Cheap Online Logo Design – No Eden for Designers or Deal-seeking Advertisers

The truth behind the $69.00 logo.

This week, a good friend and business acquaintance of mine who just happens to be one of the most talented designers I’ve ever known, alerted me a huge scam unfolding in the design world. I’m still appalled by the brazen actions taken by this company—the actual theft of logo mark designs for the purpose of reselling them.

As an advocate for building strong brands with unique and ownable identities, I’ve never been a fan of online logo generation sites—whether it is a DIY logo site or crowd sourcing, but I won’t digress to that topic beyond saying that business owners should know better, but some of them don’t. The attraction of cheap, online immediate design gratification is strong in our cash-strapped economy. Because it’s online, unsuspecting business owners think they’re getting a great deal. When they actually may be getting something that is in direct copyright violation, and for which the offending website takes zero responsibility (if anyone bothers to read the fine print).

My friend found 28 of his logo marks, each developed for clients, on a site called LogoGarden(dot)com. A site where anyone can go online and create their own business logo for $69.00. The marks had been modified ever so slightly but were still blatent rip-offs. The design blogosphere has been lit up with rage and discussion on what legal actions to take against the site. Not only have my friend’s logo marks been stolen, other top designers and design firms from around the world have discovered their work on the site.

In the past few days, some have seen success in removing the stolen logos by going to the site host and filling out a copyright form, asking for each mark to be removed, and contacting the site directly with specific lists. But this removal work is only for one design firm undertaking the effort. Many other stolen logos may remain up for sale unless a designer discovers his or her work on the site and goes through the same process. The fight is not over.

Below is a visual example I pulled from Recognize the Panda from World Wildlife Fund and the Time Warner “eye”? The top logo marks are for sale on the site, the bottom ones are the originals.

I think this comparison pretty much explains what’s going on, but if you want to see and read more about logo marks that have been stolen for resale, I encourage you to visit these links below.

“Love Thy Logo,” by Bill Gardener, RockPaperInk:

“DIY, Crowd Sourcing or Piracy—You be the Judge,” by Gary LoBue Jr., Drawing Conclusions:

“More Logo Thievery,” by Scott Lewis,

Remember the expression, If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is…? Well it’s true for $69.00 logos, too.

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