Authentic - adjective: 1. not false or copied; genuine; real
The Lancaster city logo unveiled last week in conjunction with the new "a city authentic" slogan may not be authentic at all.
The square rose graphic bears a remarkable resemblance to one commonly used in the American Arts & Crafts movement a century ago.
The authentic branding of the city was revealed amid fanfare Wednesday, but the logo has been used for more than a year on the backs of the city's wayfinding signs, which point to places of interest.
Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray said few people would recognize the original design.
"I don't think that that undercuts 'a city authentic' at all," the mayor said of using the design. He maintained that the city was emphasizing the slogan, which is intended to give the city its own identity separate from the surrounding county.
Deb Brandt, owner of Moxie House, a design and marketing company that worked with the city on the authentic campaign said her company did not provide the logo.
"We had nothing to do with that rose," Brandt said Monday.
She said her company did not check on the origin of the design because she was told the city was seeking a copyright on the logo.
Indeed, the city received a certificate of registration from the U.S. Copyright Office in April.
Pat Brogan, Gray's chief of staff, said city officials sought the copyright when they decided to use the logo as part of the branding effort. She noted there must have been no record of someone else claiming the design on file in the copyright office.
Brogan said the logo was selected by city officials from among several designs provided to the city by the company that produced the wayfinding signs.
"We didn't know where the sign company got it from," she said. It is now commonly available on Internet "clip art" sites, she said.
Dard Hunter III, grandson of the original designer, said Monday that he had gotten a flurry of e-mails about the Lancaster logo that day.
He had not seen it and did not recall talking to anyone from Lancaster about the use of the design, but he was also not upset that his grandfather's design had been appropriated.
"I don't remember anybody asking. Had they done so, I certainly would have given my blessing," said Hunter, who has previously given permission for the rose's use for non-commercial purposes.
The rose is trademarked, but he has never sued anyone over unauthorized use, he said.
"It would be nice if they gave attribution to the original designer, but it is the highest form of flattery," he said of it being copied.
William Joseph "Dard" Hunter designed the rose in 1906 when he was head of the art department of the Roycrofters, an artist colony in East Aurora, N.Y. The rose was used extensively on Roycroft Press publications and became one of the most recognized symbols of the American Arts & Crafts design movement.
Dard Hunter III operates Dard Hunter Studio in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he sells decorative tiles, jewelry, books and other items that feature his grandfather's designs. Several items, including doormats, curtains, wrapping paper and the studio's own logo, are adorned with the square rose.
"People who are familiar with the period would certainly recognize the design, which is probably what happened," Hunter said.
Brogan said the city solicitor will be contacted about the rose and asked to determine whether anything should be done about the use of the design.