Indigo backs down after illustrator claims they stole her Montreal 375 design – Montreal

Bookstore giant Indigo has stopped selling a gift card celebrating Montreal’s 375th anniversary after an illustrator complained it had plagiarized her design.

This is Bess Callard’s original print, which she says was created in 2013. (Bess Callard)

Bess Callard — a former Montrealer now living in Freiburg, Germany — designed a print in 2013 that she called Montreal City.

It features the word Montreal in red with black icons of the city’s landmarks and claims to fame — the Jacques Cartier Bridge, poutine, maple syrup, a hockey stick, a pigeon, a bagel and the Notre Dame Basilica, among other things.

On Thursday, a friend contacted her to ask whether she had designed something similar for an Indigo gift card after seeing a similar design on the book-seller’s website.

“I looked at them and my heart just sank. I said ‘No, I didn’t do them. It looks exactly like my work,'” Callard said.

This is the offending gift card, as advertised on the Indigo website June 23. (Indigo)

She said some of the icons look like they have been slightly redrawn, but others look like exact copies.

She said when put side by side, it’s “obvious” one is a copy of the other. 

Facebook support

After seeing the Indigo design, she posted to Facebook and quickly got a wave of responses, backing up her claims of plagiarism and saying the company owed her an explanation.

She reached out to the company on social media and contacted a lawyer. Initially she wasn’t optimistic about getting a response and called the whole affair “disheartening.”

But on Friday afternoon, responding to a question from CBC News, an Indigo spokesperson said the company was pulling the gift card from circulation. 

“Our intent with our gift card was to celebrate…

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