Creating original design in a shrinking world

Posted by Talitha Hlaka on 14 June 2016 2:35 PM CAT

I’m happy to say that this has only happened to indigo New Media once – when we have designed a logo for a client which they loved and approved, only for us to realise a day later that the logo looked very similar to that of another company. Fortunately, this was discovered early on, and the logo was not in use, so could be amended before execution.

The new airbnb logo looks very similar to logo for Automation Anywhere. 

How could we have done this, you may wonder? The reality is that there is so little in terms of ideas and design that has NOT been done already, that it is inevitable that this will inadvertently happen to a designer at least once in his/her career. This was not such a problem thirty years ago because sectors, industries and geographical regions remained separate. Now, however, with the proliferation of the Internet, smart phones and people always being online, the world is shrinking. Everyone can have access to almost everything that exists.

Like the rest of us, graphic designers are constantly bombarded with information, all packaged in a particular way. It would be impossible to forget everything seen at some point. A logo or look seen the day before or as a child can enter the sub-conscious and somehow can re-emerge in a design the designer’s work in progress. This is not because the designer is deliberately plagiarizing a concept. Influences are all around, and as humans we learn by remembering what we see, either consciously or sub-consciously.

Look at the examples below of similar looking logos from obvious competitors – both global companies that have been around for decades. 


So, how does one prevent this from happening? It would be impossible to check against every design that exists, but one can try and minimise the risk of similar design by ensuring thorough research is done in the sector, the industry and the geographical region. This will eliminate the embarrassment of a logo looking similar to a competitor or another company in the same industry.

Designers need to be thorough in their research and careful about being aware of influences. Some specialise in corporate identity and have honed their logo creation skills. But it’s not something a designer can ever be casual about. To remain innovative and original is hard work. 


Raashida Khan is the account director at Indigo New Media, who dreams of an engaged, collaborative world, and dabbles in writing.

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