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Is this the most blatant logo theft ever?

Oasis logo plagiarism
(Image credit: Jim McCauley)

Chinese microblogging giant Weibu has withdrawn its new Instagram-style app after it became apparent that its logo plagiarised a 2015 design by a Korean design studio. 

The new app, called Oasis – or Lüzhou in Chinese – launched on 3 September and quickly became the most popular app on Apple's Chinese app store, but was swiftly withdrawn a few hours later after a user pointed out on Weibo's online forums that the logo design (opens in new tab) had been lifted wholesale from Studio fnt's designs for the 2015 Ulju Mountain Film Festival (opens in new tab).

Oasis logo plagiarism

Studio fnt's original design from its UMFF project (Image credit: Studio fnt)

Anyone who's been around the design world for any length of time knows that you can't go too long without someone claiming that a brand new logo design is a rip-off of another one. It's one of those occupational hazards of design life; after all, on the whole, nobody sets out to copy another piece of work for their new branding project. 

But in logo design, where you're often working with simple and minimal shapes, it's inevitable that occasionally you'll create something that looks a little – or even a lot – like an existing design.

And here's the Oasis logo. Breathtaking

And here's the Oasis logo. Breathtaking (Image credit: Weibo/Lüzhou)

Unfortunately for Weibo, that argument doesn't hold any water in this case. The logo, depicting stylised mountains and a sun drawn in a distinctive line art style is a straight copy of a business card design created as part of fnt's UMFF project. It even steals the visual effect of the foil printing used on fnt's business cards, but in this case achieves a near-identical look with a colour gradient.

Oasis logo plagiarism

The app has already been removed from the Chinese App Store (Image credit: Weibo/Lüzhou)

In fairness to Weibo, it took the app down as soon as it became aware of the blatant plagiarism, and posted an apology (opens in new tab) soon after in which it admitted that in the past its designers had borrowed elements from online materials. 

Oasis further states that it has initiated an internal review of its design process and has been contacting relevant design parties to resolve any copyright issues.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.