It's impossible to ignore the rise of fan art over the internet and the way it has become more visible over the years. Nowadays, it is common to see redesigns of popular logos and characters getting promoted across the web.
But is this good or bad for the original company and their product? Whatever your business' preference, it is important to think about the way iconic images get reimagined and shared in a digital context.
One popular trend for artists has been to combine two unlikely franchises or characters into one mock-official image. Sports Illustrated recently reported on the work of one designer, Mark Avery Kenney, who has combined sports team logos with characters from various TV shows, movies and video games.
This includes integrating the popular video game character Luigi of the Super Mario Bros. into the well-known design for the Boston Celtics and the villain Bowser into the red, black and white of the Chicago Bulls image. These sorts of redesigns are far from frivolous, since in some cases they make their way to t-shirts and other merchandise, similar to the logos of real sports teams.
Marvel Comics recently saw another crossover that went viral when one artist reimagined the logo of a famous hip-hop album, "Run the Jewels 2". That featured two bandaged hands in a gesture held apart from each other, and the comics company was able to reinterpret that with their own characters, thereby gaining some attention from the logo's relevance.
Companies need to decide for themselves how open they are to unofficial versions of their brand images. Handled correctly, though, the interest that comes from something along these lines could be a boon for sales. If a "fan" image ends up becoming popular, businesses can address it with their own custom screen printing and benefit from the connection.