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!