If you look through the amazing book, World of Logotypes, The Trademark Encyclopedia by Al Cooper (Art Direction Book Company, Inc., 1978) you will find many logos that look similar. Back then it was a bit more complicated to make sure your logo, an image meant to visually distinguish you from the competition, didn’t infringe on someone else’s trademark. Or maybe not, because there are still so many similarities between logos in the book.
CBC’s iconic logo has a nuclear cousin in Seattle, WA.
One of the ways to make sure your logo is original is to pay a company millions of dollars to come up with a logo so crappy, there couldn’t possibly be a similar one out there. But that has its own PR issues.
As a consumate generalist I am not a logo designer. That being said I have designed about a dozen logos which were happily adopted. I just do it because I can’t afford a logo designer.
My strategy for creating something that is unique: Be weird and/or cheesy.
I created the PingCognito logo in Picnik using the basic clip arts. I think that might have been the program used to create the new Gap logo as well!!
For Atomic Rave, I completely ripped off a traditional music symbol signaling the player to take his foot off the pedal, and colored it purple. Why purple? Because it is the color of glowing Helium, the inert gas whose atoms are photo-displaced to generate movement and therefore power. Because an Atomic Rave Engine cannot be stopped, it requires no ‘gas’ pedal and it doesn’t deplete fossil fuels… It’s also similar in design to the internal components of the generator which is particularly well suited to create propeller driven vehicles. Could it be more obvious as a logo?! Therefore it falls into the cheesy category! One of the requirements of the logo design is that it will be used for many related projects, so we need to make it ‘iteration-friendly’. It’s a work in progress.
One of the biggest pitfalls of logo design is sticking too close to a one letter design. But then again, if your company starts with an S, it makes it easier to query and research companies which MIGHT have a similar logo.
The following two logo gaffes bend my mind because they copy the design of very well known Internet properties.
Haven’t you ever stumbled upon anything?!