A note on plagiarism and logo design
Plagiarism is a significant problem in the graphic design industry, especially in logo designing. Many of our clients have concerns about the originality of a logo design.
There are many readymade logo design sites as well as freelance designers who create logos and sell them online. Doing a simple Google search brings up many similar designs made by different people.
Differentiating between an original design and a copied design is not an easy task. Clients ask us questions such as “how much differentiation is enough to secure logo copyright?”
With our experience and after talking to some legal experts, we understand that there is no specific way to check whether a design is original or plagiarized.
In the case of logo designs, text logos are more prone to plagiarism than shape or icon based logos.
Even if it is unintentional, text only or wordmark logo designs can bear a strikingly similar resemblance to an existing logo.
When a general viewer looks at two logos and cannot differentiate enough between them, the logo in question is assumed plagiarized. At the same time, another viewer may be able to notice the subtle differences and may not call the logo in question to be a copied logo.
In the case of text-based logos, it is the decision-making authorities who decide what is original and what is not.
On the other hand, shape or icon based logos are less prone to plagiarism.
Unless two icons or shapes are precisely similar in entirety, an image based logo may not be called a plagiarized one. No matter how closely it may resemble another logo, a slight differentiation in shape often qualifies as an original and give the owner security of copyright.
Another reason for this is that most icon based logos also have a brand name that is different in most cases. As logo as the brand name is different and the symbol is not an exact copy of an existing logo, the logo in question cannot be called plagiarized.
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Logo designers should always strive to come up with original designs. At the same time, clients should also be careful at their end and use simple techniques such as Google image search to find out whether its a plagiarized design. Designers should request their clients for enough time to come up with creative ideas.