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Design plagiarism, like woah!


I’ve been doing my normal web hopping and came across a blog post by Studio Tundra. Their blog strives to bring creative inspiration to daily life. Isn’t that what we are trying to do in blog land?? Anyway, they were drawn to a project by two men who came up with a concept with milk in a can and graphically, their packaging was amazing and truly unique….or so we thought. Later, Studio Tundra was contacted by artist/designer who claimed the work you had fallen in love with was a direct copy of the work she had done and was asking the studio to remove this act of plagiarism. You can read more about what happened here, but the main point is that design and plagiarism is a tricky subject.

In the design world, it isn’t uncommon to take some pre-existing concept/design/pattern, etc and be inspired to create something like it that is your own. Unfortunately, hardly any new design ideas are 100% original. However, ¬†a good designer is able to take bits and pieces away from what they find inspiring and use aspects of that inspiration while creating an entirely new look, something they can confidently call their own piece of work.

The only reason I bring this issue to my blog is because I am a designer and face this issue on a daily basis. I’m constantly evaluating my work to make sure I have not committed design plagiarism. When you come across something that looks a little too familiar and smells fishy, it’s a bloggers job to point it out. Urban Outfitters and the whole jewelry debacle is a perfect example how bloggers have stood up again this mess.

3 comments on “Design plagiarism, like woah!

  1. I’ve been somewhat on the other side of this game where a client I had already agreed to do work for asked me to outright copy someone else’s wedding invitation design for them. When I agreed to the job the brief was quite different and I wasn’t going to be working on it for a while. Once it got closer to the time that I’d be working on it the client had then changed their mind and had found something that they thought was perfect for them (I didn’t like it and it wasn’t my style whatsoever) but as I had agreed to the job already I was somewhat forced to do it (I tried to back out of it multiple times). I tried changing the design by using different fonts, a bit of a different layout. But everything I changed (for the better imo) they asked me to change back to how it was in the original. It was a tough job! Needless to say it will never see the light of day regarding my portfolio and I in no way claim that design as my own. But it was a very tricky situation.

    Advice or thoughts on that?

    1. I appreciate hearing your story Danielle. I’ve never had that particular thing happen to me, but I have been forced to mimic old design files just for the sake of saving time. Like you…those will never see the light of day and I do not claim them as my own.

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