Tales From The Darkside Week Two
The Tale of the Logo Meltdown
Once upon a time there was a small chain of locally owned restaurants. They basically ripped off a logo from a large restaurant chain in the US, and they got some rather angry letters from their lawyers to change their logo ASAP.
The problem was of course, this unnamed restaurant didn’t want to change their logo. It was distinct, and they had it for years. And it was good. It was just a teensy-weensy bit unethical. And it was felt was in violation of someone else’s IP. There was a lot of back and forth between these two groups of lawyers as they were fighting over pretty meaningless changes while ignoring the fact that the logo had to be pretty much redesigned from scratch. It makes sense where you think about it. Lawyers are all about the details, the fine print. Arguing over letter spacing the the size of characters doesn’t really make sense when you can take printouts of the two logos and have them line up perfectly. Other than a couple of different letters that made up the difference in their names, they were identical. Yes, even the names were very similar. I found out much later even the decor of the two chains were pretty close. Eventually the logo was pretty much redesigned from the ground up.
The company I worked for at the time managed to yank the account away from another agency (or in this case a printer) mid stream. So some prior work had already been done. After a lot of back and forth (and I mean A LOT) we finally settled on something. It was, of course, the weakest option we gave them. We fell prey to what is commonly called the “law of logos” or “the client will choose the worst one.” This goes for just about everything in design. When given the choice, your client will always choose the weakest option. I think it just boils down to designers having bolder tastes than most of their clientele. It is just an occupational hazard that your clients will often leave you feeling a little disappointed in them. You just have to cherish the times when that isn’t true. Where your clients push you creatively instead of the other way around. And never show your client something you aren’t prepared to do. That will save you a lot of personal pain down the road.
Bu that wasn’t really the worst of it. Remember that printer we yanked the account from? They printed all the initial material with the new logo. And for some reason they managed to screw up everything we gave them. Each piece was mangled in bold and creative new ways. Can’t imagine why.