One online dictionary says to "copy" means: "an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original."
Another definition is: "to follow as a pattern or model; imitate."
One online thesaurus shows this word being related to the word "copy": "similarity (or similar)"
Copying can mean intentional or mistaken imitation of fellow Designers or any source from the internet or other sources which you do not have restriction-free rights to use.
For LogoTournament, designs submitted in the Blind Open phase are not subject to copying rules unless there is clearly obvious pattern of copying another Designer's entries.
What if the Client asks me to copy?
If you make a design or make a concept and another designer shows you clearly that you copied their design (or the design of another legal entity), you are obligated to remove the design. You must remove regardless of whether you knew of the previous design or not. You must respect your fellow designer. If you are concerned, you can make a forum post in the Resolutions forum or contact Support.
If the client says it was their idea, you should contact the other designer by private message first.
What about Layout?
One way to help you evaluate if your design might be 'not significantly different' would be if you reduced your colors to black and white and compared the other logos. If it looks similar, don't submit.
What about Fonts?
Fonts affect the appearance of the design and are often very important. This includes which fonts you use and how you edit them or design around them.
Some fonts are commonly used for certain kinds of businesses and such fonts (if not purposely edited for effect) might not be protected. Sometimes, editing them in certain ways is also common.
You must consider the brief and what might be considered "obvious" before entering your design. In Wordmark and Letterform contests, more emphasis is placed on protecting choice of fonts and editing in a unique manner.
What about Color?
Color is rarely protected but we encourage healthy respect nonetheless. Most businesses request colors or there are common color palettes related to their region, or business type. In rare cases color may be protected as decided by the community. In such cases Designers are encouraged to work together to form a solution.
A Designer may receive violations points (VPs) for designs that are too similar to others. If a Designer habitually becomes involved in 'Too Similar' Logo Courts, the Designer's account may be subject to a ban or temporary disable to help impress the need to show improved respect for fellow Designers.
If you are unsure, you can start a forum thread in the Designer Discussion or email Support.
Please review other topics related to Design, Concept and Layout.