’s only a matter of checking out, plunking down 69 clams through my PayPal account and we’re in logo design nirvana. Time elapsed, ten minutes and no graphic designer had to darken my door. What could possibly go wrong?

logo garden receipt

After checking out, my nifty new logo is stored on the Logo Garden site, ready to download in a wide-range of formats so I can start plastering my cute little panda logo over everything I own. Website, business cards, perhaps a vehicle wrap for the official Steve’s Panda van…

steve's panda logos

Great system? Perhaps. Only one itty-bitty problem with the whole thing. Namely, this

wwf panda

Oooh dear. That may represent a problem (“but my logo has eyes!” won’t cut it for the copyright and trademark lawyers I’m afraid). Though the good folks at Logo Garden have that angle covered. Witness the fine print on the site regarding pesky issues like trademark and copyright:

(2) Trademarks and Copyrights. User acknowledges that no trademark, copyright or service marks are being conveyed under this Agreement. User acknowledges that LogoGarden has no obligation or duty to perform copyright, trademark or service mark searches to validate the symbol database is not infringing on any trademark, copyright or service marks. Accordingly, LogoGarden encourages Users to perform their own independent searches. User acknowledges that LogoGarden shall have no responsibility to assist User in seeking state or federal intellectual property protection (i.e., trademark registration). LogoGarden shall not be responsible to assist User to perfect the Users rights.

Course, if you find any infringing trademarks and/or copyrights, the good folks at Logo Garden would like you to let them know:

(3) Third Party Rights. If Users believe any content appearing on the Web Site infringes another party’s rights, please to notify us of this infringement.

Ahm, okay. I think I found one. After I dropped $69 bucks on it. Wonder if I can get my money back?

to: LogoGarden.com [service@logogarden.com]
date: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 8:36 AM
subject: Refund Please

Please refund this order. The logo I bought belongs to the WWF (World Wildlife Federation) and the minute I print this design anywhere, I can expect a cease & desist letter from their fairly well-heeled lawyers.

Sincerely yours
Steve Douglas

On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM, LogoGarden.com wrote:

LogoGarden.com
Order Confirmation

Thank you for your order. The details of your order are listed below.

Bill To:
Steve Douglas

Email Address: xxxxxx@thelogofactory.com
Password: xxxxxx

Order No: 11799

Logo – Qty: 1 – Price / Each: $69.00 – Total: $69.00

Subtotal: $69.00
S/H: $0.00
Tax: $0.00
Credits: $0.00
Total: $69.00

from: service@logogarden.com
to: xxxxxx@thelogofactory.com
date: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM
subject: Re: Refund Please

Hello,

I’m sorry but per the Terms of Service posted on our website we cannot issue you a refund.

“(d) Refunds. When User completes their logo and/or logo and business card and chooses to submit payment, user is charged for the Services. User understands that all sales are final and no refunds shall be issued. LogoGarden has the right to cancel orders and provide a refund at any point in the development process. LogoGarden retains the right to modify or change this policy at any time without notice.”

Taken from: http://www.logogarden.com/terms-of-service.php

Sandy

service@logogarden.com
www.logogarden.com

Update:

Apparently, the WWF logo isn’t the only knocked-off logo being offered for sale on Logo Garden. Their Facebook page is littered with complaints, reports of alleged knock-offs and examples of work copied from a wide-range of designers. You can also check out Iconify‘s logo design thievery and Prejean Creative‘s LogoGarden should be plowed under for more.

Buyer beware indeed.

 

 

 

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28 Comments to “The perils of do-it-yourself logo makers”

  1. Thanks so much for posting your article, Steve. I found at least 20 of my logo designs being offered for sale on LogoGarden.com – in fact, one is shown in the image at the start of your piece. The design in the middle, with the silhouette of the woman carrying a back, is actually my original design for a company called TraveLady Media – a venture owned by longtime Pacific Northwest television personality and friend Cheryl Hansen.

  2. Casey Ringo says:

    I’d watch out if you wanted to open up “Jack’s Antelopes”. Their antelope looks a little too close to Chevy’s Impala for my comfort.

  3. Ken says:

    People learned to freely use Photoshop, realize how to cut and paste and change a bit of something over an image and call it their own, and call themselves experienced designers. Disgusting.

  4. Thank you for posting this article, Steve. This is truly a case of caveat emptor for business owners seeking an inexpensive identity.

    This site is essentially a clearing house of pirated or stolen logos slighted modified to “fit” the needs of the potential customer. More than a few of our firm’s identity work appear on this site. These logos are merely re-purposed and are obviously in violation of copyright law. Any money a business saves on purchasing a logo from this site will certainly be outweighed by the cease and desist order they are likely to receive.

    As far as their “pesky” fine print goes, let’s see if Mr. LogoGarden.com can squirm out of the way if say a team of Disney lawyers come his way.

    Thanks for the heads-up! We’ll make sure that our peers (and our clients) read this post.

  5. I wonder how the WWF feels about these guys poaching their panda.

    Thank you Steve for putting this together.

  6. Brian Yerkes says:

    Good post. I would hope that someone like WWF will take action on this….if an organization as large as the WWF doesn’t stand up for copyright infringement online, how can we as designers even think we have a chance to prevent these shenanigans from continuing to happen to us?

