Recently, there’s been a bit of a s***storm happening online in regards to LogoGarden.com, a new cheap logo site that just launched. While most designers I know (including myself) hate these sites for various reasons, this particular site looks particularly heinous. While sites like LogoWorks and 99Designs at least pretend that you’re getting work from professional designers (hint: you aren’t), this site admits to “compiling the greatest symbols from around the globe” in order to give its users the ability to quickly and cheaply “save themselves from the embarrassment of a crappy logo.” The video below, put together by these folks, illustrates the story of both types of sites pretty well:
The interesting thing about this video, and about the various things that have been written about the aforementioned site (mostly by its owner), is this:
While the various “cheap logo sites” claim to have professional designers, but more often than not use untrained designers who actively steal other people’s work, logo garden basically admits to ripping off the work of professional designers directly in their advertising.
A few of my friends in the design community, including Jeff Fisher and Von Glitschka, have already spotted several of their logos being ripped off by the site; in fact, both of them seem to have found at least 20 of their logos, if not more, being offered to customers of the site.
This is all horrible, and clearly the dude who runs this site is irresponsible, if not actively malicious. But the more I read about it online, the more I wonder if actual legal action is being (or even can be) taken against these guys. Below is a conversation I had about the subject in response to Jeff Fisher’s discovery of yet another logo of his that had been ripped off by this service.
Dani Nordin: Are you and Von planning on delivering Cease and Desist letters to these guys?
Tom Stephan: Von did one better — he tagged the WWF and asked them if they’d seen their logo ^_^
Dani Nordin: +Tom Stephan That’s great, but I don’t see it as “one better.” Frankly, we can bitch and moan about stolen designs as much as we want on the internet; it’s not going to stop these idiots in their tracks until there’s real legal action behind it.
Tom Stephan: I think hitting them from all angles is best. One flashlight scares a cockroach. Floodlights stun it and make it easier to squash. I’m certainly not saying this situation is funny or amusing; I’ve had my own work stolen (not in this scope or scale) and I’m aware that it’s invariably who has the money to fight the thievery. The WWF certainly does, and that may turn the tide in favor of the ‘good guys.’ That being said, LogoGarden will shut down and reopen in a few months or weeks as “LogoForest” or something, and start again…it is what it is, and one of the unfortunate downsides to a tech-enhanced world.
Dani Nordin: +Tom Stephan I don’t disagree with that, actually; I just find myself jaded when I see several days of angry Internet conversation about something without any kind of formal cease and desist letter… of course, seeing it from the outside, it’s very possible that there has been one, but that fact hasn’t been shared. The sad thing is that these types of idiots will never go away; and at least this LG site doesn’t pretend that their competition is professional designers; in the intro video I saw online, they were pretty clear that LogoWorks, etc. was the alternative for this market. They even called out several of the key reasons that professional designers advise against sites like that; the cheap labor, the dude who knows Photoshop (sorta) and throws things together quickly.
Ultimately, the market for all of these sites is the cash-strapped “entrepreneur” who has a “million-dollar idea” but doesn’t know what’s really required to get something like that launched. In other words, the types of clients that most professional designers (especially independents) find crazy-making.