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Lawmaker accuses 520 event designer of plagiarism; accusation denied

05/20/2024 09:25 PM
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Award-Winning Taiwanese Designer Yen Po-Chun talks about his design for the May 20 Presidential Inauguration in April. CNA file photo
Award-Winning Taiwanese Designer Yen Po-Chun talks about his design for the May 20 Presidential Inauguration in April. CNA file photo

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Legislator Huang Chien-pin (黃建) of the opposition Kuomintang on Monday suggested the main visual design employed at President Lai Ching-te's (賴清德) May 20 inauguration ceremony was "plagiarized," but the designer strongly insisted the work is an original recreation.

The main visual design used at Monday's ceremony and on event badges is "nearly identical" to the work of artist Anna Berbiela and French painter François Morellet, Huang said in a post on social media.

The post attached photos and illustrations of the colorful linear designs at Lai's inauguration ceremony and the foreign artists' works, to highlight their similarity.

The lawmaker noted the similarity between the ceremony's badge logo and a work submitted to a logo design competition five years ago for a Kentucky-based veterinary clinic named "Dogwood Veterinary Clinic," saying the former "resembles [the latter] to the point of plagiarism."

Huang's doubts came after a netizen questioned the originality of the inauguration ceremony's main visual design and badge logo on the public forum PTT on Sunday.

In response, designer Yen Po-chun (顏伯駿), founder of YEN Design, denied the accusation, arguing that colorful lines as a design element have a long tradition and are widely used in the works of the Bauhaus school and modernists.

In a statement, Yen said his company "intended [the style of colorful lines] to showcase the new atmosphere accompanying the presidential inauguration ceremony, rather than to plagiarize the work of others."

As for the badge logo, the company "remade" it to its current look while basing the idea on material it purchased and was authorized for commercial use, Yen explained.

Yen's design team is also responsible for the visual design of the Taiwan Pavilion in the 2024 Paris Cultural Olympiad.

This is the second controversy over alleged design plagiarism involving government institutions in the past two weeks.

A dragon-like character in an immersive puzzle solving game promoted by the National Museum of Taiwan Literature under the culture ministry was accused of plagiarizing the work of Chinese cartoonist Nora (童年 Nora), which the museum initially denied in a Facebook post on May 10.

However, on May 16, the Tainan museum said it was informed by Popworld Inc., which designed the character, that the figure was not its brainchild, with Popworld Inc. also issuing an apology for the mistake.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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