Patterns in Design
May 21, 2004 at 10:41 PM
So there has been talk about quiet trends within the design community such as the use of shadows or the choice of commonly used colors, yours truly even wrote about the need for white padding around boxes. So surely we all know that inspiration feeds off of design, and often that inspiration comes from other sites or other things that contain some level of design. I guess the important thing to know is the difference between being inspired by a design concept vs. actually stealing someone's design itself. I wrote about this a long time ago but it still remains a gray area.
I think Cameron Moll has a good take on this. Nodes of design inspiration posits that there are "points of intersection in a layout in which a designer uses another source as reference for inspiration". Nodes of design inspiration Give this premise it is inevitable that patterns will emerge. The history of Art and Design is marked by "schools", particular practices, styles and trends. That being said, Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal encourages emulation (copying the inspiration) not plagiarism (copying the outcome). Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal And I think that is as good a guide as any, though probably still vague.
Great points, Andrew. I am sure if I had stuck around for Art History I would be more familiar with these concepts. In any case, I personally will refrain from ever using that last quote as the usage of the word "steal" often never insinuates something non-tangible like inspiration. Thus, I don't feel it encourages emulation, I feel it encourages outright theft. Digital Web Magazine has been a victim of outright theft more than 200 times, right down to the copyright statement and meta tags. Needless to say I have developed a rather effective method of dealing with designers who can't design for themselves.
Ethan has also made a great post on the issue at hand here. It's entitled Let's be reasonable and I couldn't agree more.
Speaking of using colours from popular websites, I've been decorating at home recently... My hallway (less than 20kb) Is this taking it too far? :)