Jobs tribute not a rip-off, says original designer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 October, 2011, 12:00am


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A British designer whose original image of Steve Jobs closely resembles a later work by a Hong Kong student that became an internet sensation following the death of the Apple founder last week says he has not necessarily been 'ripped off'.

Speaking about the similarity between the two designs, which both feature a Jobs silhouette as a bite out of the Apple logo, Chris Thornley, 40, said his work, created in May, was meant to carry a positive message about a cancer sufferer battling on despite the disease.

Hong Kong student Jonathan Mak Long created his logo in August to convey his sadness after Jobs quit as CEO. The design was spread by internet users after Jobs' death.

'I designed my image back in May 2011 because I wanted to celebrate the fact that someone who had cancer was still working, still driving forward and still thinking positively about the future,' said Thornley, who has blood cancer. 'I don't feel Mak's [design] is really a rip-off necessarily - with so many people working on a design of a logo to commemorate Steve Jobs' life, someone was bound to come up with the same idea.'

Thornley's image features a black Apple logo with Jobs in white, while in Mak's the colours are reversed.

Mak still insisted he came up with the idea alone. 'I've been speaking the truth, but things get complicated when I try to clarify. The logo is a tribute to Steve Jobs. I don't intend to profit from it,' he said.

The two designers may engage in a friendly exchange this weekend. Thornley, whose image was used in Creative Review and other websites before Jobs' death, said the message was never meant to be sombre.

The father of two has been battling a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for almost three years and was recently discharged from hospital after a bone-marrow transplant.

He has set up a website, Raid71 emporium, to raise funds for the Royal Manchester Cancer Charity.

'The first thing you think of is death; cancer = death,' Thornley wrote on the site.

'We all know of someone who passed away suddenly, didn't drink didn't smoke. You know the story. But having lived for these years with cancer the first thing I can say is cancer doesn't mean quick or instant death; did you know that there are over 200 different types of cancer? So your cigarette education pack is pretty useless.'

A poster featuring his silhouette design was put up for sale on the site yesterday. Thornley said he would write to Apple, hoping the company would respect the fact that all income from the poster would go to charity.