The Difference between Inspired and Copied Design

Where does one draw the line between ‘inspired by’ and ‘copied from’? As a design agency we have to address this issue on a day to day basis.

Whether it is the design of a website, mobile application, or branding material, the challenge is to stay original. So, how do we identify what falls under the bracket of inspiration and what is a total rip off? Let’s understand this better.

1.Is it okay to copy? Yes and No. When one is in the process of learning, it is okay to copy from something you love or an artist you admire. Copying is the part of the process of how art evolves. To understand your craft better, it is a good way to start by copying your master and simultaneously learning from the experience. So as long as you are learning, it is okay to copy but what is unethical is to pass off that work as your own creation. This is where Copyright Law came into place – to protect authenticity!

2.Inspired Not Copied : Every designer will relate to the feeling of getting inspired by something and wanting to recreate it in their own style; with the lingering fear of copying it completely. It is a dilemma that most design agency folks go through. So, how do we stay inspired without compromising on originality? By being observant and by asking ourselves the right questions. Why did you get inspired by a design? What is the core essence of the design? Is it a combination of two contrasting shades or is it the use of certain shapes? The answer to these questions will finally lead to what exactly you love and help evolve your own style! Another way to stay original is to draw inspiration from different walks of life. If you are designing a website, instead of taking inspiration from another website, take inspiration from the hardware industry. If you are designing the UX of an App, take inspiration from nature. This way you are getting inspired yet your creation is far from being copied!

3.The final verdict : Therefore, it is right to say that the line between copy and inspiration is very fine. However, the best way to stay away from copying is to step back, take a good look at your creation and compare it with the source of inspiration. Your heart will always know whether you are on the wrong side or right!

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