I just posted about 99 Designs’ contest to design a new (read ‘good’) Ebay logotype. Here’s my entry, that was thrown together in a single day after coming up with the idea. My idea was, what would happen if you switched Ebay’s identity with that of Obey? A relevant question from several perspectives. Both have origins in consumer empowerment. Ebay is based on a democratic premise of individuals trading on equal terms. But it has grown to become a success story of meta-capitalist magnitude. This large corporation that is just another Google (almost same colours) or Apple (colours from old Apple logo) is actually profiteering from and leeching off of other people’s profits. The global spread of Ebay has also driven up prices within many collectors circles, and they have bought up local competitors such as Swedish equivalent Tradera.
Obey on the other hand started in street art, then became the stuff of US election campaigns, lawsuits and now a fashion brand. What once took its cues from anti-consumerism, No Logo and adopted a generic Futura inspired by Cindy Sherman’s art, has now fed back into the market and become an archetype fashion brand. Part of the Shepard Fairey Experience, it has lost its connotations of resistance and critique and is now simply generic for no reason. Kind of like the new Ebay logo, which is even more minimal than the new Microsoft. Reduced to the constituent colours it simply looks like Google. No one would care if it looked like OBEY instead, and no one would care if people started stenciling Ebay across town. Or EBEY/OBAY. Just another registered trademark that doesn’t register or mark any type of trade.