03.15.10

lrgrippsofchangethethought.jpg
lrgcttripoffcomparison.jpg

Well, I have been candid in the past about how my work sometimes is overly-influenced by other designers (the irony of the image I chose for that post and this incident was not lost on me). In an ever-increasingly globally digital creative environment it is something that I think happens to a lot of us. Sometimes you have to push away from the machine and pick up the pencil.

However, I was a little personally outraged when I saw this particular LRG shirt for sale at Karmaloop. I personally don’t really know very much about LRG, although I did buy a t-shirt of theirs a few years back at a boutique. Apparently their logo is a circular arrow pointing down, almost the inverse of my logo except that mine is a 3 quarter circle turned upward and the arrow is split down the middle. It’s not exactly a new or highly original logo treatment, but when I designed mine (over 5 years ago now), it was meant to symbolize the constancy of change. Again, ironically there is just so happens to be an article in the upcoming issue of Computer Arts describing what my logo stands for.

Regardless, I am not so sure that really gives LRG the right to just flat out lift a poster design I did to promote myself close to two years ago now. Here is the original post to Changethethought when I released my first poster series for sale. Being influenced by someone or bearing a similarity in styles to another designer or artist is one thing, straight taking an existing design, barely altering it and then calling it your own is another thing entirely. And I am positive after comparing my now 2-year-old, copyrighted and globally distributed poster design with this LRG t-shirt that is exactly what LRG did to me. Even the way I pulled all of the colors used in my original poster and placed them in circles at the bottom was handled the same on the LRG t-shirt. I was just kind of shocked when I stumbled upon it while shopping at Karmaloop. I really would like an explanation from LRG. I would also like to know if there is anything I can do legally to resolve the matter. I am guessing not, since I am the little guy but at least I have this blog where I can tell you about it. If I were you, I’d think twice about buying anything from LRG for a while, if not forever.

I design apparel graphics for all kinds of big brands and have been working almost exclusively on apparel graphics the last two months. I would have been happy to discuss designing some graphics for LRG and even consider altering some of my graphics if the price were right and it made sense for both my brand and theirs. Instead of contacting me, I guess LRG felt like it was fine to just go ahead and take without asking. Do me a favor if you feel so inclined, and send LRG an email telling them what you think. And if any of you know how to get in touch with their creative department, please email me and let me know how to get in touch with them. I’d very much like to speak to them myself.

UPDATE:
Just out of curiosity, I decided to recreate the LRG design using the design taken from my poster. You can see this depicted in the last image at the top of this post. The top left corner shows the original treatment from my poster. To the right you can see LRG’s design. In the bottom left my poster graphic has been flipped horizontally and then slightly warped by ‘squeezing’ the image and pulling in the edges. In the bottom right the warped image of my poster has been multiplied over LRG’s t-shirt graphic. Can you even tell which is which?

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,

51 Responses to “LRG Jacked Me”

  1. Christian Says:

    Dude, WTF!!!!! These two logos are the same. LRG should stand for Left and Right Gangsters!!!!

  2. Jon Says:

    Gaining the rights to your intellectual property can be expensive, but if you have a steady stream of revenue, I would contact an IP attorney to see about having your images copyrighted. He will also have more advice regarding a legal remedy against LRG.

  3. Christopher Cox Says:

    Yes I completely agree. I just started my studio less than 8 weeks ago and we have only very recently been discussing filing as an LLC. I have always had a copyright notice visible on all of my published works but I know that doesn’t really grant protection. As I grow I will definitely have to hire an attorney especially as my distribution increases in scope.

  4. Evan Says:

    Wow. That’s blatant. Jeez sorry, Chris. How annoying.

  5. Andrew Effendy Says:

    I think your logo is different compared to LRG logo mark. I see C & t and it has the counter clockwise direction to show “change the thought” concept. The LRG graphic and color treatments look like yours.

  6. vince Says:

    lol my ass andrew it’s the same !!!! exactly the same please attack LRG ! i think they must find 7 different point on the logo and i only see one or two…

  7. Robert Says:

    Damn! I would love to hear an explanation from LRG. I love their brand for their originality but this is just plain dumb. Stupid people think no one will find out.

  8. serra Says:

    Oh Noes! Those bastards!

  9. nick Says:

    ummm that’s pretty blatant ripoff. since this isn’t the 1st time and probably not the last, I’d seek council. realistically it’s probably a little late for a cease-and-desist order if it gets to that considering your situation, but it never hurts to try. if all else fails, just call them, ask for the legal department or as far as you can get up the management chain. i’d explain your side and let them know if they do nothing you be happy to stage a protest again LRG on your highly visible blog. smart companies realize when they’ve made a mistake and try to correct it. especially when it’s in the demo, which i believe a lot of your readers are. here’s there phone number :) 949.581.1144

  10. spencer Says:

    Dude, that is ass. I hope they do the right thing. $$$$

  11. Millah Says:

    Complete ripoff!
    Post this over at YouThoughWeWouldntNotice.com too. The more exposure the better.

