Thursday, June 21, 2007

Logo Design Faux Pas: Copying a well-known brand

Yesterday after my evening yoga class at Healthworks in Porter Square, I stopped into Cambridge Naturals to pick up a yoga bolster and a quick snack to tide me over after my workout. While I was at the counter, grabbing a few Flavor+Fiber bars (man, the chocolate brownie flavor is good), I tried a quick sample of Foods Alive Golden Flax Crackers and was instantly hooked. They're quick, crunchy, really healthy and insanely good. I tell you, this is my new PMS food - HANDS DOWN.

Unfortunately, they also have THIS as their brand:
Target logo, anyone?

See that thing on the left hand side? That's their logo. Recognize it from anywhere?

Yep - it's Target's logo with some text over it. And even if it wasn't, what's the concept behind this? What does a bullseye have to do with crackers made of flax seed?

Now, mind, I don't mean any of this as a diminishment of the company - they produce a, frankly, amazing product and one that I really want to see on the market for a very long time. But this is the reason why cheap/do-it-yourself design so often fails; because designers are paid to make sure that what they design is unique and appropriate to each business they deal with, and often that means looking around to make sure that what they're thinking of hasn't been used by someone else. When you're doing it yourself for your own business, too often you end up with quick solutions that are either boring, don't really speak to your business does, or in some extreme cases, look exactly like another company's logo. I won't get into some of the other controversies surrounding other "cheap" logo services; those have been long rehashed by the design community, and I can't add anything that hasn't already been said by about four different people.

So what to do about this? I sent the company a quick and friendly note letting them know about the faux pas and thanking them for making such a great snack. Aside from that, there's not much left other than hoping that they find someone to create a more original identity for them.

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