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Protection for charity logos

Legally protect the circle as a logo element which can only be used by charities
  (+1, -6)(+1, -6)
(+1, -6)
  [vote for,

Logo design and trademarking are geuinely tricky, and there are very many talented people getting paid a lot of money to make company logos which are sharper, more contemporary, and more recognizable than the competitions'. I've just been reading about Product Red, a company set up by Bono (yes, the lead singer of U2) to create and market products which will be produced by (among others) Gap, American Express, Converse, and Giorgio Armani. People wil be able to buy Red hoodies in Gap using their Red credit cards, while wearing their Red sunglasses. The point is that a certain proportion of the money goes into the General Fund, a charitable fund which concentrates on AIDS projects for African women and children.

This is all very praiseworthy, but it does bring to light the fact that chairities are increasingly competing on level terms with companies for a share of our money. What's more, we have to be able to pick out these logos, and know the stories behind them. We have to be able to know what a Product Red logo stands for, and I'd certainly like to know what proportion of money goes to charity. Sheesh. More information to carry around in my head. Great.

This isn't the first time this sort of tie-in between charity and corporation has happened. And I foresee a lot of these sort of schemes cropping up. But if they become too common, then the novelty is lost and their logos and marketing will just become lost in the normal background scream of advertising that we live with.

So I suggest a piece of legislation which prevents a company's product using using one simple graphical element - for the sake of argument, let's say the circle - unless a certain proportion of their revenue from that product goes to charity. To some extent, this happens already in the UK with the crossed ribbon logo, used by AIDs and breast cancer awareness charities. But there's nothing to stop evil marketing wizards from piggy-backing on this sort of goodwill by making their own logos look 'charity-ish'. So let's ringfence the circle and say, "This can only be used for products and services which donate a certainamount to charity."

If this sounds tricky, then, well, all logo trademarking law is a bit a nightmare, frankly. Of course there'd be legal challenges, etc. There are at the moment, anyway.

moomintroll, Feb 02 2006

Delta logo? http://www.imag.us/x/shapu/delta.gif
Just a suggestion. [shapu, Feb 02 2006]

for bristolz http://www.hypercube.com.au/
[DrCurry, Feb 03 2006]

also for bristolz http://www.csc.liv..../logo_analysis.html
[DrCurry, Feb 03 2006]

and, yes, for bristolz again http://www.geocitie...CapeCanaveral/7997/
[DrCurry, Feb 03 2006]

Boke http://www.ullans.c...UllansPhrases.shtml
yer heads a marlie - away and larne how te talk wi yer bake staight [xenzag, Feb 03 2006]

Tetra-Pak http://www.tetrapak.com/
Recyclable? [Minimal, Feb 06 2006]


       Okay. Start the clock at 8.21pm, local time...
moomintroll, Feb 02 2006

       Two minor problems: 1) Unconstitutional in some places; and 2) Counterfeits will surely become a problem if it catches on.   

       [UPDATE: it could be argued that a generic symbol like a 'circle' (or whatever you choose) and making it available for only a particular subset of society (e.g. charities) violates both free speech and equal protection. trademarking a *distinctive* symbol that can be used by only one organization is obviously not a problem. the problem comes when you create a protected "class" of people and give them special speech that no one else gets ... like saying only charities can use the word "the".]   

       [UPDATE: Your idea (in the U.S.A. anyway) would be more feasible under a regulatory framework (e.g., just like U.S.D.A. "certification" for legally calling some foods "organic".)]
drefty, Feb 02 2006

       Trademarking is unconstitutional?
moomintroll, Feb 02 2006

       Art is speech.   

       Thus, graphical art is considered speech by some, even if it only intends to convey a corporate logo or identity.
shapu, Feb 02 2006

       It would be better to tack on a symbol that instantly identifies the product as one supporting a charity.   

       You know, the little letters in circles dealies?   

       TM, SM, R, C, U, and K are already taken.   

       A is taken, but not governmentally defined.   