  12. Jamie Says:

    Last time I commented on this blog was when we had our little whopper virgin debate (quite enjoyable, btw). Well I am commenting again to say I support you on this. It’s a blatant ripoff, and you’re not the only victim, I’ve seen other instances of designers getting ripped off for T-shirts. I think it will continue to happen, unless there are some consequences for these actions. I say sue the bastards. I hate to say it, but the case against Shepard Fairey is a pretty solid precedent to this. They ruled against him. That photograph he used was someone else’s and the same has happened to you. I encourage you to pursue legal action so that this bullshit doesn’t continue.

  13. Jamie Says:

    Some info on copyright law: http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/?page_id=634

  14. Josholland Says:

    Working full-time in apparel, I can tell you that the industry is completely incestuous and doesn’t even think twice about stealing. The best that can really be done is to get in their face with a cease-and-desist, and hopefully they’ll offer you something or pull the tee from the site. Even that doesn’t always work, as we’ve gone after people several times with expensive and varied results. It’s an unfortunate reality of the industry that most people have been conditioned not to even pursue these cases, resulting in even more plagiarism. Good luck.

    Did anything ever happen with that TIME magazine thing? Never followed up.

  15. Really? Says:

    Pretty sure LRG and that logo have been around 10 years
    so suppose you look at it like this;

    you flipped their logo, took out a piece and added some colors…….

  16. Christopher Says:

    I’ve been using the same logo now for over 5 years. It’s been on my website in it’s current state that entire time. When I designed my logo, I had never even seen LRG’s logo. Ever. The most I knew or had seen of their logo was that tree in the center. I explained the rationality behind the creation of my logo in the post which you obviously didn’t take the time to read before leaving your snarky anonymous comment. There is more than enough difference between my logo and LRG’s for them to be considered different and separate logos. More than enough. Like I said, a circular moving arrow isn’t exactly a new and unique logo treatment. Neither LRG or I are the first to use or create a logo based around that concept.

    What’s at issue here is that they took something I had already created (almost 2 years ago), lifted it DIRECTLY from the source material, did almost nothing to alter it other than change the tip of the arrow treatment and stretch (probably in Photoshop) the remainder of the arrow to complete the circle.

    Look at the design. It’s IDENTICAL. I didn’t even know what LRG’s logo looked like until I saw this t-shirt. Logos aren’t the issue here. It’s the obvious direct lifting of source material. And this isn’t tracing a photo, this is taking a preexisting design directly from the source and not even attempting to modify it or change it so that it becomes something new and unique.

  17. Jamie Says:

    It’s funny that LRG stands for “Lifted Research Group”. Yes, they research artists’ work, and lift it. To the anonymous commenter, it’s completely stolen, it’s obvious to everyone. At issue here isn’t whether they both used circle arrows, which they did, it’s the design used in Chris’s poster, which is complex and unique.

    At the very least, everyone can acknowledge that the T-shirt is a stolen design.

  18. Christopher Says:

    Honestly, and I don’t want to defend LRG on this AT ALL, but I have always liked and respected the graphics they create for apparel. I have seen some of their work in design publications and was always impressed by what I saw. I think this boils down to an individual on their creative team pulling something off the web to help them finish a round of concepts. That concept was approved and that designer probably assumed no one would notice. I am almost positive that is precisely what happened.

  19. Bramwell Says:

    http://www.youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/

  20. Jamie Says:

    Hey Chris, keep us posted on what comes of this. I’m curious. Thanks, and good luck.

  21. michael boswell Says:

    Exact same thing happend to my friends and Day In the Lyfe. Famous clothing straight jacked their exact design, printed 20,000 shirts and sold them at every local mall across the US. They settled for petty change and pulled the gear.

  22. Garrett Patz Says:

    Dannnnnng, I really liked LRG too….
    It’s disheartening to see this, people that just rip off work are working for companies like LRG. boo

  23. steve Says:

    get the message out by tweeting @liftedresearch

  24. PlasticChapel_Dave Says:

    … go all in Chris … initiate a Cease and Desist order, use your and others blogs, and post here: http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/ …. also,I have to agree with Josh, I haven’t worked in Apparel for years, but I assume it is either the same or worse, as .. with time comes saturation … but in the mid to late nineties, I would guess 75% -90% of the clothing companies (especially boutique niche ready to wear ) ….. used stolen graphiccs/photography … two best examples are FUCT and Obey clothing … your blog exposure is most liely your best defense – good luck

  25. Lucian Lupu Says:

    These things are just wrong. Good luck!
    and btw
    Thanks for keeping this blog always fresh, Chris!
    Lucian

  26. Ronny Says:

    Wow LRG! I am a fan of them but I guess its a good thing Im not really buying much of there clothing any more. Its all about IMAGINARY FOUNDATION

  27. Jason Says:

    More than likely it wasn’t an inhouse designer but a freelancer. So lame. Good luck sir!

