Hijacking a Logo

The other day I came across this article that shows a few modern logos looking eerily similar to logos found over 30 years ago. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the most similar ones:


If you don’t want to go through and read the article, the writer, Rain Noe, admits that he is an “industrial designer who’s solely worked on three-dimensional products, I’ve never designed a logo in my life”. And he goes on to ask graphic designers and art directors the question, “is it reasonable to believe that the latter logos were created without ever having seen the black-and-white images?” So, I figured I would put in my two cents on the subject.

Starting in high school I began to notice a strange pattern occurring in my “creative” classes, from true art/design classes to writing classes. And in one of my writing classes, Mythology, I remember very clearly being told there are only seven different story plots. The basis behind this was to get us to not waste our time with trying to come up with new stories. Something very similar was taught to me in most of my design classes as well, there are no new ideas anymore. Even if you think you came up with some brilliant “new” concept, you are still pulling bits and pieces of something you have seen previously, from your subconscious. Austin Kleon even wrote a book about it, Steal Like an Artist.

Bringing this whole thing full circle, I choose to see the good in people. In this case, I prefer to believe that the designers behind the recent logos, have seen the older logos previously, but weren’t purposefully copying them. I believe the designers had pushed them deep into their subconscious and thought they had come up with a new “original” idea. Otherwise, I think they would have at least changed them a bit so they weren’t replicas.

My advice for any young designer to avoid this is simple; know where you’re getting your ideas. There are a couple reasons for this, first, if you get questioned about your design, you can trace it back and walk through the process of creation. Second, if you know where you drew your inspiration, then you can change it enough so that it doesn’t look like a replica of something you had seen in your subconscious.