About a month ago, something that I really never thought would happen to me happened. I got a call from a client saying that they needed to rebrand because their logo was being accused of copyright infringement. Just typing those words is still a bit horrifying to me. Both of us were pretty freaked out about what this could possibly mean for their business. They had 2 weeks to remove the logo from all of its locations, both physically and online. They needed a new logo and quick. But also – it looked like there were going to have to be some serious changes in order to satisfy the lawyers.
Let me just back up a little bit and explain how all of this happened. Red Pegasus games & comics is a small business in Dallas. When they first hired me to design their logo, the owners wanted their shop to include the unofficial mascot of Dallas, the Red Pegasus. I was careful (at least I thought) to make their red pegasus not look too much like the Red Pegasus, but still be an obvious homage. Apparently, it was a little too close for Exxon Mobile.
As a designer, I really felt horrible for something like this happening to my client. On one hand, I’d done what they wanted and created a logo that was exactly what they wanted. Ugh, but also I was at fault. I’d been accused of making something that violated someone else’s copyright. Making the new logo was tough. Not just because we had a lot more restrictions in order to comply with Exxon’s requests, but also because I just felt like a bad designer.
I’m happy with how the new logo came out, and I’m glad the client is happy with it too. As it turned out, Exxon just really didn’t want them having a red pegasus in a circle, other than that, they were able to use a pegasus shaped form and it could also be red. Lesson learned and a giant sigh of relief.
The new logo is a folded paper pegasus in a speech bubble. Origami with a touch of halftone dot pattern in the shading to represent the method in which comics are printed. I am glad that we were able to keep the business name and still use the font that they are known for.