28 May 2006

[design, web_design, ethics] designplagiarized

Stumbled on this wonder today, tripping upon the witty and wittily-designed (and magnificently-executed) design chronicle pull to inflate.

It has developed that a design firm calling itself "designinspired" put up a website that was rather well designed. It couldn't help but be; it apparently was lifted, right down to the CSS and the copy text, from the Duo Consulting website. Read Adam Howitt's account of the theft here, complete with damning evidence.

I occaisionally think of having to be creative on demand–it is rewarding but also wearing just a little bit. Nicking a design concept here and an idea there sometimes is damned tempting, but this, as I've said to someone recently, is one reason why we thumbnail, thumbnail, thumbnail.

Anyway! Some people can copy just a little bit and it becomes inspiration, because you use what you've seen to create something that is inspired but different. But what do we make of someone who's so short on an idea that they simply lift a complete design from someone else, then put it up on the web, thinking nobody would notice? Quark, Inc. learned this one the hard way.

Seriously. I'm still scratching my head on this one.

Exculpatorily speaking, the design firm in question has taken down the website and issued an apology for the theft (realizing that the chief export of Chuck Norris is pain. Nobody has checked with Vin Diesel to find his feelings but I'd bet he'd be similarly moved). All that remains at http://www.designinspire.com is a "coming soon" card:

Now, that just seems familiar...where have I seen that before...

Naaah. Maybe it's just me seeing this...

Postscript: Brady J. Frey, proprietor of pull to inflate, makes two cogent points which rather stand on thier own. Firstly:
If you’re a client or potential client of Design Inspired, I’d ask yourself this: If a company will rip it’s own designs from other designers, how unique will your product be from them? What exactly are you paying for then?
This comment stands on its own, and touches on the subject of originality that I myself have been exploring lately. Then, wittily:
Maybe it’s just me, but when I see the term ‘inspired’ within a design companies title, I almost always become suspicious — it’s akin to a car sales man asking me to trust him… if you have to showcase the meaning, you’re aware the fact you’re blatantly lacking within that very description.
No, it's not just you. It's kind of like that unwritten rule that anytime a rock'n'roll song or album actually includes the term rock'n'roll in its title, then you just know it's trying too hard.


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