When I was trying to come up with the PXLR logo, I tried to not look at any other logos for inspiration or comparisons. I just sat down, and after over a year on and off, and 100 or so tries, I came up with the new (current) logo. I had to think of either symbols that meant something, or come up with a creative way to use the letter P. I wanted to use sharp edges because I had for a long time tried to incorporate squares to represent pixels. Every idea along those lines failed. I finally came up with the square spiral P and was quite pleased with the results. Only very minor tweaks and it was finished. Simple, clean, and looks good white on dark colors or blue on light background.
Because I didn't spend time looking at other logos, I have no idea if my logo looks like someone else's or not. Hopefully it doesn't. If anyone that sees this blog post knows of a logo mine looks similar to, please let me know in the comments. I'd be happy to throw it up here for comparison. The reason I started thinking about this was because I noticed the po.st icon at the bottom of a story recently and thought it was the pinterest sharing button, except for some reason it was in blue. When I hovered over it and saw that it wasn't Pinterest, but po.st, I started digging. There are a LOT of logos that use the letter P (or any other letter) but some of them are so similar they can be mistaken for another at quick glance. Take my example above. I thought the po.st share button was a blue pinterest share button. When you look at them as large as the image above, you can see they're different, but on a 20 pixel tall share button, they look very much the same. Add in the fact that they're both used to share things, and you could easily confuse the two. Now take Path vs. Pinterest. Both are social sites, and on my wife's iPhone are grouped together in a social media folder. Both are red and use similar curves. At quick glance, one could easily confuse one for the other if they weren't right next to each other.
If someone saw the Path icon without knowing what it was, and knew who the Philadelphia Phillies were, they could easily think Path was an app for the team. Maybe. Ok, that's a bit of a stretch, but you see where I'm going. Branding is important. Having a unique logo is as well, so that when people see your logo, they think of you (and not a competing brand or service). I remember when I was younger there was a company, who I can't think of right now, that had a logo very similar to AT&T's lined globe logo from the 80s (come on, someone jar my memory here). I always confused that logo with AT&T's. I know that it's nearly impossible to come up with a design that looks nothing like someone else's and I'm sure my new, unique PXLR logo looks like something someone else has done, but I just haven't seen it. Again, if it does, please let me know! It's just becoming more and more commonplace to see similar logos, especially when using a letter to respresent your brand.