       H is taken for hospitals.   

       Why not lowercase delta?
shapu, Feb 02 2006

       Not terribly keen, to be honest. It looks too much like just another logo to me. I thought it would be better to ringfence an area of graphic design, to allow designers freedom to explore that little territory. The best designs often come from the tightest restrictions.   

       One hour eight minutes and counting...
moomintroll, Feb 02 2006

       Fair enough. I do like the general idea of some sort of recognizable indicator that this product is or supports a charity.
shapu, Feb 02 2006

       Hmm. One hour forty and still no mfd's. Surprised.
moomintroll, Feb 02 2006

       This is leaning away from invention and towards advocacy. I refrain from the MFD only because you are counting on it ;-)
bristolz, Feb 02 2006

       Aw, spoilsport! I'll have to be more subtle next time... ;)
moomintroll, Feb 02 2006

       Yeah, I'm contrarian for the sport of it.
bristolz, Feb 02 2006

       //So let's ringfence the circle and say, //
Classic! - you should be in Ad-land or Marketing! (if you aren't already)
gnomethang, Feb 02 2006

       This is sheer advocacy, imo - taxation by another name.   

       Besides, some of the most established logos have circles - Pepsi, Prudential, etc.. There is no graphic element you can pick that doesn't have hundreds or thousands of existing implementations. A big fat circular fishbone for you, my friend.
DrCurry, Feb 02 2006

       How about a two dimensional graphic element projection of a four-dimensional hypercube? Haven't seen any logos that use that.
bristolz, Feb 02 2006

       They all take different approaches to the projection, but see links.   

       I was just leafing through some logo books in the bookstore (I love graphic design, amongst other things), and I really don't think there is any variation on line and color that hasn't been plumbed five times over in logo design.
DrCurry, Feb 03 2006

       None of those even remotely resemble the classic, or canonical, hypercube projection. Well... maybe the last one in a weird way.
bristolz, Feb 03 2006

       Thanks [DrC]. I suppose this isn't really practical - as you rightly point out, I guess graphic design has just been around for too long.   

       [bris]It's not that I was fishing for an mfd, honest. I just thought this was a really interesting idea, and wanted to get a response, even though I knew I was sailing awfully close to the wind.
moomintroll, Feb 03 2006

       I'm surprised that no-one has ripped into the linking of charities with companies like Gap. Georgio Armani etc. The very thought of his royal smugness appearing on tv wearing those pathetic rose tinted glasses, makes me howl in strange ways that you don't want to hear. Where are the healthy cynics of the world?   

       I have a better idea - "Bono-Boke Tablets." When you feel the need to demonstrate your displeasure at something - really vile, you just pop one under your tongue, and two seconds later projectile vomit is spraying out. As for copywrite/copyright on a circle - good luck!
xenzag, Feb 03 2006

       //just been reading about Product Red, a company set up by Bono// What has Mick Hucknall got to say about this, I wonder?
coprocephalous, Feb 03 2006

       bris: it's hardly worth arguing about what other people think an imaginary object looks like, but I've seen two of those representations used to illustrate hypercubes. You can have the last word on this.
DrCurry, Feb 03 2006

       Yeah, you're right. I've always seen it pictured as a cube within a cube yet all connected. However, were you sincere about not arguing you wouldn't have posted the links. ;-)
bristolz, Feb 03 2006

       Unfortunately, it's somewhat difficult to define "charity" as (1) many organizations that call themselves charities exist primarily for the purpose of providing generous salaries to the top executives; (2) many charities try to advance agendas that some people may find objectionable; it may in some cases be difficult to separate the charitable work from the agenda.
supercat, Feb 03 2006

       There is a company called "Tetra-Pak" which makes those drinks cartons. They are completely unreyclable, as they contain paper, Foil and plastic bonded together. The Tetra-Pak logo has obviously been designed to LOOK like a recycling-type logo (See link). If there as a way to stop these companies using branding/logos which are misleading.....
Minimal, Feb 06 2006


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