It's the fist that keeps on fisting.
January 17, 2009 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Back in 1999, I created this fist logo. Over the years I've seen a number of places repurpose it and when I do I mention that it's not really cool (debatable, I know). I still keep seeing it. Or do I? Is it (April 3rd) the same fist? Further, is there some places that my fist has gotten that people keep grabbing it from?
posted by Kickstart70 to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
More, with various edge roughening: 1 2 3.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:07 PM on January 17, 2009


Is it your exact fist, or just one like it? I had a similar experience with some stickers I made (they're in my profile, I won't link here) spoofing the "W - The President" that was going around a few years ago.

I found a lot of copies online, using the exact font and sizing. I had mis-calculated and made my letter too large to match the original, so I find it odd that someone would copy the same error. However, it is a pretty obvious idea, so I'd not actually be surprised if someone independently came up with it.

So, people may be copying yours exactly, or just "hey let's make a fist logo" and come up with what, honestly, is pretty much the first thing you'd end up with if asked to make a stylized, bold fist.
posted by odinsdream at 7:08 PM on January 17, 2009


Looks like the same fist to me. But, not that I don't believe you,m but how di we know yours was first? And, even if it was, how to stop the spread?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:11 PM on January 17, 2009


This? I don't know the story but I'm pretty sure it's been around for a long time.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:13 PM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Odinsdream: I'd think so too, but all the angles seems identical...from where the thumb crosses to make a triangle to where the side of the hand meets the pinky...if it's not my logo altered, then it seems like it's gotta be traced.

That being said, I'm not heavily annoyed or seeking compensation...I'd mostly like to know if I am just seeing things and maybe have some outside acknowledgment that they really are the same fist.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:13 PM on January 17, 2009


Given that the Tom Robinson Band fist was drawn in 1978, I'd say it's not your fist at all.
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 7:17 PM on January 17, 2009 [14 favorites]


Well, your options if you believe people are using exactly your fist would be to request they remove it. This will be a time-consuming process. In only one of the cases I tried to get someone selling exactly my sticker, without a doubt, to remove it. The e-mail exchange took a few weeks of my time, but ultimately it wasn't worth it for me to actually call a lawyer to get something done, and the seller adamantly refused to take it down because "his designer" had come up with it on his own.
posted by odinsdream at 7:18 PM on January 17, 2009


I mean, I don't think he's saying, "I came up with the idea of a fist as a stirring visual icon." I looked at his original picture and then all the ones you linked and, to me, they look, like, identical. I mean, different color obviously and some, as you say, edge roughening... but they look the same - same lines and angles and proportions.

That's weird! I guess people go Googling and then have no compulsion about firing up Photoshop and splicing out stuff they want.
posted by kbanas at 7:20 PM on January 17, 2009


protest fist brings up more results. I'm interested to know the story behind this.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:20 PM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that the Tom Robinson Band fist was drawn in 1978, I'd say it's not your fist at all.

Ok, that's very strange...not only do I remember designing that fist, I remember getting comments on how to improve it from a coworker, while I was slacking at work drawing it.

Hmmm...certain that the band logo was on that album originally?

Maybe the question here is "Why do I think I drew this fist that clearly I'd have to have time travelled to draw?" or "Where the heck did this exact rendering of this fist really come from?"
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:22 PM on January 17, 2009


Your question rang a weird bell when I read it, and it took me a few moments to drag this fairly recent article up out of my memory. As that obit says, its subject, Frank Cieciorka is generally credited with first creating the modern version of ths fist. However, this page, while also crediting Cieciorka with the latter-day fist, also shows examples of protest art featuring upraised fists from much earlier.

So, to your original question: as Beautiful Screaming Lady says, you keep on seeing it because it isn't yours and has been around for a long time. To your later questions posted below: 1) you probably did draw your own version, failing to realize you'd been inspired by other versions that have long been embedded in the popular consciousness, and 2) the truly "original" version may be lost in the fists, I mean, mists of time, but the stylized version is Cieciorka's.
posted by Herkimer at 7:32 PM on January 17, 2009 [2 favorites]






Herkimer: I in no way claim to be the originator of the upraised fist...I just believed I was the one who drew that one with those angles. Now that I've been proven wrong on that, I'm just plain confused.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:38 PM on January 17, 2009


Fist Comparison GIF
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:40 PM on January 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here's a little more history about it, linked from one of the wikimedia pages.
posted by foxinthesnow at 7:42 PM on January 17, 2009


Okay, one more and I'll stop. The logo for the Socialist Workers' Party is exactly the same, as Alvy Ampersand's fun GIF pointed out that the Tom Robinson Band fist was slightly different.
posted by foxinthesnow at 7:54 PM on January 17, 2009


Ok, that's very strange...not only do I remember designing that fist, I remember getting comments on how to improve it from a coworker, while I was slacking at work drawing it.

Possible answer: your coworker was influenced by the earlier fists and thus their 'comments on how to improve it' made it look like the other earlier fist/s.
posted by Kerasia at 7:58 PM on January 17, 2009


A little googling shows that the Tom Robinson Band fist drawing was created in 1977, was adapted from a Black Panthers image, and was subsequently used by the same designer as a Socialist Workers Party logo. (Bonus info: the concept of surrounding the fist with text was apparently taken from the Gay Liberation Front).

(Additionally, all of the other fists linked to in your initial post and comment have more in common with the 1977 fist than they do with yours. Note the length of the stroke coming down from the palm. The image you've linked to as #1 is, in fact, definitely a direct tracing of the 1977 image; note the notches along the left and right edges.)

On Preview: Looks like I'm a little late, but I'll add these links to the pile, especially for the connection to the Socialist Workers Party logo.
posted by nobody at 8:00 PM on January 17, 2009


Your logo might actually be the Tom Robinson Band fist. Maybe a coworker swapped out your fist for that fist just before the logo was finalized. And over time, you lost your original logo file and saved the finalized logo - which had a Tom Robinson Band fist? And the fists were similar enough to mistake for each other? I know it seems impossible - I myself am certain that I'd recognize my own work, after staring/working at it for hours. But it's a possibility?
posted by Xere at 9:04 PM on January 17, 2009


Hmmm...certain that the band logo was on that album originally?

Yeah, it was. But to be honest, even it wasn't anywhere near the first use of a nearly identical image, going back well into the early 1960's, if not earlier. I've probably seen several dozens of versions of this fist - most close, if not identical to yours - on posters and flyers from when I was still in Bosnia (only then it was Yugoslavia.) It was commonly used for meetings and the like for causes like Yugoslav / Cuban solidarity (or whatever.) In any case, even if your first is *slightly* different from fists which have come before it, it sure wouldn't be distinct enough to be copyrighted.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:18 PM on January 17, 2009


Hmmm...certain that the band logo was on that album originally?

I owned that album in 1978. It was.
posted by gimonca at 11:23 PM on January 17, 2009


Thanks all. No idea how it happened, but clearly it's not "my" fist. I'm still boggled, but maybe I'll track down that coworker and find out what he remembers, if anything.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:59 PM on January 17, 2009


Image [5] on the page Herkimer linked to looks extremely similar to the Tom Robinson fist to me. That one dates back to 1969.
posted by painquale at 12:11 AM on January 18, 2009


Maybe you traced it or drew it from reference.
posted by delmoi at 1:13 AM on January 18, 2009


fist linked to Black Panthers
posted by desjardins at 10:31 AM on January 18, 2009


Cryptomnesia
posted by milarepa at 11:28 AM on January 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


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