Friday, 24 January 2014

Inspiration or Copying

This week, I was browsing on Pinterest and I had a look at one of my most popular invitation designs. 
I designed this for a friend from school in 2012. It's gone a bit mental on Pinterest which is super exciting - and I've even had people get in contact with me to design their 21st invitations as well. Now, while I was having a look at the people who had recently repinned it, another pin started appearing. This pin was a photo of an invitation that looked mostly the same as my one. A few of the fonts had changed but the layout, colours and graphics were definitely the same. Almost like they had copied my design, and just chopped and changed to fit their information.

I wasn't quite sure how to take it. Should I say something? Should I be annoyed? Should I be outraged?! This hadn't ever happened to me before and I wasn't entirely sure what to do. I went through his "Design Inspiration" board and found that he had previously pinned my original design, so there was no doubt in my mind that this was his version of my design. While I was looking through his board, I saw that he had done the same sort of thing - used wording and design from another person's invitation. 

I decided I would say something. I knew that it probably wouldn't amount to anything, but I felt like he needed to know that what he was doing, was wrong. 

"I'm flattered that you used my design. To me, being inspired is a little different to copying someone else's work. Maybe think about that next time you "design" something. As long as you aren't selling it as your own design, I think I can look past it. But just remember other people may not be so nice."

Of course I was flattered. To know that people liked my design enough to copy it, meant that I was doing something right. But, to me, this isn't what design is about. I'm not stupid. I realise that this is happening on a regular basis. I realise that I'm not the first person who has had their work copied. When I commented on that pin, I hoped that he would understand that I was trying to help him. You aren't going to get anywhere in the creative world if you are just duplicating other people's work. Work that other designers work really hard on. 

He commented back saying "thanks for the inspiration." That he had only really posted the pin for the photo. That his girlfriend really loved this design so he recreated it for her. 

Who knows if he took in what I said. Who knows if this will change the way he designs in the future. I feel better for saying it and all I can do is hope that he won't make the same mistakes again. 


  1. I would take it as a compliment =) .. Original people in this world are a rarity, and it happens with everything, we can't all afford louboutins so we buy knock offs from hannahs instead haha. It means you're excellent at you're job, you cant be popular without people envying what you do =) x

  2. Haha thanks Jackie! You are definitely right and it's certainly not something that will ever stop happening. Fingers crossed he takes my advice and tries to be a bit more original in the future x

  3. Oh Kate! You handled it in the best way possible. I want to write about my own experience with online copycats but it involves myspace and a scroll box. Weird. So I won't. Haha.

    But seriously girl, mad respect for you sticking up for yourself. WORD

    1. Oh thank you Ebony! Yeah it's definitely a common issue that hardly ever gets resolved :( I wasn't sure if I should write about it, but I think it's good to share things that get you down (and piss you off haha.) Thank you for the support! x

  4. Unfortunately there are plenty of people like that who will try and take the credit for others hard work. If more people followed the protocol of linking back the web would be a better place!

    1. Amanda, you are so right! Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to change overnight
      (or ever) but we can only hope that people start to think twice when posting/using other peoples work.