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logotype

BRIEF
"We’ve reinvented electricity supply for the digital World making it possible for any generator to sell directly to a consumer".
"By buying electricity directly from generators, you get a better deal by going direct and you know where your electricity comes from."

DEBRIEF
Create a connection between two simple, similar/different shapes.

HELP
I have asked a friend of mine for his opinion about this logotype (actually a complete brand identity). He pointed me to these graphics:

I have not used Gerstner as direct inspiration, but studied Swiss Graphic Design quite intensely at the University. My opinion is that Gerstner's work is deep in my mind / subconscious. I have used an effortless square grid to design it, exactly like Gerstner did - it is the easier and natural way to do it for everyone I suppose.

FACT
The client already signed off before I recognised the similarity and he loves it.

PROBLEM
Should I honestly tell the client what's happening? Is it plagiarism? Or, is just connecting a square and a circle too general to be copyrighted?

Thanks for considering

marked as duplicate by Zach Saucier, Westside, joojaa, Cai, Emilie Jun 2 '17 at 2:18

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • imho, with emphasis on humble here, I don't think this can be classified as plagiarism. It's two very general shapes, connected with a gradient. If this is plagiarism, Karl Gerstner (or his descendants) will never stop suing people. – PieBie Mar 14 '16 at 10:41
  • If you don't mention it and it becomes a problem for your client, how does that fit in with your personal ethic? You don't have to frame it as a horrible fiasco: mention you were having drinks with your buddy and it reminded him of something. Better to talk about it before money is spent on printing etc. Note that these things are not clear-cut, you can be 100% in the right, but you can still be forced to defend it. – Yorik Mar 15 '16 at 18:50
  • Just ask your client if he is ok with this, but beforehand consult a legal specialist. I personally think this is no plagiarism, may even be considered a praise to the original author (by yourself doing it subconsciuscly). However, if it's protected under any kind of law than it may prove problematic. In any other case - just drop the bomb on client and create another design ; ) – Whytek Jul 14 '16 at 7:24
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My first question is either a registered trademark? My second are the companies even remotely in the same business?

Good example Obama has a campaign logo is well known and I assume is registered. A Texas Republican use a markedly similar logo in his campaign. Obviously both are in the same 'trade'.

Once the second logo surfaced it took only 24 hours for the second logo to disappear.