Weekend Heller: Plagiarism, No. Thanksgivanukkha, Si.

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Let’s Get RealIf you’re looking for a definition of plagiarism look below and read this story about a ripoff of a logo by Louise Fili for a Texas restaurant, Aventino, from LogoThief. There’s copying and then there’s COPYING. And seriously, if you’re going to copy, don’t do every little graphic flourish. And changing the type is NOT enough. But this is more layered than just a blatant unethical act . . .


Designer Felix Sockwell, who brought this to my attention, contacted the owner of Marie’s Cafe – Deli. Coincidentally, Sockwell eats there once a month. Upon seeing the evidence, the owner apologized profusely. It turns out that the logo came from a cut-rate online off-shore logo firm – the fee was 24.99. The owner volunteered to remove everything with the logo, menus, tee shirts, etc..” Sockwell also noted the owner “is thoroughly ashamed and angry, and says he should’ve known what to expect at that price.”

The bitter pill is this: While some online logo firms may be free of sin, they all undercut professional designers with ridiculously low charged fees. Since volume is the key to their success, the likelihood of “borrowed” designs increase exponentially. And if the work is being done in parts of the world where copyright and trademark registration isn’t respected, every designer who shows work on a studio or business website is at risk.

A logo is as important as any other business decision. Know your designer. Due diligence is required.

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HappyholiholydaysYou’ve heard about turducken. Here’s the printing equivalent:


While the folks at Purgatory Pie Press, Esther Smith and Dikko Faust, were visiting the Newberry Library they were talking to the curator. “He said – you know Thanksgiving and Hannukkah are on the same day this year,” says Smith, “which will not happen again in our lifetime. He encouraged us to make alphabet posters. And in the meantime, I thought: How about Thansgivanukkah cards!” So Faust hand set and proofed the 1890s Hebrew wood type from a Lower East Side Yiddish printer and Craw Clarendon metal type; the cantor next door checked for typos – and Voila!

You can find them for sale $5 each or $20 for sets of 6 at the Melodia Holiday Bazaar. Sunday November 24, 4:30-6pm. 245 W 77th St @West End Av in the Collegiate Church.

Competition for DesignersHave you created a great design for a once-in-a-lifetime event? Enter your work in the new competition, Print Celebrates Design, which recognizes outstanding design work created for specific events and holidays.


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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →