Master illustrator Josh Williams posted earlier this week about a company called MaxMost.com who was displaying as their logo an exact pixel-for-pixel copy of the logo he had earlier created for SquareSpace. The two logos are pictured below:
It is obvious, even to the untrained eye, that the similarities here are no coincidence. Everything is perfectly identical, right down to the shading of the elements. This sort of theft is not very common, because it is a) blatantly illegal, b) blatantly immoral, c) hardly defensible, and d) easily discoverable. For these reasons, it is almost never the fault of the company who is displaying the logo and can almost always be traced back to a dishonest person (we won’t call him/her a “designer”) outside the company who was contracted to produce something.
Most small businesses don’t have the money to hire a designer to create a logo. It is far better to put together something plain that you create yourself than to steal a design from another company.
In addition to the obvious legal implications of this type of theft, you are also sending a bad signal to your customers. A “knock off” logo says that you are unimaginative, lack vision and are a thief. Don’t do it. It’s a bad idea.