Tuesday, August 23, 2005

LogoWorks - really a bargain?

As a graphic designer, I know what goes into a good logo design. I could give you a long-winded explanation, but I believe that the best explanation I have seen is written by Pentagram whom I quote here:

Quote: "Identity is the unique character of a group or brand - a combination of reputation, name, culture, manner and values. Identity design represents these qualities and in doing so adds something to them. The identity designer has to become intricately involved in the group or brand in order to understand and thus influence its presented image."

Many small businesses are drawn to the promise of the "cheap fix" that a company like Logoworks provides, and when a professional designer criticizes the work that these "discount logo" sites turn out, they are often perceived as bitter about losing business to these sites.

I would refer them to this comment, made by Von Glitschka of Bad Design Kills:

Quote:"I am not debating whether LogoWorks.com should be allowed to run their business. They have every right to and I'll be happy to compete with them any day of the week. But that said they should not get a free pass to steal artwork and concepts from those they directly compete with."

Here is the example that started it all:

On the left is an example of an alleged "LogoWorks" logo. On the right is a logo that was designed by Mark Fox, which appears on page 133 of the book "The New American Logo" :

It is likely that many will recognize this one! Original design on the left, source: http://www.xerox.com. Version on the right as seen on InstaLogo.com owned by LogoWorks.com.

And there are many, MANY more. (A complete record of the copied work is being showcased on "Bad Design Kills" here. Take a look!)

For more information, please read this article, written by Chris Gee at The Prepared Mind.

To add insult to injury, the disclaimer on the Logoworks site reads:

"Client agrees and acknowledges that it uses each Response at its own risk and that it is responsible for taking any actions it deems reasonable to determine whether its use of a Response will infringe any third party intellectual property, privacy or publicity rights...

Client acknowledges that LogoWorks shall have no obligation or duty to perform trade or service mark searches or inquiries, or the like, in order validate the propriety or legality of the Response compositions...

if you have a dispute with one or more users, you release LogoWorks (and our affiliates, agents and employees) from claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential, direct and indirect) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed..."

Now, LogoWorks also states on their website:

"According to the Graphic Artists Guild you'll pay $2,000 to $10,000 for a corporate logo at a traditional design firm. You can get a company logo from LogoWorks for only $299. And since each logo designer is a specialist, you'll get a higher quality logo design at a better price."

So what exactly does it take to become a logo specialist at LogoWorks? If you check their website you will see the qualifications listed as follows:

"Here is what you will need to signup:
- Two samples of your work (any graphic file or Office document)
- A Social Security number (if you are a US Citizen)"


"There is some personal information that we will verify before you can get started. This process usually takes 1-2 business days."

I can not begin to comprehend how LogoWorks can use these minimal requirements to declare someone a "specialist" and then advertise themselves as the "best designers in the business".

In conclusion, if you are in the market for a logo, think twice about using a "discount logo" website. There are as many solutions and as many prices out there as there are designers. While using an "instant logo website" might seem the quick and easy solution, it may result in unexpected legal fees and bad publicity that make it considerably less of a bargain!