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.
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?