Logo Design for Dummies – and Thieves

LogoGarden steals designers' copyrighted work

In the past few years, there has been a proliferation of DIY logo sites. Pay a fee, choose an icon from a library, add your business name in a font you like, and presto – a logo for your company! No annoying designer asking questions about your business and your clients, taking (in your mind) a long time to come up with options, charging (in your mind) an outrageous fee. What could be easier or more cost effective than doing it yourself?

Before you check these sites out, let me tell you a little more about the business practices of LogoGarden, one of these DIY sites, where, for $79, it’s literally a steal to get a logo.

In a press-release dated August 11, 2011, LogoGarden’s president John Williams claims to have “invested in a graphics database populated by thousands of symbols by top global designers.” What he neglects to mention is that many, if not most, of these icons are copyrighted and NOT for use by anyone. LogoGarden tries covering itself in the fine print: “LogoGarden has no obligation or duty to perform copyright, trademark or service mark searches to validate the symbol database is not infringing on any trademark, copyright or service marks. Accordingly, LogoGarden encourages Users to perform their own independent searches. User acknowledges that LogoGarden shall have no responsibility to assist User in seeking state or federal intellectual property protection (i.e., trademark registration). LogoGarden shall not be responsible to assist User to perfect the Users rights.”

In other words, if you choose an icon from their library and it happens to be legitimately owned by, oh, say, the World Wildlife Federation (true story – read about it here), then YOU, not LogoGarden, may be subject to infringement litigation from the original designer, their clients, sub-contracted agencies or design firms, design annual publishers and, because of the visibility of the mark, quite possibly a Fortune 500 company and its legal team.

What happens if you discover your DIY logo looks just like Obama’s campaign logo? Any savvy consumer would demand a refund, but LogoGarden’s fine print states that fees are not refundable. Yet their press-release boasts “unheard-of 100% customer satisfaction.” Pretty easy to claim when you don’t give refunds or take responsibility for the content you offer.

So buyer beware! You may be getting a lot more for your $79 than you bargained for – more headaches, more litigation, more aggravation. What you won’t get is an original logo.

The only true statement in LogoGarden’s press-release is the title of the included video, “Logo Design for Dummies.” Because only a dummy would think this is a good way for anyone to do business.

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