August 14, I receive an email from Von Glitschka asking if I was aware of the www.LogoGarden.com site or that they had posted a number of Gardner Design's logos for sale. Cut to their URL and it's a "Do It Yourself" logo and business card site for $79. They have "created" thousands of logos for you to select from. Place them with type and add color and they'll take your money. Thank you.
Bastards. There are three of my logos on the front page assigned to new companies with testimonials by each emoting about the exceptional service and tremendous design. Look, there's a logo by Felix Sockwell and another by Tracy Sabin and a couple by Paul Howalt. Shit these guys have Tom Geismar, Michael Vanderbyl, and Landor doing stuff for them, or at least their logos are there. It looks like I could own the World Wildlife panda or the Time Warner mark for a song.
Move beyond the front page and do some serious digging. According to John Williams the owner of the site he's able to offer "10,000 new symbols designed by John himself and his hand-picked team of world-class logo designers." That's hand-picked as in picked our pockets. Just click on a field of interest and page after page of world-class work is waiting to be snagged by the next unsuspecting rube.
After paging through a few thousand marks I had amassed just shy of 200 Gardner Design logos for sale. Each mark had been auto traced and then ever so slightly modified. A cluster of three bubbles in the water became two. A bird that faced right now faces left. A cat's tail that was straight now has a crook at the end of it. Our attorney's letter to the sites owner summed up this nuance modification nicely as follows. "In fact, such action by you clearly indicates that your infringement was with full knowledge that you did not have a right to copy these images and constitutes willful copyright infringement."
Cease and Desist:
Most of the designers I've been in touch with have had their attorneys contact Mr. Williams. Several of the corporations whose logos are registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office are also taking action. Frankly, I encourage you to visit the sight and pound through the garden to identify the works of yours or your fellow designers. Screen shoot these and pass them along to the unaware designer victims so they too can take action. With a concerted effort from those that toiled to create the product this man is hocking, he might start to get a little heartburn.
Brandishing himself across the internet as an award-winning designer and self-proclaimed brand guru, a quick look at John Williams life shows him establishing LogicDesign.net, then starting LogoYes.com, another do it yourself logo site. LogoGarden.com is registered with additional domains in Canada, the UK and Germany so who knows what kind of world domination he has planned now that he's built a model on the backs of and out of the cupboards of others.
This guys brazen timidity is unmatched. I've met him before, or at least others that have no remorse or moral compass. What ever happens here will probably be in direct proportion to your own sense of outrage or willingness to dig in and confront John Williams. The general public has no idea where this work came from or that it is not his to sell. They will find they have paid a price for a pound of pain once they too discover the deception.
You'll note I avoided going on a tirade about the issues with the $100 internet logo firms. They have foibles that too deserve penance but designers have no forgiveness for theft. Thou shall not steal another designers work.
I am a THIEF. If I'm to make a living at it I have to STEAL something that has value to someone else.