Politics in the United States used to be so simple. You were either a Democrat or a Republican, or rarely somewhere in the middle ground that we call ‘independent’. Sure, there were smaller parties, but none prominent enough to be the third party that many call for very four years or so.
However, this is quickly changing. The last election brought several Tea Party endorsed candidates, showing that Americans more and more are looking for an alternative to red and blue politics. Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are hopping on the trend to reject the two party system with a nonprofit political organization called “No Labels,” which plans to push for a new era in national politics with the slogan, “No Labels. Not Left. Not Right. Forward.” The claim is that the organization will finance and endorse candidates all over the political spectrum that are for non-partisan (or bipartisan) change. It should be noted that the people involved are mainly left wing and that many have claimed that this is the beginning of a Progressive movement rather than a bipartisan one.
Like all nonprofits hoping for success, the No Labels organization has a logo design. However, this logo design has called more attention to the organization than its goals, because it is strikingly similar to a political organization logo used by another organization known as More Party Animals, which has a similar goal of creating more choice in American politics.
Both logo designs feature the outlines of various animals (with both elephant and donkey conspicuously absent) in both red and blue. While the No Labels group claims that the similarity is a misunderstanding and due to using the same piece of clipart, More Party Animals had the image designed specifically for their organization and states that the image is neither clipart nor available for public use. In other words, the picture was stolen, although perhaps on accident. Perhaps they should have left the use of animals in their logo designs to animal and pet brands!
This development comes at an interesting time, because Bloomberg has been making speeches in support of prosecuting intellectual property crimes. In addition, the other New York senator is pushing to give the fashion industry copyright protection to protect new designs and political party logos. Intellectual property and its protection are two of the hottest topics of our times, and most politicians weigh in only to support stricter protections for these rights. The irony of this situation needs no explanation.
The No Labels organization immediately stopped using the image, but the implication for other nonprofits, and indeed all other businesses, is clear. Don’t use clipart in your logo design or in any other marketing materials. You just may be inadvertently stealing from someone else and putting your new business in legal jeopardy. At the very least, you’ll need to reprint a lot of stationery and t-shirts! If you need a design, talk to a graphic designer today for the original and high quality image that your company deserves. Whether you are looking for a nonprofit logo design or a small business logo design, originality is everything.