Goodby, Silverstein’s New Logo Is Actually 100 Years Old

Rich Silverstein admits 'appropriating' old mark

Headshot of Tim Nudd

When San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners introduced its new logo recently, there was some grumbling that the mark looked suspiciously like one used a century ago by some (now-defunct) company called S & Co. And as you can see above (that's S & Co. on the left, Goodby on the right), the similarities are indeed uncanny. Evidently, the grousing made its way to agency co-founder Rich Silverstein, who subsequently drafted a memo to staff (obtained by AgencySpy) acknowledging that hell, yes, he ripped it off. Sorry, appropriated it. Read Silverstein's memo after the jump. "Making something old new again was my full intention and I'm very happy with the outcome," he writes. How do you feel about this kind of "appropriation"?

Rich Silverstein on the agency's new logo:

"Our new logo is old.

     I've heard that people have been questioning our new logo. Allow me to explain. I've always loved timeless, beautiful things. So it's not a coincidence that the logo looks like a 100 year old ligature. It was 100% intentional. I found it in my library in a book of ligatures that I've had for 30 years and always admired. I thought it would be nice to take something old and ignored and reimagine it. And that's what I did.

     I enlisted the help of a few talented people in the company and with full transparency we took the beauty of the original hand drawn letter forms and conveniently changed the C to a G, removed the O, and added a P.

     Appropriation is a big part of our culture. Sampling is part of the modern music scene. Andy Warhol's most famous silk screens were made from other people's photographs. And Richard Prince blew up cigarette ads to make art.

     Making something old new again was my full intention and I'm very happy with the outcome." 

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.