Google's reverse image search: A designer's new best friend in finding and fighting unauthorized usage

After the recent LogoGarden.com issue of "appropriating" logo design elements of professionals from around world and offering the images for sale, I was curious what other designs of mine I might find out there on the Internet. In the past I have made use of TinEye Reverse Image Search, with limited results. On Twitter, Google+, Facebook and elsewhere, I started reading bits of information about the Google reverse image search engine - and I thought I'd give it a try.

I was amazed at the results. Where TinEye might have found up to ten online displays of one of my logo designs; Google's search would find 100 to 350 examples of one of the identities being displayed on blogs, in design galleries and elsewhere. In a relatively short period of time, I found over 50 examples of rip-offs or unauthorized usage of a number of my designs. The logos appeared on sites throughout the U.S. and in China, Scotland, Ecuador, Uruguay, Russia, Chile, Ireland, Korea, Brasil, Hungary, Romania, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia, Spain and elsewhere. Several logos were being used as Facebook page or profile photos; one being used in such a manner by about a dozen Facebook members.

The Google Image Search feature offers several options for initiating a search. Dragging and dropping a graphic, uploading a number of file types, and copying and pasting an image URL are variations on searching. It is also possible to download extensions for Chrome or Firefox allowing the user to right-click on a web image to search Google.

I've noticed that searching with different digital file types results in a slight variation in findings. Eliminating any text from a logo design provides additional examples of plagiarism or unauthorized use of images. Some results of the image search are simply odd. Uploading one of my logo designs displays no examples of that particular graphic, although many exist online. Instead, hundreds of examples of a homeland security logo are presented as a similar image.

Still, the Google reverse image search tool offers any creative professional a great opportunity to police the legitimate and unauthorized use of graphic imagery.

Related Articles:

Google's reverse image search: Indies Restaurant

Find Logo Thieves with Google's Image Search, by Terri Stone, CreativePro.com [10.11]

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Calls for entries: Upcoming graphic design competition and book submission deadlines

All of the following competition or book submission deadlines present great opportunities to showcase your design efforts, market your work on an international scale through the published books, and "toot!" your own horn to clients, peers and the media:

Creativity + Commerce
(Print - USA)
Deadline: 15 September 2011
Entry fees charged

iheartlogos: season two
(iheartlogos.com - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 September 2011 (late fees apply)
Entry fees charged

CMYK Pro-Only Showcase
(CMYK - USA)
Deadline Extended: 19 September 2011
Entry fees charged

Top 100 New Creatives #52
(CMYK - USA)
Deadline Extended: 19 September 2011
Entry fees charged

Summit Emerging Media Awards
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 21 September 2011
Entry fees charged

HOW International Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 22 September 2011
Entry fees charged

REBRAND 100® Global Awards
(REBRAND - USA)
Deadline: 21 September 2011
Late Deadline: 5 October 2011 (late fees apply)
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Typography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Final Deadline: 9 September 2011
Entry fees charged

Book of the Year, Volume 4
(Design & Design - France)
Deadline: 30 September 2011
No entry fees charged

Hand Drawn
(Print - USA)
Deadline Extended: 30 September 2011
Entry fees charged

Print in Motion
(Print - USA)
Deadline: 1 October 2011
Entry fees charged

I.D. Annual Design Review
(I.D. Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 October 2011
Late Deadline: 15 October 2011 (late fees apply)
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Interactive Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 7 October 2011
Entry fees charged

HKDA Global Design Awards
(Hong Kong Designers Association - Hong Kong)
Deadline: 17 October 2011
Entry fees charged

Bright Ideas in Brochures
(Bright Books - USA)
Deadline: 28 October 2011
No entry fees charged

Illustrators 54
(Society of Illustrators - USA)
Deadline: 28 October 2011
Entry fees charged

Color in Design Awards
(Print and HOW - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2011
Entry fees charged

LogoNest 02
(LogoNest - Australia)
Deadline: 31 December 2011
Paid site membership required

Brands of the World Logo Awards
(Brands of the World - USA)
Deadline: 31 December 2011
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Illustration Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 6 January 2012
Entry fees charged

Bright Ideas in Use of Color
(Bright Books - USA)
Deadline: 6 January 2012
No entry fees charged

Summit Creative Awards
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 13 February 2012
Entry fees charged

Bright Ideas in Logo Design 2
(Bright Books - USA)
Deadline: 2 March 2012
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Photography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 16 March 2012
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Design Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 11 May 2012
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Advertising Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 11 May 2012
Entry fees charged

PAPERWORKS Letterhead Contest
(Neenah Paper - USA)
Deadline: Ongoing - judged quarterly
No entry fees charged

PAPERWORKS Text And Cover Contest
(Neenah Paper - USA)
Deadline: Ongoing - judged quarterly
No entry fees charged

(To make sure you are reading the latest bLog-oMotives design competition update click here.)
You may want to read my article about participating in design industry competitions and calls for book submissions: A collection of design competition - and book submission request - tips, tricks and observations.

A design competition calendar is also available at Icograda. L├╝rzer's ARCHIVE has an impressive online list of competitions sponsored by international magazines and organizations. Dexinger posts competitions of great value to industry professionals - however designers need to be aware that some of the listings are for "spec" work as a requirement for submission. Requests for new, or speculative, work as a condition of entering a "contest" are much different than legitimate design competition "calls for entries," in which previously created works are judged for possible awards, exhibition, or publication in an annual or other book.

My own work appears in over 140 graphic design books. Many of those inclusions are the result of design competitions, or requests for submissions, like those listed above.

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives