Picasso is well known for saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal”
Sadly it’s not true, Picasso didn’t actually say that. It was adapted from a T.S Eliot quote by Steve Jobs in 1988 when Apple sued Microsoft and HP for copyright infringements over similarities in their software.
Designers will often take influence from work done by others, inspiration can come in many forms but often designers will look to other creatives that they aspire to be like. Creativity is not something we’re all born with, so for many the only way is to research and find inspiration wherever we can.
Inspiration vs Imitation
Most designers and artists will begin their quest for originality by (ironically) reseaching other people’s ideas!
Admittedly, it’s important to have a good understanding of what ideas have already been created. For example: you wouldn’t want to be competing with a company in the same market/location with an identical brand – that would just be confusing (and embarrassing!)
Some sectors have very specific messages that can be conveyed with colours and fonts. For example blue in the medical industry conveys a clinical colour . Therefore, an easy approach to creating a new brand within this sector would be to simply use blue. Though this is based on market research, it could be argued that this is imitation rather than inspiration.
Designer’s complete research to ensure their work is better than what’s already been done. One technique is to look at various brands that are unsuccessful or isolated within a specific market to see what sets them apart and learn from previous errors.
We all absorb the thing that catches the eye. This foundation of advertising is true of all people – we’re influenced by the eye-catching, it draws us in.
The internet age has given rise to bedroom designers, a new league of DIY (Home Brew) creatives who are not deterred by the embarrassment of being a ‘copycat’. These ventures pop up over night, the temporary nature of them means that they are not restricted or deterred by legal warning, ethics or pride. Many of these firms will use industry terms, such as “Creative Designer” but will not have the experience or qualification, much less the inspiration to go alongside this title.
At the other end of the scale are huge multinational web firms, churning out digital solutions like a factory – with little thought or invention. No matter who the client is, they will use the same regurgitated, generic website theme, full of stock photos and devoid of creativity.
The combination of these two occurrences leaves creative web design professionals, such as us, scratching our head, wondering whether anyone has any original ideas anymore? A lot of research goes into design, getting a solid understanding of a brief and translating this into a something that engages with an audience and portrays the desired message.
When it hits home
The Logic Design brand has recently been the victim of a “Copy Cat” DIY designer, based just a few miles down the road. Whilst founding their company, they’ve chosen our logo to be their sole inspiration. Not only have they taken half our name, but they’ve taken the styling of our logo (half in white, half in orange) have used the exact same orange colour reference as us (#e6f70f) and and have even taken to colour switching the dots in the ‘i’s’ – exactly as in our brand.