Whale Tale Gets Even Worse

Original artwork / Scott JohnsonThis is one of those stories that, as a creative professional, I can only shake my head at.

Earlier this month I wrote a post called Timeline of a Connecticut Fail — referring to the AHL's Connecticut Whale. As has been made clear, I'm not a fan of the team's recent rebranding efforts. And I'm not alone.

We felt like we were sold a bill of goods, thinking the spirit of the Hartford Whalers was actually coming back. Because that's what we were told.

But we were lied to. First it was the name. Then it was the logo. And now we find out that very logo may have been outright stolen without even bothering to credit the original artist.

Graphic designer Scott Johnson outlined his treatment by Howard Baldwin & Co. on his personal blog. It's staggering, to be honest.

When the new group wanting to bring Whalers hockey back to Hartford was in town, that colleague connected them with me. What a chance for me — creating a uniform for the team in Hartford!

Things went pretty well in the process at first. Lots of back-and-forth of what they wanted, lots of sketching, designs, and artwork. I thought we were going great — I did what they asked and more, and they used almost all of the work I did. The thing is, they just didn't appreciate it enough to pay for it.

The worst part for me wasn't the lack of payment, it was that another artist was allowed to take credit for my work — with the Whale's blessing. ... It's disappointing and unfortunate.

That's putting it awful mildly.

This is a huge thing that he is accusing this team of doing. And rather horrible too.

Despite having expressed my disappointment with the final product, I must admit I actually like Scott's original artwork. The whale is still a bit goofy, but he was following instructions he was given. Still, some of those jerseys are outstanding.

The "C" with the whale tail protruding in from the side is spot on. I'm not a fan of the wavy stripes, but as a logo it's perfect if what you want is to recall the spirit of the Whalers.

Anyway, we all have our own opinions on what looks good and what doesn't. But I think we can all agree that logo theft is completely unacceptable in every way. This goes beyond disappointing and unfortunate.

The sad thing is, it's not a rare event. Just this week our friends at PuckDrawn reported on a USHL team that purchased a logo design it had no idea was stolen — from a PuckDrawn concept competition.

These are minor league and junior teams, yes, but they still sell merchandise to turn a profit just like the pros. To see them stealing from talented artists is just repulsive and illegal.

Short of putting an end to displaying much-loved concept art on Icethetics, I wish there was something we could do to stop it. Just have to keep an eye out for thieves, I guess, and make their transgressions as public as possible.