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Kanye West forces small business to redesign Ye-inspired branding

Kanye West appears on Creative Bloq more than we ever imagined he would. But as long as he dips his finger into design, we're here for it. The latest Yeezy story is right up our street, as he has reportedly started legal proceedings against a restaurant for using too much Kanye in its branding.

A small Australian burger restaurant, called College Dropout (inspired by West's first album), had Ye at its core for over a year. During that time, branding included a themed logo, menu dishes based on song names and Ye-inspired art on the walls. But West got wind of the situation and legal representatives have apparently asked the restaurant to remove all reference of Yeezy, except the name (see below). We guess the owner will need to check out our how to design a logo guide.

According to the above post, College Dropout (opens in new tab) has been asked to withdraw the crowned bear logo, make no song or album references to Ye in the menu, destroy or alter any murals inspired by Ye and no longer assert they are inspired by Ye or his music. With menu items like the Golddigger chicken sandwich and Cheezus burger to rebrand, there's a lot of work ahead.

Mark Elkhouri aka Kanye West super-fan realised his restaurant was on Ye's radar when the musician started viewing College Dropout's Instagram stories on the regular. Though initially delighted by the news (see the post below), West's legal team moved quickly to pour cold water on his excitement as they served a cease and desist letter shortly after.

Comments on the situation veer wildly from those supporting the small business owner, "well yea, a billionaire has to worry about someone making money off him and not getting his cut", to those backing West. "If you’re acting surprised, you really shouldn’t be," one fan said. 

"You used his mascot image, which was created by Sam Hansen," they continued. "You’ve used images of the Takashi Murakami mascot bear. The restaurant is named after his first album, you reference his other work titles in displays and you have his image/likeness on display throughout the joint."

Either way, Elkhouri accepted the news with grace and humour, immediately taking down references to West from the social media account, including adding an 'insert logo here' graphic to the middle of the bear logo. College Dropout's Instagram picture is currently a black square, and posts are up inviting followers to help rename the menu items. 

Given this is the second Kanye/burger related story we've run in as many months, we wonder if West felt threatened by the association with College Dropout due to plans to collaborate for real with one of the big fast food chains (see his Muji x McDonald's packaging concept here), or the fact he apparently owns multiple Burger King restaurants in Europe (true story).

Whatever West's reasons for coming down hard on the burger spot, we bet they're not sad about the massive amount of publicity they've gained from the issue. They have vowed to remain 'inspired by and support Ye (just not publicly)" and are actually using their fame for good by offering to promote local business whilst their story views are so high. We look forward to seeing what the new logo will be.

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Georgia Coggan is a regular freelance contributor for Creative Bloq, who has also worked on T3 and Top Ten Reviews. With a particular interest in branding and retro design, Georgia writes about everything from logo design to creative technology, enjoys hunting down genuinely good deals and has even used her knowledge as an ex-teacher to create buying guides on products including children's books and bookcases.