Copying vs. Inspiring
Do not copy
This morning, I read an article written by Kerstin Martin, a German Squarespace designer living and working in America.
Her integrity always impresses me, and I recommend her article to you.
For me, as a designer, I have that problem daily: should I post my ideas, should I not. How to guard them. As they make my living, I feel very much in a bias: without showing what I do, people won’t take my lessons. Or only those, who absolutely believe in me and my quality. In nowadays youtubeworld, there is no other chance than to show what you are doing. And what I teach in my lessons, is then owned by my students, no problem. And of course, each designer is influenced by the design world itself, can’t be denied, it is even beautiful to share one world, to thrive on the same vibes and trends and waves, it is also beautiful to get inspired and to inspire, but copying is something different.
What I want to suggest:
This way, we will all be happy. It is damaging to the core of a designer, if his or her color theories, words, thoughts, systems, physical things, are copied without permission!
Now permission is a strong word and design is free, I know. So, what about “friendly asking for consent” or at least let the creator know, to give them a chance to be a part. Or at very least, just mention them, humbly and friendly. If we mention each other, we are on a team. We can praise and raise each other, by being humble and decent.
I personally am still very much battling with a comment I got years ago, finding copies of my core work:
”if 1 stem of a flower is arranged differently, one word pronounced differently, it is not your design, not your thought anymore”.
Really? Legally, that’s right, as defined in the rules for copyrights on mechanical details, but as a heart-minded person, that hurts. “Ouch”, I thought. It still hurts. So, was that necessary? Was that meaningful? Did it work out into something good? No. It did not. A relationship broke over that. So, the answer for me clearly is: “No, copying is never worth it”. It is obviously not a good way. It also prevents the “copier” from developing his own identity!
And legally, it is not completely right: “patchwriting” describes the tactic of shuffling and rearranging or renaming parts of another person’s work, it is considered as a way to escape the responsibility, a way to copy while trying to wipe off the traces.
To find out, if something is a copy: just watch your feelings: if it feels good and ok, then enjoy to be an influencer. To see your work expand and grow in others works.
If it does not feel good, if it twists your stomach, makes you feel bad, you might discover that it is mostly based on the grade of “obviousity”: the amount is too big, the frame is too visible. Trust your gut. If it feels twisted, it got twisted. Don’t try to convince yourself to be generous, to just get over it, to not blow a mouse into an elephant. Stay with your right of origin.
Is it that difficult to quote your sources? To give gratitude to the person who influenced you?
I don’t think so!!
I think, it is so beautiful to quote!
It connects you to anchestors, to followers, to your neighbour, to your colleague, to your partner. It contains respect and it will render respect! THE base for any relationship! Yes, it is that important. At least to me.
My gratitude today goes to Kerstin Martin to help me think and feel assured about the mumbles and grumbles in my chest and how to solve them.