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Communication Design

Buying your Own Logo – At Least it was Cheap

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 11, 2015

After our November article on designer Sacha Greif’s investigation of Fiverr, we were contacted with an unbelievable story. Apparently The Logo Factory, a logo design and branding shop, had their logo ripped off on Fiverr not once, but three times.

At the end of last October, The Logo Factory founder Steve Douglas discovered an old version of the company logo on Fiverr. Knowing Fiverr’s notorious reputation for non-responsiveness when it comes to infringement complaints, Douglas contacted the designer directly. To his relief, the logo was removed immediately. However, a few days later, Douglas was notified by Jeff Fisher of Logomotives that the current The Logo Factory logo – in all its 3D glory, and including the “founded in 1996” tagline – was appearing in another Fiverr designer’s portfolio. Since their logo is a well-recognized, trademarked asset, Douglas couldn’t ignore the infringement.

The difficulty, as always, was in getting Fiverr to respond to the notice of infringement. Appeals via their social media accounts went unanswered, and Douglas knew from experience that the only way to reach Fiverr directly is to open an account – an onerous undertaking exacerbated by the amount of SPAM the site sends to registered users. Instead, he decided to purchase his own logo directly from the designer. The experience made all the more surreal by the designer’s insistence that the logo was an original. The “final” artwork was delivered speckled with a  “free trial” watermark, obviously generated by some trial version of software the Fiverr designer had used to cull the logo. The designer messaged Douglas to say he was removing the logo from his portfolio. Since this had been Douglas’ goal all along, he was more or less happy with the result.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there. Ten days later, Douglas got another notice from Jeff Fisher: yet another Fiverr designer was showcasing the old The Logo Factory logo. As Douglas wrote, “Whack a mole indeed.”

You can read Douglas’ full story on The Logo Factory blog.

Below: the pixelated, watermarked logo, delivered by the Fiverr designer. Worth every cent of $5?

It’s Dying: Glaser’s Stark Message on Climate Change

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 02, 2015

It's Not Warming Its Dying logo'Hoping to galvanize public demand for effective policy addressing climate change, Milton Glaser unleashed a campaign titled “It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying.” As one would expect from the designer of the iconic “I Heart NY” logo, the campaign is built around a logo: a stark graphic of a globe, it’s green field almost completely obscured by a black gradient. The campaign urged contributors to purchase buttons and t-shirts; all proceeds went to creating more buttons and t-shirts. The goal was to create a visual message to politicians, showing a groundswell of public concern on climate change. The campaign was publicized with a Twitter account, using the hashtag, #itsnotwarming. The hope was that the campaign would go viral, beginning with students from the School of Visual Arts, where Glaser teaches.

The campaign had its critics. As Joe Romm wrote on Think Progress, the slogan, “It’s Not Warming,” reinforces climate change deniers. Romm also wrote that the focus on the earth, implied in the globe, fundamentally doesn’t work as a PR message. Instead, he feels that a better message would emphasize that people perish directly as a result of climate change, as witnessed by the 6,000+ deaths which occurred as a result of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Jeremy Porter on Grist took issue with the #itsnotwarming social media campaign, pointing out that communicators advise against repeating the language of one’s opponents.

Glaser disputed the criticism. As he told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, he feels the term “global warming” is reassuring and comforting: “You begin by attacking the phrase itself… the truth of the matter is that the earth is dying, and wouldn’t it be nice if today was the beginning of the most important date in human history, which is the date we decided not to let the earth die.”

Below: The campaign buttons made an appearance at the ico-D (Icograda) General Assembly in October.

It's Not Warming buttons at ico-D

Free Range Fonts: The Google Web Typographic Project

Posted by Rebecca Blake on January 29, 2015

Any web designer scouring through the Google Web fonts library knows how stultifying it can be to find the right combination of faces. After peering at the third (or tenth) waterfall of characters, serifs and weights start to blur into a typographic mess. Self-described tech-tinkerer, Femmebot (Phoebe E.), has come up with a  solution to show web fonts in their natural environment: Google Web Fonts Typographic Project.

The project sets Aesop’s Fables, from the Project Gutenberg translation, in Google web fonts. A minimum of two web fonts are paired, and are set in elegant layouts which combine the faces with background images, illustrations, and simple shapes. The result is a scrolling cheat-sheet of sometimes surprising, often pleasing, typeface combinations. Better yet, the selected fonts are listed on each layout and are hyperlinked to their page on Google Fonts. In most examples, the page designer is credited and linked as well. Google Fonts Typography continues to be a collaborative project, and Femmebot is accepting submissions through her Github account.

The project is the first in Femmebot’s larger initiative: 25x52, or 25 projects in 52 weeks. While the 25x52 seems to be a bit behind schedule – only seven projects have been completed since last summer — the projects have yielded interesting discussion and collaboration. In her end-of-year retrospective, Femmebot shares a thoughtful analysis of what the initiative has taught her about work and the perception of achievement.

Below: screenshot from Google Web Fonts Typographic Project. Used with permission.

Screenshot from Google Web Fonts Typographic Project

Making Brands (or at Least Their Logos) Responsive

Posted by Rebecca Blake on January 22, 2015

Last fall, UK designer Joe Harrison unveiled his exploration of scalable logos. The result was Responsive Logos, a simplistic website featuring the logos of major brands such as Coca Cola, Walt Disney, and Kodak. As the viewer resizes the browser window, the logos respond, becoming both smaller, and stripping away elements. At the window’s smallest size, the smallest recognizable feature remains: Chanel’s interlocking Cs, the Guiness harp, Nike’s swoosh. As Harrison wrote on his website, “The concept aims to move branding away from fixed, rigid guidelines into a more flexible and contextual system.”

The logo project follows his earlier Responsive Icons project, in which a detailed graphic of a house resizes and sheds gables, windows, the chimney, and the door as the screen resizes. At the screen’s smallest size, only a simple house shape is left. Harrison started the project to explore “the perfect balance of simplicity in relation to screen size.”

Both projects utilize SVG files, deployed as image sprites. The sprites are packaged with CSS rules and media queries into an encapsulated SVG file. Smashing Magazine analyzed Harrison’s Responsive Icon project, and published a detailed how-to. They conclude that scalable SVG icons satisfy some key needs, for responsive ads, logos, and application icons. With Responsive Logos, Harrison elegantly illustrates their application in branding.

Logos from screenshot of Responsive Logos. Used with permission.

Responsive Logos screenshot

In Memoriam: Charlie Hebdo

Posted by Rebecca Blake on January 12, 2015

Graphic Artists Guild members have been contributing artwork in the memory of the cartoonists and staff killed at Charlie Hebdo’s offices last week. Below is a sampling of the submissions.

All artwork is copyrighted to the artist, and used with permission.


© JP Schmelzer JP Schmelzer


© Michael DaterMichael Dater


Doug Jennings


© Lisa ShaftelLisa Shaftel


© Diane Barton Diane Barton


© Jennifer MertzJennifer Merz


Anonymous World Citizen

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