A Letter from Nolan
If you've stumbled upon this website during a quest for info regarding Christopher Nolan's film Tenet, or you're looking for a new set of bars and thought to yourself "Wow that logo looks quite similar to that movies logo", this page is designed to clear the air.
In 2017, I started conceptualizing this brand idea. During my quest for a name, I knew I wanted a palindrome and landed on the word Tenet. I initially thought that I had simply made up a word, but after a quick google search, realized that it actually had a meaning that aligned with my vision.
ten·et /ˈtenət/ : a principle or belief, especially one of the main principles of an idea or philosophy. something worthy of living or dying for.
On June 1st, 2018 I officially launched Tenet. It was a hell of a lot of work and I finally made a life long dream become a reality. Since then I have made baby steps to get this company where it is today. Even the smallest amount of recognition from my peers took years of hard work to obtain. So when I saw the logo for Nolan’s new film, my heart sank. I feared the worst, what if people stumbling across my brand thought to themselves “Why would I support a brand that rips off block buster movie logos?”? After the film was officially launched, I started getting messages from friends and peers in support of my brand. I knew I had to get ahead of the curve and posted this instagram post…
This caught the attention of Pinkbike, who graciously reached out for comment on the matter. These comments can be seen here...
Later that day, I received a call from Warner Brothers, they informed me that they had something they needed to send over and asked for my email. Fearing the worst, they then sent this...
Warners just showed me the logo for your company, so I wanted to reach out directly and reassure you that our logo was arrived at without reference to yours. I know this because I designed ours myself, evolving it over the last six years, driven by a fascination with the symmetries of a word which is central to my story and its themes. I thought I’d done something unique - but clearly you were driven by the same creative impulse. I guess lightning can strike twice, and obviously I understand that you would not want anyone thinking that you had been inspired by our movie’s title treatment - feel free to quote me in shooting such misunderstandings down. I love our logo so I hope you won’t feel this is necessary, but if you like, I can stop using it since it seems you went public with yours first.
My reply to Mr. Nolan is below...
I apologize for my delay in responding. It came at a very busy time as you can imagine with the holidays and all. This time gave me a moment to reflect on everything that has transpired. First of all, thank you for sending that kind letter. It truly means a lot that you would take the time to address my concerns personally, and I hope that we can reach a mutually agreeable solution.
Since founding my company, I have invested significant time, financial resources, and creative energy in developing the Tenet brand to ensure my company’s growth and success. Due to the similarity of our logos, I am concerned that customers will mistakenly think that my products are related to the film or that I copied the logo even though I independently conceived it before the movie was announced. My biggest hurdle is that I cannot be present for every first impression with my brand, and I have already had experiences with people thinking that my brand is associated with the movie. It’s clear that you’re equally as passionate about your life’s work so I trust that you will understand my position.
I have a couple proposed solutions that would hopefully allow both of us to use the logo while mitigating the risk of confusion. First, in your email, you mentioned that you would be willing to stop using the logo since my use went public first. Rather than stop using your logo altogether, for future uses, would you be willing to simply use a different font or stylization that would make your logo more distinct from mine? Second, a short press release from you and Warner Bros. stating that the film and my brand are unrelated and that my use of the Tenet logo is independent from and preceded the announcement for the movie would help minimize customer confusion. The press release could be posted on our respective websites, and I would also send it to publications in the biking industry. I would be happy to put together a first draft for your review.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response. I am a longtime fan of your work and have a strong degree of respect for your creativity. I wish you the greatest success with this film, and hope our paths may cross one day.
All the best,
First and foremost, I want to mention that it means a lot that Mr. Nolan would take the time out of his busy life to personally address my concerns. I have the utmost respect for his work-- Nolan has written and directed some of my favorite films. But the honest truth is that I have a deeply vested interest in our reputation and I need to protect that. As much as I wish I could be, I can’t be present for every first impression. The reality is I can never know how many of my peers in the cycling community may come across my brand and form the opinion that we plagiarized the film, thus impacting our perceived integrity.
Over the last six months we have consistently had instances of confusion-- ranging from people mistaking our company vehicle as part of the film to asking where we bought our Tenet film merch while out and about in our brand shirts. One may think this sort of confusion is harmless, but if you read online articles that mention our brand you’ll find many comments insinuating that we have ripped off the film.
The stylization of our logo was intentional and is integral to our brand identity. As much as I wish that both entities could co-exist with shared stylization, reality has proven this is not possible. I again want to thank Mr. Nolan for contacting us and for his eagerness to make things right. It is truly a class act and makes me appreciate his work all the more.