Shame, Shame, Logo Garden

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The Logo Garden affair is the buzz going around these days.

It’s not a good buzz.

Logo Garden, in its effort to offer “do-it-yourself logos for entrepreneurs,” has apparently copied work created by other designers. It then resells it without the designers’ permission, all for its own profit. And because Logo Garden is a logo warehouse, meaning it resells each icon over and over, it’s reselling these stolen logos to multiples of unsuspecting consumers who think they’re getting a great deal for only $79.

Of course, designers are upset. Big name logo designers like Rock Paper Ink, Prejean Creative and Jeff Fisher LogoMotives have had thousands of logos stolen and they’re taking legal action against Logo Garden owner John Williams. AIGA (formerly an acronym for the American Institute of Graphic Arts), has posted action alerts and other helpful advice for designers here and here.

But what about consumers? Shouldn’t they be upset as well?

You bet they should and here’s why.

When an entrepreneur hires a professional to design his logo, he’s paying for a unique representation of his business. The designer can only do this through extensive interview, research and creative process, all of which the entrepreneur wisely pays for. But not only is he paying for this service, he’s also buying ownership rights to the logo—solely and completely, as his own personal icon. A logo is intellectual property and copyright laws protect this ownership.

When an entrepreneur brands his company, acquiring a logo is only one part of the process. The entrepreneur must then promote that logo and secure it in the minds of his market. He must build a reputation that positively associates the logo to his business. This is branding and it takes great time and effort.

What happens when a schmuck like John Williams and his Logo Garden comes along?

When Williams steals a designer’s logo, he’s also stealing the intellectual property of the entrepreneur who hired that designer. And when Williams resells that stolen logo, he’s completely destroying the branding work the entrepreneur did to market his business.

Then there’s the unknowing consumer who purchases one of these 10,000 logos supposedly created by John Williams and “his hand-picked team of world-class logo designers.” (Be real, how could anyone and his team create 10,000 original, well-thought and designed logos?)

I’m going to credit these $79 tightwad consumers and say they were unknowing of Logo Garden’s unethical behavior. I’m also going to say they’re unknowing of successful marketing. Obviously, none of them believes their business qualifies for a professional, unique identity.

Anyway, these Logo Garden consumers are possibly setting themselves up for legal action. The great bargain they thought they were getting could very well be the intellectual property of another owner. They may find themselves forced to give it up. Suddenly, that $79 is not such a bargain after all.

Here’s something to think about:

If you’re a professional, you have to look professional. If you have a quality product, you must have a quality look.

Beware of logo warehouses. Don’t shop at Logo Garden.

Shame on you, Logo Garden!

 

Comments

  1. About a week ago, design professionals alerted us that some symbols in LogoGarden.com’s vast symbol library were copies of existing work. On LogoGarden’s Facebook page and other social channels, we immediately responded, saying we would remove any offending symbols as they were spotted. In days that followed, we did so and let the design community know. We ourselves found other apparent duplicates and removed them. I wish to thank the design professionals who helped us identify offending symbols.

    Meanwhile, a few professional designers came to believe that systematic copying of existing work is how we operate. It’s anything but. LogoGarden was victimized and has taken steps to avoid a recurrence.

    For one thing, we discovered that the problem symbols came from a small handful of dishonest design brokers—after we had contracted and paid them for strictly original work. Going forward, we are sticking with designers and brokers who have proven themselves honest and reliable—as well as talented and accomplished. I think they do a terrific job for us.

    That’s not all. We’ve launched an internal review of the entire LogoGarden symbol library. It’s a huge job, a month’s work for our team. Already days into the process, we expect to be finished the third week of September.

    Either now or in the future, if you do spot something questionable, please alert me at John@LogoGarden.com. I will personally ensure we take immediate action.

    Thanks for your understanding. We may be competitors having very different business models, but we do share a goal with integrity: to offer clean, high quality design choices for people who need them.

    John Williams,
    President, LogoGarden.com

  2. avant garde designer says:

    This properly worded statement by Logo Garden seems to be appearing in quite a few blog comments! I guess it’s commendable that Logo Garden addresses this issue. But have you noticed just how carefully they’ve covered all their bases?

    Check out this article: http://bit.ly/nEPHQV

    According to that, Logo Garden’s Terms of Service completely removes them of any infringement responsibility. When people purchase any of its logos, they agree to assume all responsibility for actions taken against them for using that logo.

    Wow, how convenient is that? Logo Garden customers, you’d better beware.

  3. OK, folks. If you think you’re getting a good bargain, know this: Someone else spent time and intelligence (that’s why they call this stuff intellectual property) designing these logos. Then this sleeze goes and lifts them for his own gain.

    High quality? Maybe yes. Clean? No way.

    Have some balls. Show integrity. Think enough of your business to hire a real designer, instead of supporting this ripoff company.

  4. You hit the nail on the head. What kind of person creates a business where the business model is selling other clients’ branding and intellectual property thereby setting each one of the discount logo buyers up for legal action against them? Forget his disclaimer, it’s just a really stupid business model. How can he guarantee satisfaction to a client who gets sued for using his services? Logo Garden users beware big time. If your company and what it stands for means something to you, best to hire a professional for all the reasons mentioned above in this article

  5. Tom, thanks for your comment. Business model, indeed. At the end of the day, how much pride does the LogoGarden “design” team feel for the work they do? How do they value themselves as people, knowing they lack integrity when doing business with others?

    Speaking of work…Tom, I checked your website. Your illustrative style is awesome! Continue on with your good work. Let’s together show what honest, quality and from-the-heart design really is!

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