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Logos look like logos that look like logos

... What did you find? What did you think?

Grand Brand Theft

Our good buddy Susan Kirkland worte this insightful article which deserves to be read... or read again!

There it is, that new car you've wanted for quite a while, parked right there in your driveway. A guy comes over and says, "Man, that is so totally cool. Can I have it?" You say, "No, you can't have it. Duh." And what would happen if he decided to take it anyway? You could call the cops, naturally, because car theft is a crime. As a democratic society, we've made a rule against stealing cars and those who get caught violating the rule, are arrested for grand theft.

Note this URL Grand Brand Theft

Originality in Logo Design

There's a great deal of chatter in the bush-league blogs about rip-offs and logo similarities. Mike Davidson writes "Never waste a stroke." in his thoughtful essay on logo design. He addresses the most common form of logo dispute, inspired mutation which few of the come-lately bloggers know about or even mention. But logo similarities are almost always unavoidable. After all, if you use red, white and blue, you'll be accused of copying the Pepsi logo...

However, it's also advice that can inadvertently get you in trouble. Draw a blue circle on the screen and you've just stolen the Blaupunkt logo. Draw a yellow line and you're copying Visa. Draw a black swoosh and you're ripping off Nike. The less intricacies involved in creating your masterpiece, the more likely it is that someone has already created it.

Note this URL Read Mike's essay Originality in Logo Design

Logo rip-off of the rich and famous

Starbucks logo rip off What logo is least likely to get ripped off? Starbucks? Well, it appears that the Seattle media keeps a close watch on their golden child's turf as illustrated by this article from Joseph Tartakoff article ... Saving souls in Starbucks' image. Joseph writes:

The hair dangling down the Starbucks siren's face did not always hide her body so discreetly -- but as the business expanded over the years, the company first hid her chest and later her belly button. In the latest incarnation of the logo, though, adopted by the nation's leading Christian-themed apparel company on thousands of shirts and hats, the nude siren has been replaced altogether by another long-haired figure: Jesus Christ.

Note this URL See: Saving souls in Starbucks' image

Monica Guzman says:

Looks like the Rat City Rollergirls will get to keep their logo after all. The roller derby team got into a bit of a dispute with Starbucks this spring after the coffee giant asked the team to change its logo, which it deemed too similar to its own.

And, I just have to ask does this really look like a case for the courts?

Starbucks vs Rat City

Note this URL See: Rollergirls win bout with Starbucks over logo

And just for fun, Susan Paynter P-I Columnist chimes in saying:

Look closely, you'll see. In the new Starbucks Coffee logo coming to 150 stores near you, the signature siren on the coffee bean bags, shopping bags and napkins has been cut off at the - um - pockets. That is to say, the image of the famous twin-tailed trademark has been cropped at the waist, above the belly button, so that she no longer appears to be holding her appendages up around her ears.

Note this URL See: Coffee Logo Lady Won't Be The Same

Logo look a-likes

Sometimes logo look a-likes are intentional, but other times merely mistakes or parallel developments. Everyone remembers the famous 1976 NBC logo fiasco -- when the little NBC logo looked just a wee bit too much like the logo used by Nebraska's ETV Network. Maybe you were too young, so this Mental Floss article recants the incident ...

It might well be considered one of NBC's biggest blunders. On New Year's Day 1976, NBC proudly unveiled a new, modern "N" logo that had been developed and unveiled at a staggering cost of more than $600,000. The problem was that many viewers in Nebraska -- including NETV program director Ron Hull, watching the Tournament of Roses parade -- thought the logo looked just a tad familiar.

So you see, even a $100 logo can be copied by a half-million dollar agency.

Note this URL See:, and the picture

Nobody is safe from look a-like claims...

You could probably make a living chasing down logo look a-likes. There are companies that make huge dollars scouring the web looking for copyright and trademark infringements for big-time clients. Why not logos? Well, finding look a-likes is a little different. It requires human intravention -- and those companies are too lazy to actually do the work. But believe me, similarities are out there by the thousands...


Over at Giggle Sugar they've listed a whole bunch of instances where everyone looks like someone (or thing) else. How about "Wendy" and "Peppy" as above?

Over at RavalFish, you'll find a listing of Rivalfish.Com's Top 14 Logo Lookalikes as compiled by Kristine Arth, Mary Kotyuk, Josh Downs, Jonah Ansell, Mike Raspatello, Dan Raspatello, Scott Merz, Pete Keeley. These writers exclaim:

Do you ever watch a sporting event and think, "Who the hell does that mascot look alike?" Yeah, we did the same and took it a couple steps further. Even if you pay attention to the games and not the mascots dancing on the sideline or stitched to a jersey, we have compiled a list of the top celebrity/logo look-alikes for your viewing pleasure.

Note this URL See: Rivalfish.Com's Top 14 Logo Lookalikes

All around the country you'll find prime examples

Somebody accused Chinese Car companies of 'borrowing' ... and thought the BYD logo looks suspiciously like the BMW logo. Does it?


When a high-profile similarity pops up, the blogosphere is quick to jump on the band wagon... just see these shining examples -- which really don't have much to say:
ford vs Carrier
But if you watched the Super Bowl, you also saw which is ALSO a knock-off. And if you looked hard enough, you'd find a hundred other blue ellipses that look just like Ford's logo. (Pointed out by

The Chanhassen Villager points out that Chanhassen High School's new logo looks a lot like a logo of a minor league baseball team.

Creative Pro writes about the Quark logo -- which was picked up by a thousand bloggers all over. Creative Pro's Gene Gable writes:

Quark's new logo is strikingly similar to several others. Is it theft? A global conspiracy? Or a failure to follow basic design principles? Gene Gable gives you the dirt, including ways you can sidestep the same type of predicament.

Note this URL See: hubbub surrounding Quark's new logo, and picture and

I could go on and on and on about it -- but then I'd be just like all the others out there who call attention to the similarities between seals that is almost unavoidable. The main point, and the learning moment here is:

When you are buying, creating, designing, or developing a logo, seek to symbolize the essence of what the logo represents and refine it until it speaks the right message. Then do as much research as possible, and attempt to make sure it's not already in use.

And I think this is the perfect opportunity to unveil my new logo:

logo spoof on Photoshop

What do you think? You've never seen that before!

LOL ... Gotcha!

Until next time... Keep on designing

Fred Showker
      Fred Showker, Editor/Publisher


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