I first came across the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) logo on a local newspaper advertisement and wondered whether the logo was an act of plagiarism or vector images taken too far. As can be seen, the logo is made up of vector images shown below which I had come across in the year 2011 in one of the vector images website. The images have just been slightly tweaked and a tray with coins added to produce the logo. The temptation has been to blame the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) since they might have turned away professionals who were charging more to design the logo and settled for the lowest bidder who might not have been a professional. That is just a speculation which might be wrong but before throwing the blame entirely on CRA, I believe the designer carries most blame if this is an act of plagiarism. As much as vector images are widely used, it is tricky to lift them as they are and use them for a logo. A good logo should be original amongst other qualities and not just a picture downloaded from the internet.
I believe it is our duty as graphic designers to educate our clients and offer original logo concepts. If the client insists on unethical practices like asking you to lift somebody else’s work and tweak it a bit, we should be bold enough to walk away from the project no matter the value. It is much cheaper to do so than landing ourselves or the client in legal trouble. It is also not right to present other people’s work as our own.
In this case I wonder what will happen when CRA come across a poster or another piece of artwork utilizing the same vector images. Will they say their logo was infringed upon? Or will they be forced to rebrand? Or are they just innocent victims of plagiarism? Only time will tell.