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Need Help Stolen Design?

Discussion in 'Designs & Layouts' started by signs_welly, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. signs_welly

    signs_welly New Member

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    A couple of weeks ago we were approached by a mom of a graduating Senior at one of the local high schools to make a yard sign design for her daughter. I spent a long time putting together a design I was proud of and we made her the sign. Since then we've been overrun with orders for them. For every high school in the area, elementary schools, colleges - tons. It's been great to keep us going through what could be a really tough time. Last week I heard some stirrings that a Fast Signs franchise in the area was offering a very similar sign to my design for a lower price. Maybe I should have reached out to the franchise owner at that point - but I didn't. I didn't want to be petty - it's for the kids - all that.

    Then today the local news reported that the Fast Signs made signs for every Senior at the same original high school - the same very similar design. The community is just patting them on the back at how wonderful they are for doing this... and I'm sitting here wondering how many people will think it was US that stole the design? I reached out to the franchise owner on his personal Facebook and haven't heard back. I'm not sure what I should do - if anything - at this point.

    Any advice? How would you deal with this? Images attached - my design and a screenshot showing theirs.

    Capture.JPG Senior2020YardSigns_Custom_WellingtonHS.jpg Senior2020YardSigns_WellingtonHS_WellingtonHS.jpg
     
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  2. elitetech

    elitetech Member

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    uhmm umm ohh SUE THEM?
     
  3. player

    player Major Contributor

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    The artwork is sightly different.
     
  4. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    That is an intense design for a yard sign. Yea, someone came in and said "Can you make this?" and they did something similar but different with a number of changes. I actually like their version better. I would not of made a design the resembled yours at all, thats in bad taste. Maybe reach out to Fast Signs corporate office.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Close enough to p!ss ya off, but like you said, it's for the kids, so why are ya so mad ??

    I've seen this same advertisement all over the internet. What are these kids gonna do...... learn a lesson on copyright infringement through all of this ?? I would worry more, if they do this to your "real" sign jobs, not something frivolous like this.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    You should be proud someone thought your ideas were good enough to copy! Won't be the last time.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Yep, unless you want to look like a skunk you'll have to live with it. And you learned a lesson in marketing, you're the one that should have called the news first.
     
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  8. I generally don't do design work without a commitment (read that as deposit) from a customer for that very reason unless it is a good customer. I give them a price and if they agree to the price, get the deposit, then work on the design.
     
  9. Big Rice Field

    Big Rice Field Electrical/Architectural Sign Designer

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    Copyright your designs. That will protect them.
     
  10. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    "Copyright your designs. That will protect them." Original designs are "automatically" copyrighted, now if you want to trademark them there is a process to follow.
    But your protection is only as good as your wallet can handle.

    "I generally don't do design work without a commitment" He didn't say there was no commitment. But the design was stolen after they made a lot of the signs. And yes, though it's different it's an obvious rip off.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    You should read the post. The customer bought and paid for the sign.
     
  12. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    I would be aggravated but nothing you can do just be happy its a one off cheap retail sign. This will be the one and only time those people buy a sign so its not like you lost repeat business. Plus you said youre busy already. Do you really want the potential phone calls from every idiot wanting a price and “can you change this?”
     
  13. jimbug72

    jimbug72 Member

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    You'll come off looking petty if you try to do much more about it. Yes, it sucks they obviously took your concept and ran with it. Sure, it sucks the news took their signs and ran their story. That news story wasn't for Fastsigns, that new story was for the kids, and to help uplift your community. Don't focus on that part.

    I think reaching out to the owner privately and informing him that you feel it was bad form to so closely copy a local competitors design and still charge for it wasn't of line but I would leave it at that. Otherwise, you will just seem small and petty.

    Price point is generally the deciding factor for folks on these types of signs. Even if they didn't borrow heavily from your design, FastSigns would likely still have done all of those signs and received all of the kudos on the news.

    Just take the compliment. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.

    (Edited for clarity/typos)
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    Not much you can do about it. Document it in case it becomes a reoccurring problem, and move on. IF the owner does get back in touch, keep your cool. I wouldn't even say anything. After a few more times, maybe look at having a lawyer draft a letter with evidence of multiple rip-offs. Otherwise, just not worth the trouble.
     
  15. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Man that is the worst! Not like anything other than free publicity was truly lost, and at this point you'll just look like an a$$hat for whining about it. Now if the article made it to the local paper's website with a link to fastsigns, I might reach out to the paper to revise the story slightly.
     
  16. spectrum maine

    spectrum maine Member

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    theres a franchise up here doing them with the students picture & school logo for 15$ each. including stake. i would lose money at that price. how much design time? labor + stake? always driving profits down. i will make cool samples before i do hundreds of signs at a loss.
     
  17. signs_welly

    signs_welly New Member

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    My biggest concern wasn't necessarily loss of business, but more that people would think we were the ones that stole the design. After some sleep, I realize most customers aren't giving it that much thought and there's really no way I can do anything about it without looking like an ***.

    The owner hasn't responded back and I doubt he will. But I'm glad he knows I see him.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  18. He may have had no idea, it is entirely possible it was all handled by his employees though that doesn't make it right.
     
  19. signs_welly

    signs_welly New Member

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    I'm pretty sure he knows. He's not a big operation. Though, I did give him that "out" when I reached out to him.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Greg Kelm

    Greg Kelm Member

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    I'm guessing you went through the proper channels to get that school logo and asked permission to manipulate it for profit. If you didn't, in my opinion you're no different than the fast signs people.
     
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