Uniqueness is one of the most classic arguments when creating and presenting a new logotype for a company or organisation. Although we see a growing number of conflicts where companies take legal action when accusing the other party of stealing or copying their corporate symbol.

John Mellkvist, Creative Director of Stockholm based graphic design company JohnLook.com with business cards as signature product, has long experience of working with graphic identity. In Resumé, Sweden’s leading media news magazine he explains this new phenomenon.

– It’s a strong trend today that a company finds their logotype used by another organisation. On top of this, media has become interested in this and reports these things more often than before says John Mellkvist.

A good example of this was when two dentists from Cheltenham, UK last year were sued by Fashion giant Lacoste for using a similar Crocodile as their trademark. The significant outcome of this was that the two dentists won this prestigious legal battle.

-The problem is that many design companies, when you consult their service marketing professionals, still use the unique as an argument as we sell graphic identity. Before internet this was possible because a lot of similar symbols lived their life without meeting each other, says John Mellkvist.

One of the most talked about logotype issues last year was when Norska Posten (Norwegian Post) launched their new logotype, which including the advertising campaign had a cost of about 30 million euros.

As soon as it was presented it was observed that London Clearing House used an almost identical logotype. Brand consultants demanded that the logotype of Norska Posten should be stopped immediately.

John Mellkvist believes very few logotypes are ripped off deliberately. The reason behind the visual conflicts we see is according to Mellkvist  that designers as a group are consuming the same media, picking up the same trends etcetera, but also that there are very few ”vacant” graphic expressions for a company to have.

-I’m not saying that well functioning logotypes ought to be thrown in the bin. I’m talking about all the new brand names that is yet to be designed. They will be nice, suitable, edgy etcetera. But unique? I doubt it.

Article in Swedish about a recent case. And another one.

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