On My Mind : Copycats

1_BE-A-VOICE-on-copycats I've been surrounded by talk of copycats lately - designs that are too 'inspired-by' and designers that didn't even bother to change the names used in the original design.

One member of a Facebook group I belong to explained that she was a relatively new designer, and asked for sources & suppliers to help her make invitations for her client who really liked a specific invitation from another designer but (I suspect) didn't want to pay the price the designer was asking.  The chosen invitations were gorgeous and very unique.  I (along with a number of others) suggested that if her client likes these specific invitations she should give the original designer the credit she deserves and order directly from her.  The young designer noted her agreement with the suggestion but added that it was what her client was looking for and that "as Designers, we don't have to agree, we just have to serve the client".  I could not disagree with this statement more.  As Professionals it is as much our job to educate the client as it is to simply serve them.  Often this involves telling clients that no, I cannot recreate XYZ design for them and that to do so would violate the copyright of the original designer.

I'm not suggesting I'm the perfect model of integrity - like many young designers I created a design or two that were much too inspired at the start of my business.  Although embarrassed, I'm also grateful for the experience and I hardly think I'm alone in that error.  It is something I see often with younger designers, and most (like I) were unknowing of the offense and choose to learn & grow from the situation.  I have no issues with these single-time offenders, they are often ashamed and remove the offending design immediately, with a resolve to create original work in the future.   Not everyone, however, is so honest.  When I see 'designers' who continue to recreate the work of others in an attempt to pass it off as their own, knowing full well that what they are doing is wrong and unethical, I get incredibly saddened by their dishonesty.

The design world, especially a niche like invitation design, is much smaller than you can imagine and there are eyes everywhere.  Yes, the original creator might not happen across your 'inspired' design, but chances are good that one of their 200 designer friends will.  So lets all agree to create new ideas and to be a voice, not an echo.

If you'd like a 5x7 copy of the print shown above you can download it here for free.