Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Logo Bites Are For D*ckholes

Above: Memorize this concept kids

Why do brands/designers still parody logos and album covers?

Allow me to rant for a bit here...

When I think way back the first time I ever saw logo parodies would have to be in a Mr. Rags or Hot Topic in junior high. That is where I encountered such classic as "Marijuana's" (McDonald's Logo) and Pac-O-Bowl (Taco Bell Logo). Awesome.

Even way back then I felt it was a gimmick. I associated that "technique" if that is what you want to call it with those stores and that sort of clientele. Basically, I thought the shirts were for fat people and weird kids that liked chain wallets too much. I think that part has remained the same.

Now fast forward to 2003 when I first started designing tees and the initial wave of "streetwear" began getting media attention. Every one and their mother had some logo parody tee. Anything and everything was up for grabs: Bo Knows, Apocalypse Now, La Haine, Supreme, LIFE magazine, Starter, Do The Right Thing, and all things Wu Tang. Nothing was safe not even another clothing brand's logo was safe from the fad. Even now it still runs rampant with brands raping logos and artwork from the likes of The Smiths, Minor Threat, Black Flag, A Tribe Called Quest, and the list goes on and on.

Here are some stellar examples of the ever so clever logo parody:

Who is to blame for this never ending trend? I'd say the retail buyers, but then again their job is to sell the most units possible, but they essentially are the first line of defense against logo parody tees. If they passed on all logo tees brands and designers would be forced to stop mocking them up in their look books which would mean they wouldn't be sampled which would mean the end of this trend in the marketplace.

But, they don't and probably never will.

Is it a sign of the times? Is it going to just become some sort of tolerated aspect of graphic design forever? Will that be the legacy for the last decade in design? Sadly, I think so. This "biting" mentality isn't exclusive to just graphic design obviously, but that would warrant a whole other rant and I don't even care to go into it.

Answer these questions for me:

What does a logo parody mean? Why should the consumer buy into this concept? If anyone can do one then why should we believe that one is more unique than the other?

I mean you may as well just make a logo parody idea generator that randomly picks a logo or brand for you to bite for your next season.

Why think if you don't have to?

The real shame is that if people worked on making their own logos the same caliber then they would at least create something that someone else could end up doing a logo flip with down the road.

Nuff said.


  1. I think that there may very well be two seperate and distinct schools of the logo bite/ parody thing. I think that there is Brand parody, which like most of the examples listed are more meaant to parody the brands messaging and what notwhich doesn't really bother me as much as the second category. That is the straight up bite, which i feel some brands are taking to new levels. i saw a smiths based design and basically it was a meat is murder image done in a Rasta style split fountain. That is just annoying. And I ain't even that into the smiths.

  2. Yeah there are different levels, but that doesn't really change my thoughts on the matter. Ha.