Panic! Okay, maybe not quite yet.
I’ve run into this a couple of times, mostly after I’d designed a new logo for a client. Once or twice they’ve come back to me, worried that their logo looked like another logo floating around out there.
Luckily, in each case, they really didn’t look anything alike, rather, shared only a few characteristics. Disaster averted.
Now that being said, it is becoming increasingly difficult for designers to come up with truly unique designs.
I’m not saying that as a copout, it’s simply a fact.
This is partially because practically everything that can be thought of already has been done, and also because of our global communications. Everyone and everything is interconnected, so it’s nearly impossible to have pure, unadulterated inspiration.
Even the most honest designers, once they’ve seen something, that image is burned into their subconscious and may resurface, unwittingly, into a logo design later. While good designers will rack their brains and try to think of design solutions that aren’t obvious, at the end of the day, it’s simply a numbers game.
So what if your new logo, or a logo you designed for someone, actually DOES look like another logo already in existence?
Do you demand your money back, or start over from scratch? No so fast. First, check through these criteria to see if this is something you really need to worry about to begin with.
1. Ask yourself: are the logos in the same industry?
The rule of thumb is, similar logos are more acceptable the more distinct the industries are. Say you find a logo that is eerily similar to yours, but you’re in healthcare but theirs is in the entertainment industry.
Since the primary focus of a logo is to differentiate yourself from your direct competitors, it’s less of a problem if there’s similarities across different industries.
Similar looking logos are more acceptable the more distinct the industries are. Click To Tweet
2. Ask yourself: are the companies in the same region?
Even if two competing businesses have similar logos, the problem is mitigated if the companies are separated by geography. Now, this can be up to interpretation, but generally holds true.
So for example, if you’re based on the West coast of America, and you have a competitor with a similar logo, but they’re located across the pond in Ireland, you probably don’t have much to worry about.
The worst case scenario?
You have a similar logo to a company that’s located in the same city as you, who deals in the same industry. Which means you or your designer didn’t do enough research, because something will have to change; either you or them, and I doubt they’ll want to be it.
What about you?
Any close calls with logo designs that looked the same? How much can a logo be similar before you say it’s a rip off? Is having similarities always a bad thing?