The Nike Notion

Here you are, setting up a brand new business with your Great Idea. You’ve got your business plan, your banker, your accountant and your lawyer all in place. You’ve got the Great Idea in motion, in production, moving and shaking.
Now, you need a logo. So you ask around, look at some websites and talk to a designer who seems to fit your needs. You’re excited and share your Great Idea. They are excited too. What a Great Idea!
That designer sure is excited.
Wait a sec….
Maybe they’re TOO excited. Why are they talking suddenly about “licensing” and “percentages”? Why are they saying you won’t own your own logo? What? What in Mabel’s grandmother is going on here?
Your designer is afflicted with the Nike Notion. And it seems to be spreading around the design community, as I hear this pathetic tale from unhappy business owners more and more.
The Nike Notion evolved from that legendary story about the woman who designed the Nike logo in 1972. She was paid $35 for what they considered a “eh, so-so” concept. Then that swoosh swooshed, made famous by Michael, then Tiger, now Derek. It swooshed to fame and HUGE fortune. That designer was later given a diamond ring and stock in Nike Corporation, which was very nice of them, but absolutely not required.
Yes, the swoosh is a vital bit of Nike. It’s an amazingly strong logo; clear, simple and timeless. However, the brand was built by much more than a logo. It was built by a quality, fashionable shoe first and foremost, endorsed and backed by the best athletes – the absolute cream – in the entire world, and marketed with some of the best creative ever. The logo designer did not have the Great Idea, did not design the shoes, did not build Nike, did not write the marketing strategy. She was grateful for the additional compensation, but she knew it was not required.
However, there are certain designers who now feel somehow entitled to a substantial piece of the success of your Great Idea, your hard work, your enterprise, just because they designed the graphic to represent it.
Baloney sausage.
A designer should set a fair price, disclose a tight estimate, complete the work, invoice, be paid and WALK AWAY. When you pay for that logo, it’s yours. YOURS, free and clear and finished. The designer has absolutely no right to it anymore, except as a sample to show other potential clients. You can put it on Great Ideas, Bad Ideas, hats, letterhead, cards, socks, cat litter, cars and trucks, pens, squeeze balls, and yes, even shoes, without paying your designer one more red cent. It’s YOURS.
Make sure the designer you’re working with agrees with and adheres to these ethical standards. Anything designed for you and paid for by you is yours – that includes logos, business cards, brochures, direct mail campaigns – you own it.
Don’t buy into the Nike Notion and don’t fall victim to someone who does. Your Great Idea is yours and so is your logo.