Tales from a Contest Designer. – Handling Stolen Goods..

In my life not only as a Logo Designer, but one who actively takes part in the contest ‘circuit’, you’d be surprised how many blatantly stolen designs or Free to Download ‘insert-name-here’ clipart templates i come across on a daily basis,

Nobody can blame anybody looking to save a few quid using budget contest sites and there are indeed a number of decent, talented designers that frequent the job boards picking up projects ( i’m one of them!) BUT, there are huge detrimental risks when dealing with unregulated, unaccountable and untraceable designers that many of us in the trade know about but that are not often shared. Risks that can wreck a client’s business and negate the whole point of getting a logo in the process.

Stolen Work.
As the name suggests, Designers, like any artists (musicians, writers etc.) may like to ‘borrow’ ideas off each other from time to time. What could loosely be called ‘inspiration’ (or, a cover version or homage in other fields) can vary in degree and sometimes oversteps the mark entirely becoming plagiarism. Identical re-creation of other designer’s work is of course very much frowned upon but, like art or money forgery would at least require some skill and effort(!). Even worse than that though, some’designers’ will just right click and copy and paste someone’s work in it’s entirety, passing it off as their own and just change the name underneath or within it to that of the contest holder’s choice and it’s this last one that you’re most likely to come across.

Each contest I’ve entered in the last 12 months I can usually see at a glance, 90% of submissions are copied ideas or compiled with free clipart off the internet. about 50% of them are plagiarised or outright stolen. it’s rife. The sad thing is, in my experience, 75% of the contest holders go for the trap (well if it wasn’t nice work, nobody would’ve bother copying it would they?) and it’s not uncommon to see the same contest holder appear a week or two later running the same contest again but with a big bold lettering this time ‘NO COPIES’ or ‘NO CLIPART’ and warnings of reporting any offenders (that’s never a repellent, they’ll be bombarded by more and fall for it again!).

Incredibly enough;- The only thing that stands between a customer ending up with stolen or copied work is their ability to know what they’re looking at and that’s all. If they like the look of it, they’ll go with it. A good example of this was last year I saw someone pay good money (about £200) on Freelancer for the Gucci logo with their name written underneath. Their business name began with a ‘G’ and they must’ve just thought it looked nice, That’s it. That’s all it takes. We can laugh at their naivety and i’m sure everyone (except them) did, once it was pointed out by everyone else who’d ever walked past a perfume counter or fashion shop, but this decision was made by someone who simply didn’t know what they were looking at -and with so many thousands of company logos and brands in the world we can’t claim to have seen them all or always know what we’re looking at either.

* Eg. Do you know the ‘French Property Exhibition’ logo by Roy Smith? – I reckon you don’t, but, it’s brilliant, if you wanted a logo for, say, AirBnB Accommodation in France and someone copy and pasted it and submitted it to you, you’d see it and definitely go for it. And there! you just stole someone’s work. Not on purpose, just by not having seen it before, it’s very easily done.

Right, why have I even bought this up? So what if you have the same logo as someone else, it’s no big deal is it?

Well, what are the implications? what could be worse than simply being embarrassed or losing a few quid. Ok. let’s say you unwittingly accept a logo that already belongs to and is trademarked to another company you’ve never heard of. You spend a couple of years or longer working under your logo or brandmark that you’re proud of, building up a successful business only to then suddenly be taken to court by the original (and rightful) owner of the work, trademark or copyright who found out about you by doing a simple google image search of THEIR OWN logo.

(1) At best, you can try to keep the identity through financial means and attempt to buy your way out of it, which could run into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, inc. compensations depending on the size of the business and how much and how long you’ve profited from using someone else’s protected intellectual property

(2) Alternatively you will have to change your entire identity to avoid running up these costs or being sued. If you have all your products and infrastructure branded, even your building branded, successful ad campaigns, sponsorships you name it.- Now we could be talking about your brand collapsing altogether overnight, this is usually the route of the smaller business who are the ones who don’t think about these things in the beginning. Richard Branson must be glad he never went to Fiverr when he got his big V done, that’s a lot of aircraft and trains that’d need repainting. Although just a silly example to emphasise a point he’d probably go the buyout route for sure; Someone operating a small company who’d just had their vans, uniforms and stationary done though it’s still a costly headache and they’d have to rebrand entirely from scratch.

Nobody’s going to share a logo with you. Ever. So if it wasn’t yours to begin with, prepare to lose it. !

* OneFifteen design every logo from a completely blank canvas, based entirely on your business and research done on placing you in a great position within your marketplace. If you are looking for a logo design or rebranding you can contact me and get a 100% free, no obligation quote and advice on initial ideas how to present. What’s more, after what you’ve read here today you can be assured that your identity will be completely original, safe, entirely your own and free from any embarrassing complications in the future; legal or otherwise.

*If you have found this article to be interesting, please share it!

Next Article: Clipart.

First Artwork as OneFifteen. Stricken U-Boat, Malin Head.

Just had to open an old laptop to find some paperwork, notably the laptop I began OneFifteen on almost a year ago (August 2018) that I hadn’t opened since October 2018. I found some quite interesting things in there for sure, logo drafts i’d forgotten all about, my early contest entries from Freelance design sites I was slaving away on to try and get ends to meet, photos I thought i’d lost and then this: The first Artwork I did under the title of OneFifteen.

