Sunday, November 27, 2011

What a Nice Logo you have, Where Did You Find it?

The small record label Balance Underground (or Alliance) has apparently lifted the Debian swirl as their logo for the past few years (actually legal, but only if the jackets have a disclaimer). It's a sub-label of another swirly label called Balance Recordings that appears to have different artwork.

Apparently they were also Spelling-Bee Champions.

Here's some releases, most of them link back to discogs; the ones at the bottom are from their Facebook page.

About the author
Chris Mckenzie writes Free software.

Edit 1: The Debian swirl appears to be trivial to construct and has been used by other organizations.
Edit 2: A representative from the organization in question has some replies below concerning the logo! :)


  1. Why do some peepol find it hard to pronownce? It's easie as pease of cake.

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  3. It's a standard Photoshop brush pattern.

  4. mike deep, actually all of these were released in the last ten years. The Prescription label swirl is significantly different than the debian swirl used on these cd labels. If you follow the link you will see it is still in use by Balance records. Also, Balance Alliance (or Underground) was started in 1996, well after debian was started.

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  6. I just want to thank you for putting so much work into this and putting up our artwork it looks great...You have a good holiday season

  7. The Logo is on AAA Logo Design program thats where both companies got the logo so to call us thieves is quite interesting! When the design is free... I deleted the other post because i was upset when i wrote back so please excuse me for the MORON remark..

  8. Hi Mike! I can understand that your team may have created that logo in isolation, and that's great if you did.

    But if you decided to use the one from the Debian group, there's actually some sticky legal details on what they mean by "free". In this case, they want you to put a legal statement on the content you are distributing.

    The people running the Debian project are pretty nice and understanding, and not wealthy enough to bring you to court!

    But I suggest that since you just release a record with very little room for printing, the best course of action would be to contact them and ask them how to go about it. It may be as simple as putting something like "Logo is GPL via Debian" somewhere ... but they would probably have final say.

    On other notes, your label is doing fantastic music and I enjoy it a lot. I hope this at least gives a little more exposure to the talented artists and wonderful works under your label.

    Thanks for your interest and I hope you have a beautiful day!

  9. How 'easy' the logo is to create is irrelevant. It wouldn't be very hard to create the iconic Windows or Mac logos, but it would still be trademark infringement to do so. This is a straw-man argument.

    1. Thanks Jon. I've thought hard about making a post that shows how trivial it is to construct major logos. I've even done the homework and looked for a bunch of logos that could be used.

      Target is probably the best one I thought of ... there's also Mercedes; single letter logos (such as mcdonalds) are actually harder than you think; since the M is hand drawn with b-splines or something ... not trivial at all.

      Anyway, I don't really know how to format this article, I was thinking of maybe classifying things into "5 minute" "10 minute" etc or "4 step, 5 step" ... I don't know ... it would be fun, but also without the context of this discussion, I don't know how much traction it would get.

      This one was easy ... a bunch of pictures, an obvious copy, little text. Anyway, thanks for your input.

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