Time to call out Ph0t0sh0pguy over on Freelancer.com for taking my PedalWorks logo, putting it in their own portfolio to pass of as their own work: simply calling it "work16" as I guess calling it Pedalworks would be too obvious.
I'm particularly enthralled with this paragraph on their bio: "We are a branding, intellectual property and internet consultancy company that create and capture value for our clients by designing compelling brand propositions and experiences across all media applications."
Maybe worth checking the rest of their porfolio for other cases of stolen work.
Thanks loads to Mindi for telling me about it in the first place.
Logo Design Copyright and Trademarks
The subject of Logo Design Copyright and Trademarks in regards to brand identity design, was a subject on my 'to do' blog article list. Fortunately I can save some time as there is a great article over at Plagarism Today on this very subject.
Here's a snippet:
Copyright and Logos
In order for a work to have copyright protection, it must reach a requisite level of creativity. Many logos, however, do not. Since copyright can’t protect a name, colors or the design of the logo, most simple logos simply do not have the required level of creativity to be considered copyrightable. However, many ornate or artistic ones do.
And here lies the confusion with logos. Many of them actually qualify for both trademark and copyright protection. In fact, the entire Omega v. CostCo casehinges in part upon a logo stamped onto a watch being copyright protected (thus making the import of the watch a violation of the copyright).
In short though, if a logo would qualify for copyright protection as a piece of artwork separate from its use as a corporate identifier, it is copyright protected. Nothing in the law makes the two rights mutually exclusive so many logos can and are enforced using both trademark and copyright.
It's definitely worth a read.
Read the article : Trademark, Copyright and Logo Design
When you think of 'swoosh' what comes first? Nike or Newport Cigarettes?
I should add that for the purposes of comparison, I have rotated the Newport logo 180 degrees, but in it's own environment it is the other way up.
Everyone likes a bit of potential plagiarism from time-to-time. This is not new news by any stretch of the imagination, but how many people seem to realise how the Nike Swoosh logo resembles the classic Newport Cigarette logo.
Either you know and it's old news, you know and don't care, or it's new news to you. I recall hearing about this a while back, but it left my memory an equally long time ago.
It is however an interesting example of how one brand mark, Nike in this case, is late to the party. That through sheer dominance, exerts it's brand awareness to a point where no one would even think to question they were not originators of the so called infamous 'Swoosh'.
In an ideal world, which of course this isn't, but it it were, the 'swoosh' should be referred to as the Newport Swoosh, but personally don't see that taking off.
Nike and Newport History
It's a little but more interesting though when you dig around the history of the two companies.
Nike was actually formed on January 25, 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. in 1978. The Nike swoosh is a logo design created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, over a decade after Newport Cigarettes came into being.
So Nike in fact VERY late in using the Newport Swoosh as it's own brandmark. Interesting that they are in effect total opposites in terms of business focus, both health related, with very different agenda's.
There is also another interesting fact found on Wikipedia. "During the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the Discovery Channel displayed a track shoe allegedly worn by U.S. legend Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. This shoe had on it a prominent symbol appearing identical to the Nike swoosh."
Have tried to track down a photo of this, but so far have failed, but interesting again to see that really, this Nike Swoosh is not so 'great', it's just made great by the sheer power of the people who buy Nike gear. No doubt this mark is a powerful brand icon, it has simplicity and boldness, but it's far from original. The same could be said for Apple's logo of course, but that's another story.
Have also tried to track down any information on the designer of the Newport Swoosh logo, but so far drawn a blank.
What do Nike and Newport have in common
Found this interesting video below on the sameness of the Nike and Newport logo. Via Xplosiveworld.com.
Vintage Newport Advertisement
For some added bonus points, here is a lovely vintage Newport Cigarette advertisement circa 1970. One of a series of "Newport Men of the Sea". What a man.
This whole topic of plagiarism and inspiration is a tricky subject by far. I think many designers at some point have designed something that has proven to exist elsewhere. Their own process of design and brainstorming evolves what to them is a unique idea.
It's happened to me and I know it's happened to many others. An idea is not unique, it's naive to assume that more than one person in the entire world is NOT capable of having the same idea, created from different circumstances and inspiration.
Or that indeed two people on opposite sides of the world both being inspired by something similar and coming up with an almost identical design is again more than possible.
Being inspired on a conscious level is quite different to being inspired on a sub conscious level, where we believe what we are designing is formed from our own creative process, but was in fact inspired by seeing someone long ago, but long forgotten. Until you are faced with that very same original inspiration, brought to you by another designer, along with a comment of 'you copied their design'. Your reaction is that you didn't copy it, but if you allow yourself a moment to consider the possibilities, it dawns on you that yes, you were probably inspired on a sub conscious level. But your actions were not deliberate, yet you get 'called out' as a faker.
It's only through the internet that we are now faced with being 'caught out' more than was possible pre internet.
Copyright © 2006-2016 All Rights Reserved Goddammit!
The Logo Smith : Freelance Logo Designer, Brand Identity & Graphic Design Studio
Providing PR Services with The PR Room: Technology PR, Smart Home PR, Internet of Things PR and Lifestyle PR Agency.
25 Years Experience in: Logo & Brand Identity Design, Graphic Design, Advertising, Marketing, and Commercial Print.