Clipart plus text does not equal a logo

In the days of tight budgets and uneducated entrepreneurs, companies such as promise to bring a cheap alternative to custom-made brand development.

LogoGarden claims to be an expert veteran in the field:

“For 15 years founder John Williams owned an award-winning branding firm that served national and global companies. His firm’s growing fame led many entrepreneurs to seek John’s assistance with their branding and Logo Design.” also declares that the versatile system with which customers can create a $79 logo is their own creation:

“John built on this vast experience to now bring you It reflects his most advanced thinking to deliver enhanced ease of use and more than 10,000 new symbols designed by John himself and his hand-picked team of world-class logo designers.”

If only it were true.

In an article detailing the amount of creative theft, designer Bill Gardner lashes out at LogoGarden and its owner, John Williams and describes how more than 200 images have been so far identified as flat out stolen.

“Most of the designers I’ve been in touch with have had their attorneys contact Mr. Williams. Several of the corporations whose logos are registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office are also taking action.

Domainers seeking cheap thrills from unqualified people or companies offering “logo” services must understand that slapping stylized text next to clipart does not constitute a logo or brand identity design. A professional designer’s role is to create from scratch something new and fresh that matches the requirements of the project.

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  1. Solid post, image theft happens all the time. From what I’ve read so far is providing a tool to customers who unknowingly realize that they could potentially have stolen images in logos that they’ve created.

    This could be the start of a class action forming. It’s unfortunate that these types of companies are rarely sighted for committing such actions.

  2. Theo I have always found it hard to know exactly what a designer makes from scratch and what they borrow.

    I have seen logos and the person asked was this created by you ? They say yes and then later see it on another site.

    It would be great to know if the image was legit but seems like its not possible.

  3. Jason & RH – when one uses pre-designed elements, there is no proof of creation of the artwork, e.g. drawings, drafts, etc. For the buyers of the LogoGarden services, this is extremely unfortunate.

  4. Most designers who’ve actually done a great deal and sent their complaints and attorneys to Williams managed to receive a reply. Check this out

  5. Oh and just to add, I believe the reply was pretty much a generic reply to all who complained and that Williams is simply scapegoating. As RLandon would say “Sorry I got caught stealing your work. Now let me blame it on someone else to save my own ass.”

  6. @Acro: Here’s a question. The linked article says that the guy was caught basically by luck (notification by someone who happened to make the connection).

    How often do you designer guys use Tineye for tracking your work? Seems like you could simply submit your work to Tineye as soon as it’s finalized, then use their API to track copies periodically. Which would (should) detect situations like this immediately, even where the original art was altered slightly.

    Or maybe that is indeed standard practice now? Just curious.

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