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Why Logo Design Plagiarism Is a Serious Issue for Brands in 2017

Nearly every brand has a logo to represent itself because the logo serves as a visual manifestation of your brand’s goals, mission or even its character. It’s the tool through which customers come to identify your brand with, but come 2017, the world of logos and logo design is changing fast because technology now allows brands to utilize their logos in a wide variety of unconventional ways and gather data on exactly how much monetary impact did the logo bring on to the brand.

HotelTonight App

HotelTonight is an app which provides users with critical last minute information on rooms available in a particular hotel. The app uses a 3 step booking cycle in which users need to tap three times before the room can be booked, however, when the app ran into the problem of people booking accidentally and then demanding refunds, they needed a design solution. The solution would have to be highly potent in solving the issue of the process of bookings being “Too easy” and lead to a cut in accidental bookings.

In a design masterstroke, they found that their logo could serve as a UI fixture and stop people from booking accidentally. The logo, which resembles a bed, has to be traced by your finger before your booking is validated. This simple yet powerful use of the logo in solving an innate business problem led towards a direct impact on the firm’s monetary profits. Not just increasing the firm’s revenue by a steady average of 10% for the last five years, it also brought down fall-out and incomplete booking bounce off rates by 75%. HotelTonight’s logo is serving customers by being a functional tool which is part of the overall process of booking the room, providing a great example of how logos in and beyond 2017 would serve much more than surface-level branding purposes.

However, considering the increasing importance and the shifting usage applications for logos in the future, plagiarism would become an even more serious issue for logo designers, logo design companies and brands in particular.

Plagiarism in logo design has been talked about a lot and there have been countless logo designs in history that had striking similarities. The logos for popular high-end fashion brands, Coco Chanel and Gucci are unusually similar.

The problem with defending your logo from plagiarized comes from the issue of subjectivity. If a lawsuit is filed on copyright infringement to defend a certain brand’s logo against someone who has allegedly copied it, there is not a particular and defined way in which the judge could adjudge whether there was an unintentional similarity or a downright rip off from the original. The judge would only use an ordinary observer test to justify its final decisions and it can come either way because it’s immensely difficult to verify whether a visual design element like a logo has been copied or not. The designs which are intricate and complex may stand a better chance against a plagiarized logo but when a firm has used design fixtures like geometrical designs, which normally stay the same no matter where they are used, the decision will become more problematic.

While there has been some progress in the field of protecting visual copyright portfolios of brands from plagiarism by firms like TradeMark.Vision, who use Artificial intelligence to identify different regresses of a particular logo and then match their similarity with others present on its database, the technology still needs to expand its outreach by getting much more varying factors to get included in the decision-making process to make the inferences and results much more reliable. The technology is in its nascent stage and will take some time before it’s of much more use to brands and logo designs.

Currently, the best way through which you can remain scot-free in and after the logo design process for your own brand’s logo is to always look to hire a design firm that has experiential experience and sound knowledge of the industry’s design preferences, because this will provide you with added leverage on the fact that they will stand a lesser chance of accidentally or intentionally copying someone else’s design or helping you during a copyright infringement lawsuit with technical knowledge of various visual design elements that you can look to defend yourself on.

Your brand’s logo is your biggest differentiation factor and compromising it through leniency during the logo design process will be one of the most sedate yet dangerous mistakes you will make for your brand in the long run. Be involved in the process with the design firm and make it a point to check for relevancy independently at each stage for you to get an exclusive logo that no one else has.


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