I’ve been spending some time on Quora answering questions related to design lately.
One type of questions that I see a lot is something like: where can I find free online tools to create logos?
There are two major arguments that designers use to discredit these tools:
1) They’re free and easy to use, but they’ll never replace the work of a real designer;
2) These logos look exactly the same as so many other logos that you’ll see out there.
It takes a lot of time and practice to be a great logo designer, so the first argument justifies why we can’t be replaced by a machine (and why we shouldn’t).
Yet, when it comes to the second argument, we’re being hypocritical. How many logos have we seen that look like older ones?
They’re from big brands, so shouldn’t they look different and fresh?
5 Examples of Logo Lookalikes
I decided to open up Logo Modernism and play a little game of “Finding the differences” between new and old logos.
In the following examples, you can see that designers also study their predecessors and draw inspiration from them.
1. Tripadvisor & Association of the Swedish Book Trade logos
Tripadvisor was created in 2000 under the intention to help travelers all over the world to plan and book perfect trips.
Although there isn’t any concrete explanation on why they use an owl on their logo, some people have theorized that it symbolizes knowledge and the binoculars are a symbol of seeing everything.
Leaving the logo’s meaning to another discussion, I can see it drew some inspiration from 1969’s Association of the Swedish Book Trade. The head, ears, and eyes shape look very similar.
2. Beats Electronics & Stadt Brühl
Founded in 2006 by Dr. Dre, Beats Electronics quickly made headphones an object of desire. So much so that in 2014, the company became the biggest acquisition that Apple ever did to this day.
Regarding the logo, it seems incredibly close to the one designed by Anton Stankowski in 1971 for the German city, Brühl.
3. Nike Air Max 360 & New Man Clothing
Nike has been a brand known for more than sneakers. It’s a cult, an f* attitude, a “believe in yourself” movement.
In 2006, the Air Max 360 was released and with it, the logo designed by Aaron Draplin.
I love Draplin’s work, so I know that often times he goes to flea markets and things of the sort, to collect old logos for inspiration.
Could he had been inspired by this 1968’s clothing brand?
4. Airbnb & Azuma Drive-in logos
Founded in 2008, Airbnb wanted to revolutionize the travel industry. And it sure did, both for the better and, at the same time, for the worse.
In 2014, Airbnb decided on a rebranding but soon after, they realize that internauts were seeing other things (aka genitals).
Regardless of what you see in the Bélo symbol, it looks awfully like Azuma’s Drive-in logo from 1975.
5. Medium & Metrocraft
It was the year 2012 and Twitter still had the 140 characters limit. So Evan Williams created Medium so users could post longer posts than Twitter.
Yet, as time went, it became a platform known for social journalism where both amateurs and media companies can write and share their opinion on all topics.
When it comes to their previous logo symbol (previous to 2017), it looks like another media publisher, Metrocraft.
Even though the orientation is different, both construction letters look similar.
So, should all logos be different and fresh just because they’re designed by big brands? There isn’t a simple answer to this question.
Although they should have their unique point of view and brand’s personality, it’s only normal to look for references and inspiration.
As long as they remain good designers and understand the difference between doing copy + paste, and actually designing, the world will still enjoy great logos.