Absa relaunched its brand in July 2018 in an attempt to freshen up their brand and target a more diverse, forever evolving South African audience. But this journey was brought to a sudden halt when scam artists picked up the scent of an opportunity. In their attempt to provide Absa with a fresh looking logo they forged the brand guidelines by copying a brand for a different client they had already worked on previously and served up the new logo as if it were new.
Many designers and smaller design agencies that are fed up with being treated badly by clients often remove themselves from the logic equation that each project is a value exchange which requires a certain amount of value to be added in order to receive an equal amount in compensation. These individuals choose to approach certain projects this way in order to increase profit margins and hand over little to no value to the client.
Having to go and fix many issues of this nature ourselves we’ve seen many clients get bamboozled by freelancers posing as design agencies in order to cut expenses and improve profits by outsourcing all the required skills while adding a rather large profit on themselves for merely getting the work.
Fortunately for all of us, the South African population are quite in tune with scammers and this re-design was quickly brought to social justice on twitter. Granted many uneducated responses were given from individuals that truly just wanted to spread hate towards the business itself, but amongst these few, there were large amounts of fact and insight into the scam.
In our search to discover who the agency was that created this design for Absa, we stumbled across a logo designed recently that looked far too similar to be a coincidence. Take a look for yourself here below as we dissect what we see happening here.
Now consistency within a brand is one thing but if a design agency looks at its portfolio and notices that each brand is rather consistent in shape, font and use of negative space, then I believe you are reselling old ideas and therefore no client should have to spend what Absa unfortunately has on an old brand.
Don’t miss interpret what I’m saying, if a circle works for a brand then it definitely works, no need to change designs just to keep your portfolio different. But this is a blatant repeat of a logo, served up as a new idea.
There’s been a lot of chatter about the incident on social media as well as comical video releases shedding light on people’s opinions:
Absa and its decision makers have replied as well as Times Live which has created an article saying “despite what consumers believe, the two logos are very different. Consumers just see a circle and think they are the same…“
However this article is more of push back to consumers implying that they don’t know what they’re talking about. However from what we can see of the 2 logos, its not just the circle that is the same its the line cut out in the circle, its the exact same font that has been used, Absa’s version is just in bold (which I’m sure came from a revert). So no matter what the decision makers are now saying in trying to get consumers off their backs, they are still dodging important facts that are clearly topics they will not comment on.