27 Apr 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

Here's an interesting story. A short while ago a friend alerted me to a BJJ academy that appeared to be using one of my artworks on their official logo. It was instantly obvious that the person who designed this logo had simply lifted the crow art from my Lisbon BJJ logo and placed it on to the Charm City BJJ logo. See here:
Old Charm city BJJ logo

My original creation

I tried contacting the owners of Charm City BJJ several times but didn't get a response so I designed a tongue in cheek poster aimed at attracting their attention. Boy did it work. I was stunned by the massive exposure on the internet and moved by the huge show of support from my Facebook followers and friends who all shared the poster on their walls.

It didn't take long before I received a message from the instructor at Charm City, Pablo, who explained his situation and offered his deepest apologies. It seemed they had been duped by an unscrupulous 'graphic designer'. I felt a little bad now that I had heeped a pile of negative traffic his way.

But rather than hide or ignore the situation, Pablo put himself out there and made this statement:

"We'd like to issue a formal apology to Mr. Seymour Yang for the logo design that is clearly his work. When we opened a year ago, our logo was the last thing we needed. We asked a graphic artist to create a Raven logo with a kimono, as it's our city's mascot. Obviously, it was copied and we've been rightfully reprimanded. The jiu jitsu world is too small for these kind of things and we assure you that we'll work with Mr. Yang to make this right. Ossss!"

Even though Charm City BJJ had bought the logo in good faith, Pablo held himself accountable and wanted to do whatever he could to make things right. I too wanted to do something right. My cheeky O Hai poster was a huge destructive mallet and I wanted to redress the balance - to offer something constructive, not destructive. So Pablo and I agreed, the right path was for me to create a new logo...and after an enjoyable exchange of ideas, I'm pleased to say, here it is!

The scenario I experienced here highlight a couple of things for me. Mainly that the internet, however vast, can also be quite small - it didn't take too long before the logo was spotted by someone familiar with my work and it didn't take too long for my calling out poster to spread like wildfire.The story also brought home to me the fact that the majority of folk in the BJJ community only want to see positive and good things happen. It's a wonderful sport that connects a lot of amazing people together. My dialogue with Pablo has been hugely productive and it seems events have concluded happily for all parties concerned. I waived my fee for the new logo, it just didn't seem right. But I asked if they could support Tap Cancer Out with a donation, which they have most generously done.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters who helped me and to Pablo for trusting in my abilities to create a new logo for them.


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


ch1apet said...

It's refreshing to see a potentially acrimonious situation be resolved in a mature, thoughtful, and appropriate way. Kudos to both Charm City and Meerkatsu for handling themselves in a way not commonly seen these days!

I think that it's quite a shame that people unrelated to BJJ probably won't stumble upon this story. It's a testament to the community and the art, and is certainly a story worth telling.

Grappling Training and Tournament Blog said...

I first read about this on the charm city bjj blog. I thought it was very classy of you to step in and help him out with the new logo even though he accidentally wronged you. It just goes to show how tight nit the BJJ community is.

By the way, both logos look awesome. You are a great artist.

Unknown said...

This story embodies what Jiu-Jitsu is all about. You both owned it and you both made it right. Thank you for sharing. I saw the poster go viral on FB. This was awesome to see the rest of the story! Osss!

Unknown said...

youre a good dude mr yang!


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