Art on Old Navy designs looks exactly like illustrator's work

Originally published at:


Funny how it isn’t just big companies who pull this crap.

I was working with a group doing all the primary design and branding for their gaming event. Someone decided to take a piece of my custom art and put it in photoshop, recolor it to a gaudy purple, then slap it on a tee shirt for their swag bag give away.

I was pissed.

At first the comment was “well we aren’t selling it, it’s a freebie anyway!” Then it became “But people like how it looks!” the last rationalization was of course “Well, we can do whatever we want with your art anyway.”

I chose not to fight it legally because it really wasn’t worth it…but the next time they asked me to do design work for them I asked them to sign a fair use contract that outlined how the art I did could be used by them and myself. They refused to sign…I said “fuck off then”.

And this is why I rarely if ever put my work out there openly.


And yet, were the artist to sell designs blatntly ripped off from old navy, I’m sure they would cry foul.


this is really sad but it does happen a lot. i hate hearing about artists getting ripped off in this way. there’s not much you can do. i wouldn’t be surprised if these shirts weren’t designed by a newly hired (or long time employee) wanting to either impress their employer or justify their tenure by doing a quick google and then manipulating the work slightly so as to avoid claims of plagiarism.


I had a client asking me to make him the old Mac OS logo as his logo for his company.
“I can’t”.
“Then I’ll have someone else do it if you can’t fulfill such a simple request”.
“But … you just can’t use it. It’s copyrighted to them. Wouldn’t you prefer a logo of your own; one that’s original and individual?”
“No, I like this and I want it.”

Ended up making him a logo of a tree with half a face in it… still close enough for him and sufficiently indistinguishable to anyone else.


Oh, it’s a navy comprised of pirates.


I’ve had a personal boycott on this company since they logged old growth in my backyard and said ‘oopsie’ and that the community they misled could pound sand.


I appreciate Boing Boing helping to signal boost this. I’ve been through similar and it feels terrible. Even if Lili doesn’t win in court (unlikely, though it will be expensive), at least Old Navy will look like jerks. I’ve often picked up cheap shirts for doing art from there before, but I walked right by without even considering going in yesterday.


The thread is still young, but it’s encouraging that no one is arguing that Old Navy is in the clear because they (poorly) redrew these.

1 Like

They are being totally unapologetic, and have said that it would be a “bad business decision” for me to expect to be reasonably compensated for the use of my art. Instead of compensating me, they have chosen to pay a large law firm to fight me, and have even asked the judge to order me to pay THEIR legal fees.

This is fairly close to how pre-prez, real estate mogul Trump got out of compensating contractors who he claimed had done shoddy work (so why pay them anything). Use his wealth and power to threaten them with destructive litigation.


Luckily the laws we have to address mobsters who deliberately keep the illegality in the hands of arms-length peons don’t apply to non-scare-quoted legitimate businessmen; or they might have a problem with a 'the intern did it, we shipped it in volume without even a cursory check; and now we are digging in and litigating against the person who told us that we have a problem" strategy.

I, also, wouldn’t be at all surprised if some intern or expendable contractor did the initial infringing; but likelihood that it was just a peon exceeding authorization decreases as you move through the process of bringing the design to market; and disintegrates when you have your legal department trying to make the artist go away.


Plus, the exposure. You just can’t put a price on exposure like that; probably because it’s worth close to nothing.


A Narcissist’s Prayer

That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did…
You deserved it.


Yet another reason I won’t buy any of their overpriced crap clothing.

1 Like

Isn’t that referenced in literature re legal strategies?

Neil Gaiman picked this up in support of Lilli. ON is in for a bad time. Their PR department is probably hyperventilating already.


Good on Gaiman I like the places that soul of his has traveled and shared and I really like his support of fellow artists.


aka barratry


Remarkably accurate progression, too.


This is why I come to BBS.