LogoMaid Rips Off Simplebits Logo

by Brian Gilham on March 22, 2007

Dan Cederholm, a well-known designer from Salem, Massachusetts, stirred furious debate within the online design community yesterday after he accused LogoMaid, a less-than-reputable logo creation service, of stealing his work. He discovered an alleged ripoff of his SimpleBits logo being sold on the site for a paltry $199, grabbed a screen shot, and posted it to his Flickr account.

It’s not an exact copy, obviously, but enough elements are similar to warrant serious concern. The four brackets, surrounding a cube-like object split into sections — it’s all there. Aside from the colour palette, there isn’t very much original work in LogoMaid’s version. If you could even call that originality. A quick overlay of Cederholm’s logo with LogoMaid’s makes the supposed plagiarism all the more obvious:

In situations like these, one would expect the offending company to squash the matter as quickly as possible, right? Surely they have nothing to gain by furthering any bad publicity and angering an entire community in the process, right? Right? Well, somebody should have sent that particular memo to Paul Viluda, owner of LogoMaid. Adding his two cents to the Flickr comment thread, Viluda accused Cederholm of stealing their work and threatened him with a lawsuit. He then apparently created a number of fake users to defend his position.

Predictably, word of the situation has spread quickly. John Gruber, of Daring Fireball fame, posted a quick write-up on the matter and the story hit the front page of Digg about two hours ago. People have started jumping on the bandwagon, pointing out other examples of LogoMaid’s intellectual property theft, including an extremely obvious copy of the Apple logo.

Unfortunately, LogoMaid is not the only site out there suspected of peddling stolen designs and “borrowing” the work of talented, hard-working designers. It’s a problem that has plagued those in the creative arts since the beginning of time and it affects everyone. Writers, painters, photographers, designers, illustrators — no one is immune to the threat of less-talented people leeching off their work.

Fortunately, as Gruber points out in his post, the solution is an easy one — Shine the light on these vermin. The more people who speak up when these situations are discovered, the harder it will be for thieves to profit from the hard work of others.