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.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.