Good designers borrow, great designers steal

Tim Hodgson, Director of Video and Motion Media

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It’s been said, “Good designers borrow, great designers steal.”

Well, it would appear that sometimes there are consequences to stealing, as indicated in a Sept. 2 article in the Wall Street Journal.

The Tokyo Olympic Committee scrapped their logo for the 2020 event, after a Belgian designer made an accusation of plagiarism. His logo for the Theatre de Liege does indeed bear a striking resemblance to the Olympic logo.

I can see his point and don’t necessarily disagree with him. But on the other hand, with millions of designs being produced the world over, working with simple shapes and letter forms will often produce designs in the same ballpark, so to speak, without being plagiaristic. I don’t think most (non-designer) viewers would really see the issue, and certainly wouldn’t confuse the two marks.

All that being said, I think the Belgian designer made out pretty well. He got a million dollars worth of PR out of the blue.

What do you think? Plagiarism?

Belgian Designer Olivier Debie displays the Tokyo 2020 Olympic emblem (L) and the logo of the Theatre de Liege, at his office computer in Liege on July 30, 2015

Designer Olivier Debie shows the Tokyo 2020 Olympic emblem and the Theatre de Liege logo

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