Lately, I’ve had more of an urge to surf the net for some design inspiration, rather than talk about design on my blog. I’ve been frequenting StyleGala and various other CSS showcase sites; like CSS Beauty, CSS Import, CSS Thesis and CSS Drive. That’s a lot of great site designs to look through! Hence the lack of posts.
Interestingly, over on Damien’s site, some fella, called Luis Garcia, found the Coda design quite inspirational, and decided to steal the design. Not copy parts of it, he stole everything! Check it out for yourself.
This got me thinking. All web designer’s copy some design aspect from other designer’s websites, even if they don’t know it, they probably have. Some guy half way across the world has probably designed a very similar website, using very similar colours, very similar imagery, and very similar fonts.
There’s a great article over on Sitepoint, written by Cameron Moll, a well-known web designer, called “Good designer’s copy, great designer’s steal“. In this article, Moll tries to dissect what Pablo Picasso meant when saying, “Good artist’s copy, great artist’s steal”.
Most designers spend a considerable amount of time surfing the internet for great designs to learn from, and influence their own work. That’s not a crime. Gerry McGovern, a web copywriting guru that I have referenced a little lower writes, “There’s a positive side effect to copying: conventionality. Building on the same foundation as other sites — specifically, layout and information architecture — often leads to intuitiveness and familiarity for the end user.”
Any designer would be quite chuffed, knowing their design is inspirational, and is influencing others designs. The keyword is inspirational though.
Where is the line? Obviously, Luis Garcia has crossed it. Why? Because his site design is blatant plagiarism.
Advice for Luis: copy the inspiration, not the outcome.