blog entry about a startling discovery: Jan Jam Menswear's logo is a ripoff, stolen from American TV series Madmen, as shown above. Not only that, but this startling discovery led to an even more startling discovery: there is a "huge problem" with designers in Zimbabwe. The problem being that they like to steal images from the internet, and sell them off as their work to their client.
How easy to assume that the designer has no regard for their own reputation, and would pick an item of popular media that would be easily discovered. How easy it is to assume that the client had never heard of Mad Men (just the discoverer of the rip off, out of everyone in Zimbabwe, has seen this show) and so would have never made the connection. This is the sum of the startling discovery
As the panties dry from the excitement generated by this startling discovery, I think Zimbabweans are sober enough now to look at the story again. Does it really make sense to hang the entire design industry of Zimbabwe because one logo bears a striking resemblance to that of an American TV show? Would both designer and client unleash this logo and assume no one would connect it immediately to Mad Men? This is the blogger's argument. To query it is to endorse theft of intellectual property. This is one of the directions the ad hominem responses to what was supposed to be a civilised debate on the blog went. Another was accusations by some commentators that the blogger, also a designer, was miffed that Jan Jam had given the contract to someone else. (the words "sour grapes" were thrown around a lot). In the end, a rational debate was stifled, and I walked away from it. Would a plagiarism charge stick in a court other than that of a blogger? It all seems circumstantial to me. My first thought, when I saw the discussion online, was a bit of dialogue from the movie, Coming to America.
Look... me and the McDonald's people got this little misunderstanding. See, they're McDonald's... I'm McDowell's. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.
I don't think many people know that the designers of the Mad Men logo have too been charged with borrowing from other sources, such as this 1967 edition of Time. As Cleo McDowell explained, "See, they're McDonald's... I'm McDowell's....." Republican politican Rand Paul has also paid tribute to Mad Men with his campaign. Or, rather, the contracted designer borrowed liberally from Mad Men and Rand Paul approved of the designs. So, far, no one has accused the designer of plagiarism or howled that the designing fraternity was now facing a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. I think that kind of indignation is reserved for people who have the time and energy for it. The more productive sectors of society simply do not.
I can't help noticing that Jan Jam Menswear have, sensibly, declined to wade in to the social media fest. It appears to be business as usual on their own facebook page. This is how it should be. As the popular saying on facebook goes, Lions Do Not Lose Sleep Over The Opinions of Sheep.