Everything Is A Remix…Some “Things” More So Than Others

Goodby Silverstein & Partners launched a revised identity recently. Now, people inside the agency and out are questioning its provenance.

According to Adweek, GS&P’s new logo looks suspiciously like one used a century ago by some (now-defunct) company called S & Co.

“Making something old new again was my full intention and I’m very happy with the outcome,” Rich Silverstein argued in a memo acquired by AgencySpy. Here’s a bit more from that memo:

I’ve heard that people have been questioning our new logo. Allow me to explain. I’ve always loved timeless, beautiful things. So it’s not a coincidence that the logo looks like a 100 year old ligature. It was 100% intentional. I found it in my library in a book of ligatures that I’ve had for 30 years and always admired. I thought it would be nice to take something old and ignored and reimagine it. And that’s what I did.

Appropriation is a big part of our culture. Sampling is part of the modern music scene. Andy Warhol’s most famous silk screens were made from other people’s photographs. And Richard Prince blew up cigarette ads to make art.

I recently encountered a great video on this subject, wherein Led Zeppelin is exposed for its lifting of material without proper crediting. In design, and advertising, credits do not run with the work, which makes it all the more tempting, and likely, that designers and ad men will borrow too heavily from the source material.

I’m interested to hear what you think of Rich Silverstein’s explanation and the new GS&P logo.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • Cannes Do

    You’re a little late on this topic, as are others. It started at Agency Spy. One key issue is that Silverstein submitted the logo in the Cannes Ad Festival and wound up winning a Lion. Ripping off a logo is one thing; entering into a major award show and winning seems like quite another thing. Compare Silverstein’s memo to the Cannes entry and offer your thoughts.

    http://tinyurl.com/3ogndlh

    • http://adpulp.com David Burn

      Thanks for reading AgencySpy for me!

      As for the Lion, at least GS&P’s logo isn’t fake.

      • Cannes Do

        Well, it’s not fake. But would the judges have reacted differently if Silverstein stated in the entry form that he essentially copied an existing ligature? His logo is more of a parody than an original design. I wonder if there have been instances in awards shows where it was revealed a winning entry was deliberately not original.