I did this purely as a therapeutic outlet one day, (I love designing and photowork, I’d be doing it even if it wasn’t my job), after visiting the Inishowen Maritime Museum, Co. Donegal, and hearing about all the many stricken and sunk U-Boats off Malin Head during The Second World War. I just sat down and got on with this. I no longer have any of the original files but I sent 4 copies in poster tubes to some friends and my brother with one left here at home in my possession.

Propaganda. From Men to Monsters.

I have just seen tonight that the new Godzilla film is to be released next month (31st May). Whilst it has been subtitled: ‘King of the Monsters’ after the 1956 original, on watching the trailer it seems like it’s a complete reboot of the 1968 movie ‘Destroy All Monsters’ featuring King Ghidora, Mothra, Rodan and chums with the same storyline. Well. what’s this got to do with Graphic Design then? and how come I know about 1950’s/60’s monster movies?..

I have already let slip before that I am a huge fan of Second World War propaganda posters, more as an art medium than a set of life principles. Just the sheer brilliance and depth of effect that was garnered by a generation of (in my opinion anyway) some of the most talented artists that ever lived that produced such hard hitting and memorable work; much of which was so hard hitting and memorable it still sticks in the collective cultural psyche of the world to this day.

These artists, that spent the war making ‘the enemy’ look sinister and terrifying (whichever enemy,- propaganda posters were created and used by all sides), found themselves and their skills immediately re-employed after the war in producing fear and doom for Hollywood and other studios. Creatures from the Black Lagoon, Werewolves, Aliens and even blobs of gelatinous goo became the new brutal, merciless soldiers and marauding invaders of just a few months before.
Monster movies after the war years were in their heyday all the way up to the early 70’s (when following the serial killer media ‘epidemic’ fear became more about slashers – Friday 13th, Texas Chainsaw, Halloween anyone?).. People needed to be scared and nobody was better qualified to do that job of drawing people from the streets into the cinemas with fearful posters than the same propaganda artists that had been doing it already using the same tactics. You just change the face of a German or Japanese soldier for that of an Alien from Mars. or, substitute An allied pilot for a dragon monster flying over and terrorising your city and job done.

In short: WW2 propaganda posters and post war horror posters were basically in style, message and effect,- the same thing.

Here’s my personal copy of ‘Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters’ poster! Now you know how I know who the new Godzilla ‘cast’ are 😉 I actually got this on Amazon for just £3, about 4 years ago .. we really should keep these things alive in our homes, not just to celebrate a great age of art but quite frankly because these old things look pretty cool.

The World’s Oldest, unaltered Company Logo..

I’m all about creating new logos and brandmarks or updating existing ones which is a common practice for all brands that like to keep relevant in changing times and ever shifting marketplaces, however: Twinings Tea has used the same logo — capitalized font beneath a lion crest — continuously for 227 years, making it the world’s oldest unaltered logo in continuous use, according to the company website. Perhaps even more remarkable, the company has occupied the same location on London’s Strand since its founding by Thomas Twining in 1706. Tea consumption was not always essential to everyday British life. Coffee, gin, and beer dominated English breakfast drink preferences in the early 18th century. By the turn of the century, however, tea had become extremely popular. After 10 generations, family-owned Twinings is now a globally recognized company, distributing its tea to more than 100 countries worldwide.

Giving a Little Something Back…

Was really pleased to have presented this one of a kind custom artwork of Leeds United’s ground, Elland Road, to someone who has helped me a great deal over the last couple of months.

On my way out of the door last week they happened to let slip that they were a big Leeds fan for many years and travel over to England to watch them play, that was enough for me; -took quite a while to design from scratch, but hopefully well worth it as a reminder of my gratitude.

Branding, Identity & Logo Design In A Very Small Nutshell..

You often hear these three things mentioned interchangeably (I like to say I design Brand ID for example when formulating and creating concept logo design eg. – bad habit 😉 ) but, Learn the difference between branding, identity and logo design, explained in simple terms.
Each one of these have their distinct role and together, form a perceived image for your business or product.


You could describe a BRAND as an organisation, product or service with a personality that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience.
Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and subsequently the world’s richest man, said it best:
“A brand is literally what people say about your business when you’re not in the room”.
Basically everything they think and feel, which is why branding is so important.


The IDENTITY or image of a company is made up of many visual devices like:
• A Logo (The symbol of the entire identity & brand)
• Stationery (Letterhead + business card + envelopes, etc.)
• Marketing Collateral (Flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
• Products & Packaging
• Other Communication (Audio, smell, touch, etc.)
• Anything visual that represents the business.
All of these represent a brand’s identity and should support the brand as a whole.


A LOGO should not literally describe what the business does but rather, identify the business in a way that is recognisable and memorable.
In the next installment, we will go over what makes a good logo.

Enter The Dragon

Something I made a long time ago for a book just revisited tonight. Photo composite of real life animals to make up this beast then uniformly textured and painted. before being turned into a original illustration.

Creatures that went into this were: Cobra (Head), Alligator (Random Teeth), Goat (Horns), Bat (Wings), Komodo Dragon (Belly/scale sample) Python (Neck) and the Arms?…The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) 😉

Tonight’s Artwork. ‘Stepping Stones’.

It’s been a bit hectic setting OneFifteen up this past couple of weeks, so, after i took the dog out i thought i’d do a bit of therapeutic artwork for myself. I call this composition ‘Stepping Stones’. I’d love to be there myself!..maybe i am, this stuff comes from somewhere inside. 😉 x