6 of Kanye West’s biggest design debacles


Kanye West is as well known for controversy as he is for his music and various ventures, and design controversies are part of the package. He may be a god, but he hasn’t been above criticism when it comes to alleged logo ripoffs and just plain weird design decisions.

While Ye, as West is now known, has been accused of stealing logos from other companies, he doesn’t take kindly to small businesses borrowing his own brand. He even got into graphic design himself, with a little help from Naoto Fukasawa, in a bizarre collaboration that has yet to see the light of day.

Need to upgrade your own setup for design work? Check out our roundups of the best Apple Prime Day deals and the best graphic design software. In the meantime, let’s take a look at these Kanye West design controversies.

01. Kanye West vs. Walmart

Walmart Yeezy

The Walmart logo (left) against the Yeezy folder (right) (Image credit: USPTO)

Brands are logically very protective of their logos and can react quickly if they see a new design that bears any resemblance to their own identity. Even so, Walmart’s reaction to a fairly generic logo trademark filed by Yeezy was quite surprising.

The retail giant took issue with the dotted sun logo designed for Ye’s fashion brand, saying the logo looked too much like its own sun logo, so much so that it would create ” confusion” and the “false suggestion of a link”. to Walmart’s own clothes.

Side by side, a resemblance is noticeable, but then how many dotted logos in the shape of the sun exist in the world? You might even find yours with one of the best logo makers. Of course, for Walmart, the intended use was as much the issue as the design itself, since Yeezy’s patent filing lists retail space, apparel, and retail services among the list of uses.

Walmart said the possibility of confusion was greater because it “frequently partners with celebrities to create special lines of products and services.” Yeezy replied that “Walmart certainly knows, as does the consuming public, that the last thing [Yeezy] wants to do is to associate with [Walmart].” Ouch. Perhaps that is why the brand currently does not use the logo.

02. Another Kanye West logo controversy

The Infinity G8ds/Kanye West logo compared to each other.

The Infinity G8ds logo (left) and the symbol on Ye’s merchandise (right) (Image credit: Infinity G8ds/Kanye West)

Give yourself a break, right? In the wake of Walmart’s allegations, West was accused of copying another logo, this time that of an independent black-owned clothing company, Infinty G8ds. Last year, merchandise for live dates to support the Donda album launch featured a logo with a religious twist. But the logo looked more like that of Infinity G8ds, a clothing brand established in 2016 that embraces the values ​​of unity, faith, love and a positive mindset.

The designs are similar enough but different enough that you could consider them coincidental were it not for the fact that West happened to have had direct contact with the brand before releasing his own product. In a video on Instagram of Infinity G8ds (opens in a new tab), West and the company’s creative director, Randy Dawkins, had a phone conversation during which West complimented the design, saying “‘Bro, I really like your design. It’s really awesome. When can- I meet you to talk about your process? Infinity G8ds even sent the rapper samples of his work (opens in a new tab) and traveled to Atlanta to meet him in person. Come on, Ye; give respect where it is due.

03. The asymmetrical Yeezy x Gap logo

Gap logo and Yeezy logo

Gap (left) and the Yeezy version of the logo (right) (Image credit: Gap/Yeezy/Future Owns)

Sticking with the logos, it was a lookalike that had the backing of a major brand, but it was no less bizarre. While Walmart was a clothing brand Ye didn’t want to be associated with, he was very happy to collaborate with street favorite Gap. But when the Yeezy x Gap mashup finally emerged after much anticipation, the logo revealed on the legal documents was very – uh – let’s say more Gap than Yeezy.

The boxy design makes it look like an overzealous intern was given the brand assets without the style guide and did what they could to try and adapt the logo to a new application. It replaces the letters of the Gap logo with YZY, rounds the edges, and appears to make abundant use of Photoshop’s skew tool to make the design haphazardly lopsided (a symbolic gesture of annoyance to reflect a collaboration with one of the biggest rap stars?). Going for an imperfect appearance is interesting, but it felt like the logo was very evasive, too subtle on the distortion to really say anything.

04. Kanye West vs. College Dropout Burger

Yes, we have big international brands that want to protect their name and image, but still, but sometimes it can seem a little petty, especially when it’s a small local business with a sense of humor . Walmart’s claims of trademarking the Yeezy logo seemed a little outlandish, but it seems West doesn’t take it well when the shoe is on the other foot.

A small Australian burger joint named College Dropout after West’s debut album had Ye at its heart for over a year. It used Ye’s college dropout bear mascot, had dishes based on Ye’s song titles, and displayed Ye-inspired art on the walls. Eventually, Ye’s legal representatives decided enough was enough and ordered the restaurant to drop everything except the name. Spoil the sport. The Chicken Golddigger sandwich and the Cheezus burger were just awesome.

Business owner and Ye fan Mark Elkhouri took the news with good grace, immediately adding an “insert logo here” graphic in the middle of the restaurant’s bear logo and inviting customers to suggest new names for menu items. We can’t help but think that maybe the restaurant should have avoided tagging West in its Instagram posts and stories. They excitedly posted at one point that they noticed West was actually watching their stories. Turns out that could have been his lawyers.

05. Kanye West’s strange McDonald’s packaging

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And speaking of burgers, maybe that’s why West’s attorneys were particularly upset about a burger pairing. Could West be about to launch his own line? Well, there was a very bizarre post on Instagram earlier this year in which West apparently added another string to his bow, announcing that he was getting into packaging design with a little help from the designer of Muji products, Naoto Fukasawa.

He previewed a design for a McDonald’s burger box on Instagram along with a line from his Gold Digger track, “Next week is fries.” Did McDonald’s actually ask West and Fukasawa to do this? Will he ever see the light of day? Two months later, we still don’t have any replies, but the original Instagram post was deleted (like all of Ye’s posts) and the fries never materialized. Maybe McDonald’s decided the design was a bit too – em – dark. The box, which appears to show an image of its contents with a semi-translucent appearance, muted colors and an almost pixelated texture, looks almost sinister.

06. Ye’s position on NFTs

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Another mystery is Ye’s stance on NFTs. On the one hand, NFTs strike us as something West would surely get involved in, and we were almost surprised he hadn’t yet. But West sent mixed messages on the matter. Last February, West posted a now-deleted post on Instagram showing a handwritten note in which he seemed to have lost patience with people asking him about NFTs, but at the same time suggested he might be interested in the coming.

“I’m focused on building real projects in the real world…Don’t ask me to do NFT,” he said, before ending the note with the phrase, “Ask me later.” Then in June, the Chicago-born hip-hop entertainer filed about 17 applications for the Yeezus trademark, including, yes, NFTs. Applications cover blockchain-based and non-fungible tokens, currencies and collectibles, as well as online retail services featuring movies, videos, TV, music and art (Not sure what all of that means? See our explainer, What are NFTs?) So will Ye launch NFTs or maybe even his own entire metaverse? Watch this place.

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