  28. Mr.28 Says:

    I immediately knew what the issue was as soon as I saw the image. That is a shameless rip-off. I occasionally appropriate photographs to manipulate for personal (strictly non-commercial work) but this is a totally different kettle of fish. I posted a link to this on their Facebook group. I tried to be a little diplomatic, but only a little. I’ve been a very big fan of your work for a long time and I am very much outraged on your behalf, even though I know these things happen.

  29. Patrick Says:

    I think what sealed it for me are the the colored circles that appear in the lower right hand corner of your poster, and also appear on their shirt design (in their case with a black outline). Ouch.

  30. TalkingToTheGround Says:

    What a bunch of vagabonds! Don’t let ‘em get away with that crap, Chris. That is jacked up.
    Good luck with this! We are rooting for you! :D

  31. Clare Says:

    In the U.S. copyright is automatically given to the artist when an original work is produced. Registering the work a copyright will allow you to press infringement charges and potentially receive $$ from LRG (which, I hope you do!). Looks like one of their designers is slacking off…

  32. The Pattern Seeker Says:

    Foul play by LRG, and hopefully, as this blog has a standalone presence, the ripple effect will take its course into some kind of result for you Chris.
    Best of luck in getting those cocksuckers (pardon the verbage but only such blatant robbery of one’s well designed and premeditated intellectual property calls for it) to right their wrong of holy wrongs within the world of design.

  33. Courtenay Says:

    You definitely have rights to this? If so I would say get an explanation if they refuse to give you one other than “a junior designer who has no idea what they are doing, we will pay you for the rip off” I would sue. Us designers tend to get ripped off a lot, and I personally think that if a kid wants to rip me off for a class project that’s fine, but LRG has been around since I was a kid and has a huge rep. It was started by this underground rapper “The Grouch” like 10 years ago and brings in some sick coin. They can afford it (and even if they couldn’t), I would sue. Keep us posted. Jerks.

  34. Courtenay Says:

    Also, you do not need a copyright stamp on anything. The minute pen goes to paper it’s your intellectual property. If you choose to pursue this the only thing you have to do is prove that it was your design before it was theirs… which in this case shouldn’t be an issue.

  35. Rob Mitchell Says:

    This totally goes against everything LRG are supposed to stand for:

    “we want to to focus on the ones trying to pay rent with their passions…”
    “think of us as a support group for independent and underground culture…”

    Shame on them.

  36. Mr.28 Says:

    They removed my Facebook post… Who’da thunk it? Clearly they aren’t willing to own up to this just yet. I would most definitely keep pressing this issue.

  37. Courtenay Says:

    They removed my facebook post within the hour also.

  38. jamesthecraig Says:

    I think you should contact a lawyer. This is unacceptable.

  39. Whoopi Says:

    Someone should definitely post this on Niketalk.com, this would DEFINITELY grab their attention. You deserve something out of this.

  40. TYPO-GRAPHICAL » Blog Archive » Lazily Rotating Graphics Says:

    [...] who has been running the great design blog Changethethought for eight years, was understandably dismayed to see his own logo on a T-shirt from clothing label LRG while he was shopping online recently. [...]

  41. Phil Chang » Blog Archive » +/- Says:

    [...] floated a post that was uncharacteristically upset in tone with the headline “LRG Jacked Me.”  In it, he details both textually (that’s a word?!) and visually what it is the [...]

  42. Aero Says:

    The style is nothin new. I don’t think they touched your design.

  43. Christopher Cox Says:

    Aero, did you look at the pictures? Give me a break. Look at the picture and read the post before leaving an absolutely moronic comment.

  44. Ivan Trushin Says:

    There are many examples of logos that come to look like other logos, however, whether that’s through chance, influence, or conscious effort is an importnat question. I’m a graphic designer and I have come to known that there are times when I try to mimic another artist’s work or style, however, through that process the work becomes my own and his work becomes a mere influence. There are other times where I look at what I have done and I see that for whatever reason -lack of creativity, lack of interset, or lac of sleep- the final product looks like someone else’s work. That’s when I know that I copied and I cannot use the piece.

    In this example I do not see that the designer/artist made it their own. I feel as if they may have started out using it as an influence but in the end decided that they could not think of a better solution so they left even strips of color in an identical fashion as Chris’s work.

    I wrote LRG voicing my concern.

  45. John Says:

    LOLZ @ Aero’s comment. They definitely touched his graphic – ever so slightly. You see that, right?

  46. Jeff A Says:

    Wow thats fucked up…..period.
    they MOS def touched it. they extended the tail in “LRG’s” arrrow and did some other bullshit but thats definitely his graphic. LRG is desperate for a design i bet.

  47. Gerald Says:

    Shepard Fairey should sue LRG for infringing his patented method for selling T-shirts.

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