    Will be interesting to see if the panda remains on the site, eyes or not! :)

  7. [...] came across this little gem of a blog post from Steve Douglas of The Logo Factory entitled “The Perils of Do-It-Yourself Logo Makers.” Go ahead, read it. I’ll [...]

  8. Dave Cole says:

    I had a similar problem with a logo contest on 99Designs. My “favorite” choice turned out to be a ripoff of another well-known logo. It took another designer to call out the ripoff. Fortunately, the team at 99 was very courteous in letting me cancel the contest, but it really made me nervous about the whole process.

    Looks like other “competitors” are having similar problems with copyrights & trademarks.

  9. [...] Steve Douglas recently posted a fine object lesson for anyone looking to get a logo done “on the cheap.” I highly recommend giving this a [...]

  10. [...] this article that illustrates how someone could be using an existent logo without [...]

  11. [...] Steve Douglas gives the lowdown on the perils of DIY logo makers. [...]

  12. David Airey says:

    Beautiful logo. Real ring to the name, too. Steve’s Pandas. Like it.

  13. [...] Read the full article by Steve here [...]

  14. David Airey says:

    And I’m pretty sure I saw a few that looked very similar to that damn boat logo of yours.

  15. [...] and it happens to be legitimately owned by, oh, say, the World Wildlife Federation (true story – read about it here), then YOU, not LogoGarden, may be subject to infringement litigation from the original designer, [...]

  16. Chris says:

    You file a title II DCMA report with RackSpace, the hosts for his company and a few hours later you should be notified it was removed. At least thats how it worked with my stolen logo.

  17. [...] Perils of DIY Logo Makers (Logofactory.com) [...]

  18. Hilarious! Good write-up!

    I found the same kind of problem with Logoworks and duplicating logos. You can check out my blog post, “Why Logoworks Sucks” (http://ulrichdesign.ca/2011/06.....rks-sucks/) <–Cheap Plug! :P

    Since posting, I've had the General Manager of Logoworks come and post a long comment telling their side of the story.

  19. Chris Taylor says:

    Here’s a thought, what if we set up a “watch-dog” website that specifically pertains to this LogoGarden deal? We can use social media to bring attention to it and get a round-about count of how many logos/designers have been ripped off. It can serve as a platform to share comparisons/comments all in the same place. Ultimately we can update it with the legal outcomes of the effected parties and share it with our clients and the online community. We need to scare like minded plunderers away from similar ideas, but more importantly we need businesses to understand the risk they take with using sites like this. After all, the only way to make these unethical morons go away is to educate and convince “the market” not to use them. I have never seen this many stolen identities in one place and I really hope this will be the flagship that helps brings down this awful plague . . . I know that’s some extreme optimism, but if we abandon that then they’ve already won and have stolen our profession away from us along with our logos.

    Any volunteers / nominations to spearhead something like this? I am willing to help in whatever way I can.

    • Chris says:

      You should hit up Logo Lounge to do something like that. They have the tech and influence to make it stick.

  20. Chris says:

    I realized there is another soft-fleshy place to poke logogarden.com with a sharp stick. They use PayPal, hit their contact form and ask how you can file a complaint about them being used to resell your intellectual property without permission. Hopefully it will lead to them losing their ability to take payment. PayPal has a pretty dim view of that and tend to overreact.

  21. Chris Taylor says:

    Here’s a link to Paypal’s Infringement Report. If you’ve been affected by John Williams or LogoGarden, fill this out and cut off a vital resource for his ability to collect money to finance his illegal operation(s). https://cms.paypal.com/cms_content/US/en_US/files/ua/infringementreport.pdf

  22. [...] my previous post I provided a link to an article about the Do it Your Self Logos website (Logo Garden) where customers can create their “own” logos for a very low price ($79.00 dlls) with [...]

  23. [...] new logo fac­tory copy­right scan­dal has recently emerged — read all about it here, here, here and [...]

  24. Deepak says:

    Thank you for posting this article, Steve. This is truly a case of caveat emptor for business owners seeking an inexpensive identity.

    This site is essentially a clearing house of pirated or stolen logos slighted modified to “fit” the needs of the potential customer. More than a few of our firm’s identity work appear on this site. These logos are merely re-purposed and are obviously in violation of copyright law. Any money a business saves on purchasing a logo from this site will certainly be outweighed by the cease and desist order they are likely to receive.

    As far as their “pesky” fine print goes, let’s see if Mr. LogoGarden.com can squirm out of the way if say a team of Disney lawyers come his way.

    Thanks for the heads-up! We’ll make sure that our peers (and our clients) read this post.

  25. Marco says:

    Every designer who has a logo ripped off should do a class-action lawsuit against them. I mean, if the guy doesn’t listen to pleas, you should all unite and do it

  26. [...] ontdekking met aan het einde een aantal links naar andere artikelen over dit onderwerp. Lees ook The perils of do-it-yourself logo makers waarin wordt verhaald hoe iemand voor 69 euro een kloon van het logo van WNF [...]

  27. [...] and it happens to be legitimately owned by, oh, say, the World Wildlife Federation (true story - read about it here), then YOU, not LogoGarden, may be subject to infringement litigation from the original designer, [...]