How similar is too similar?

Posted by on Sep 17, 2010 in Some thoughts | One Comment

I think it’s fair to say that sometimes website designers use other websites to ‘inspire’ them, but when does a design become too similar and what do you do about it if something’s a bit nicked?

I really like what Tim Van Damme did to combat the idea with his ‘Wall of shame‘ and equally cool (although perhaps a little self-promotiony) his ‘Wall of fame‘, but what about us 3rd party witnesses of these creative-crimes?  I don’t really have an answer, but I do have the example below which was my reason for asking the question.  Maybe someone out there will have something more quantitative to add.

The website below is one of my favourites at the moment, and whilst I’ll probably never go to any of their shops or restaurants, I would love to shake the hand of the web designer who came up with this site as it is a work of genius.

This next website, which I do think has some nice touches, is a bit too similar for my liking. It seems to take a perfectly executed idea, layout and texture-style and rips it off just a weeny bit too much.  I don’t want to moan, but seeing that just makes me a bit sad.  I am happy to use a template site for a client or to get some serve another purpose, but I pay for it, and somehow I think the designers of this site should have done the same by way of credit at least.

Anyway, if you feel like reading something much more considered and well written, Owen Shifflett has done a good job of taking this point a lot further in ‘Consumption: How Inspiration Killed, Then Ate, Creativity‘, where he’s questioning the very notion of Creativity itself.  This article is well worth a read.

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