logo-just-like-theirs

If you want a logo that’s knocked off, you’re kinda missing the point. The idea of a logo is to create your own brand, not copy someone else..

Let’s cut to the chase. The samples that we feature in our logo design gallery are examples of what our designers are capable of. It’s a showcase of work that we’ve completed for other clients, not a gallery of logos that are available for sale. Each design is different and (hopefully) contains a piece of the client’s brand DNA. That’s the very point of a logo.

I want a logo that looks like..

Having said that, it’s unfortunate that these kinds of demands are becoming more and more frequent – would-be and prospective clients see a logo they like in our design portfolio, and then contract us with this simple request:

“I want a logo ‘just like that’.

Not similar. Not ‘from the same genre”. Exactly the same. In fact, when we point out that we can’t do this, we’ve had a few gigs blow up with the now non-client rant – “Well, it’s what I want, And if you won’t do it, I’ll find someone who will!” Technically, that may be true. But if folks think for one minute that we’re going to steal (and that’s what it is) from our own clients, well, they’re mistaken. That would still be Brand Theft Logo. While it would be a great way to shorten the time line of many projects (and thus increase the profitability of same) it’s something that reputable designers/firms will not entertain. It’s certainly one the reasons we wouldn’t want a design gig. Firstly, it’s unethical. For both the original client and the new one. And while these ‘clients’ may be able to find a ‘designer’ that will rip-off someone else’s work, that ethically challenged trait will certainly bite them later – it’s not indicative of a designer/firm that is operating in your best interests. They just want to lay their hands on your cash – ethics (and legality) be damned. They’ll probably end up selling the material that you commission them to design for you, to someone else. Secondly, it’s fraud. Presenting a logo that already belongs to someone else as yours is pure-and-simple fraud. It’s also copyright infringement (and possibly, trademark infringement – more serious and much more expensive should the original owners ever come a-calling.) It also defeats the entire purpose of a logo – to carve out your own piece of the visual landscape – and you need a brand that belongs to you, not someone else. It’s potentially very risky. You want a logo that you can trademark. And you want a logo that is free from legal grief down the road – especially if your fledgling company becomes successful (and a more financially attractive target for the legal beagles.) Funny thing – it’s happening to our competitors as well (it also appears that many of their would-be clients are demanding that they copy our work. Here’s an email I received from a friendly competitor early last week –

Hello Steve,

On a personal note; As Sales Manager here, I’ve always reviewed your work with great respect and I wish you good luck in the future, as a matter of fact I’ve been tempted more than once to submit my CV for your consideration. However, if I may offer you my humble opinion, you guys ought to put a watermark of some sort on your designs in your portfolio. You see, there isn’t a week that passes without our design department getting a request to do a knockoff of one of your designs. As a matter of fact I personally had a phone request just this morning to “do” something similar to a logo that you’ve designed for a company called “xxxxx”. The funny thing is that almost always the clients ask us to view the actual design on your site! I assure you, we do not even entertain the option as unfortunately we are daily victims of the same problem and I know that even a watermark won’t stop them, but myself I get some consolation in thinking that we’re making it a bit harder for the work to be copied. Early this year, one client even had the audacity in coming back to us and telling us that we had lost business because we turned him down and now he had another designer earn the money…!

My honest respect and recognition of your work drives me to bring this matter to your attention. If you wish I can even arrange for the next such email inquiry to be forwarded to you, you’d laugh if it wasn’t so aggravating at some of the ridiculous requests…

Thank you again and please accept my warm regards.

xxxxxxx.

People – that’s not the point of a logo. And (one would hope) waving a few shekels in front of a designer will not entice them to act in a way that goes against every ideal of branding and corporate identity.

Or in a way that is arguably illegal.

Sure, you can have a logo created that has the same aspects as your favorite – illustrative vs. iconic treatment, colors and hell, even similar typography (if the font is off-the-shelf.) But why anyone would go ‘all the way’ and use a logo that is so obviously ripped from another is beyond me. And what will your customers think about your business, should they ever discover (not terribly difficult in the Internet age) that you’re proudly displaying a logo that’s been stolen (yep, that’s what it is) from somebody else?

I know I’d be a little wary of whatever information that I shared with such an outfit…