Popular ‘eagle’ redesign of SEA Games logo has one slight problem

August 23, 2018 - 11:41 AM
When is it okay to use clip art to redesign a logo? (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

(Updated 4:59 p.m.) It is hard to please social media. Over the past week, the official logo of the Philippines for its hosting of the Southeast Asian Games that Foreign Affairs Secretary unveiled has been heavily criticized. But even some alternative versions by independent graphic designers got somewhat panned.

Designer Raphael Miguel made his own version of the log is an illustration of an eagle was well praised online. It incorporated the color scheme and symbols of the Philippines’ national flag.

He also shared an edited version with the SEA Games rings.

“Did this in less than 15 minutes. The official one looks like we didn’t even try to put effort. Shame,” Miguel posted.

Contrasting critiques

Skeptics noticed that the artist patterned his work from an existing clip art or vector of an eagle.

“Hi, this artist just modified existing clip art! This isn’t the first time this has happened. No wonder it took less than 15 minutes :),” wrote one.

Twitter user @jeninna showed how the artist may have done it within the short 15-minute time frame.

Some jumped in to defend the artwork and explained how artists use references to create their illustrations.

“We all have our references to make illustrations. It is part of the creative process. Some do it from scratch and some go for references. This is completely normal and acceptable,” Twitter user @undermystars_ said.

Another user @koleksiyones also explained that the existing graphic Miguel had used was free to download and use.

“I checked the site and it states that it is free to download and edit. So what’s the big deal here? The guy didn’t even gain profit, the guy didn’t even claim that it was an all original! He just said it was his own version which is completely fine because it was his own concept!” the user said.

If you look closely, the bird in the popular graphic is also not an image of the Philippine eagle, but of the bald eagle from North America.

A quick search of the bald eagle clip art or vector will lead you to various artworks of the American bird, including the one the artist supposedly patterned his work after.

For untrained eyes, the caricatures may appear similar at first, but both birds have very different features.

The Philippine eagle has brown feathers on its head, as if it has a frizzled hairstyle, as well as on its wings. The American bald eagle, on the other hand, is known for its white “bald” head and brown body.

The Philippine eagle is also generally larger than the American counterpart, and has a dark-colored beak. The bald eagle has a yellow beak.


Drawing the line

Taking a clip art or caricature online and modifying it into your own work generally does not violate any intellectual property rights as long as it is just for personal use.

Legal problems usually arise when you intend to use your Photoshopped or altered logo for commercial use, even if you got the original clip art from a website that says it is free, according to review website Top Ten Reviews.

“We all have our references to make illustrations. It is part of the creative process.”

The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines states that all literary and artistic creations are already copyrighted from the artist made them.

The original creators of some artworks and graphics found online can be difficult to trace, but you may credit the source website for your own adaptation. —Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos