Michael Bloomberg's Group Stole a GOOD Designer's Ideas

After his designs were copied by the new centrist No Labels group, we asked Thomas Porostocky some questions.

Thomas Porostocky has had an interesting week. Porostocky is a designer and a friend of ours here at GOOD. He first came to our attention because of a project he works on called We Need More Party Animals, which is an organization devoted to stopping partisanship and which features many animals designed to look like the traditional Democratic donkey and Republican elephant. We featured stickers of these animals in our first issue, and Porostocky has done a bunch more work for us as well.

In the middle of this week, Michael Bloomberg and a host of other centrist politicians launched an organization called No Labels, which is also designed to stop partisanship and which had a design featuring very familiar animals dressed up in red, white, and blue. The internet got all over this, which resulted first in a small feud—through the media—between Porostocky and Dave Warren, the designer from Fly Communications, which was hired by No Labels to create their identity. The back and forth is funny (never tell someone to google you, as a retort), and you can read it here. After first denying the charge and then admitting to accidental theft, No Labels pulled the design.

Now that the dust is settled a little and he has time to talk, I asked Porostocky some additional questions about the fiasco:

GOOD: Can you tell me a little about the history of the party animals? How did that idea start? When did you first make them?

Thomas Porostocky: The party animals were initially conceived in my senior year of grad school at the School of Visual Arts in New York (that was 2005). It was a somewhat tumultuous political time (although looking back, maybe not as bad as it is today), and the idea came around fairly organically because of it. I was tired of the squabbling and the polarized with-us-or-against-us nature of America politics, and wanted to make a light-hearted gesture about this need for more options for those who didn't feel comfortable with either political party. Not being an American, I had always pictured the country as the land of choice and variety, and yet, when it came to politics, there was anything but.

It got a fairly good response in my circle (and from GOOD, of course), and so with my friend Ed McKirdy, we created the MorePartyAnimals website to help it grow.

G: How did the copying end up coming to your attention?

TP: The issue came to my attention via a few friends. It really didn't take long to blow up into a bigger deal, and I've been extremely amazed at the support of both friends, colleagues and strangers. Frankly, a lot of them were more angry and passionate than I was.

G: The idea of the party animals is perhaps even more original than just specific animal drawings. If Fly had the same idea, but with different animals, would you have been equally angry?

TP: I can understand why an organization like No Labels came to have similar ideas about the political scene in this country. Similar sentiments and ideas tend to emerge when the times call for it, so I'm not necessarily surprised to see a group with a cause that parallels MPA. I am surprised that they didn't reach out to us in the first place, though.

G: As a designer, do you feel like there are any broader lessons or takeaways from this, especially as it speaks to the new horizons of a culture where everything is on the internet and potentially shareable or copyable.

TP: The first one is pretty simple: Don't steal. I think it's important to note that in this instance, this wasn't a gray area, it wasn't a case of being inspired by reference material. The work was lifted and used as is in a lot of cases. You can't blame internet culture on this one, it's a simple case of laziness and lack of character on the part of the designer.

From there on things get a little more mucky. Inspiration and reference material is nothing new. It's often part of the process for designers and agencies. I've been part of hectic agency pitches and projects that rifle through hundreds of images as part of the conceptualization process (these images are, of course, gathered from various resources like Google, Flickr, etc.). They key is to know when the inspiration stops and the original thought begins. One needs to be wary of found work that takes on a life of its own. If you can't take the reference material out of your project without seriously compromising your message, you have a problem. Take ownership of your ideas, and know where they came from. While the act of IP theft might not always be malicious, ambivalence and laziness is what leads to trouble.

Simply ignoring what's out there is not realistic. Obviously while we can't all go live in the woods (although some days, I don't think it's such bad idea). However we can often control what we do with anything we see and experience. But beware the lure of too much inspiration; it's a dangerous tease. There's nothing worse than having an idea squatting in your head, but knowing you can't use it.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less