Graphic Design

Plagiarism vs Appropriation in Design

Written by Jamie W.

Sep 02, 15
Plagiarism vs Appropriation in Design

If you haven’t checked the news today, you need to! A debate over the use of a logo has made it to the headlines! This morning the Japanese Olympic Commission had to revoke their logo design for the 2020 Olympics.

If you haven’t checked the news today, you need to! A debate over the use of a logo has made it to the headlines! This morning the Japanese Olympic Commission had to revoke their logo design for the 2020 Olympics. Why? The designer (Kenjiro Sano) they hired to create the international emblem has been charged with plagiarism from a Dutch designer, claiming that the logo was stolen from a previous design. This claim was made on August 3rd, but the commission said that Kenjiro had added elements to the design making it their own. However, the charge was filed in the end after Sano was found to have reproduced additional images without permission to showcase his design. The images were from a photographers website, a travelers blog, and a large musical festival website, none of which were given any credit.

This is a basic case of appropriate vs plagiarism, an argument that happens more that you might think. If you look at the logos you can definitely see minor differences, but the similarities are major; both of the logos have the same centrpiece the counter-form “T” which spikes this argument.

There is a fine line between appropriation and plagiarism, and can be, occasionally, difficult to judge. Basically, appropriation is used when an artist/designer/writer/person uses elements of existing work to create their own individual work/ideas; whereas plagiarism is when the large elements are directly reproduced into another artist’s work under their name. In this case it is pretty obvious the Sano had plagiarized and reproduced copyrighted work and still denies it.

As a business owner this an important argument to keep in mind, if you’re planning on designing your own logo or using images on your website, posters, etc. It is vital that you create your own work or get the permission from the original owner. Even if you see other blogs or website using the image, unless you’ve received written consent you will be liable for copyright infringement or plagiarism charges if you use them on yours. It may seem unnecessary, but these rules are in place to protect artists and their work. 

So, if you need any help with some original designs just let us know. The iSolutions team has, fantastic, professionals who are always available to help!

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