Has anyone ever copied one of your designs?
Has anyone every copied one of your designs – and if so what have you done about it?
‘Once, while working with Villeroy & Boch on a huge bathroom range in 2003, Alessi launched a similar looking range just months before our planned launch. Much paranoia ensued regarding who copied who, but in reality we were both reacting against the same generic-geometric trend. This is a surprisingly common occurrence. Some of the work we did for Mothercare was very “influential” to some competitors. However the “most blatant copy” award goes to company that apparently had intentionally ripped off the Anywayup toddler cup we designed for Mandy Haberman - she courageously pursued them at huge personal cost and eventually they relented and paid up on the court steps.’
Sebastian Conran, founder, Sebastian Conran Associates
‘A student once copied a design of mine verbatim. Every single word barring the name (which they naturally changed to theirs) was set exactly as it was in the original piece. Same typeface, colours, the lot. Best thing was they came to see me for feedback on it. Alas, there’s no point getting caught up in it, it’s how we all learn, isn’t it? It’s like I always say, good artists copy, great artists steal.’
Craig Oldham, creative director and founder, The Office of Craig Oldham
‘Last year we created an interactive table for the new Denim Studio at Selfridges. The table enabled customers to look through the full range of womenswear denim, browse images and movies, create and email a wish-list, and post to Facebook and Twitter. We also created six stop-frame animations with tips on how to find your perfect fit, which appeared on the table and on the Selfridges website. Around two months after launch, another major retailer launched a Denim Department also with stop-frame animated movies online that were identical in look and feel. We informed our client and they looked into legal proceedings. At first I was annoyed, but also strangely flattered as it was the first time we had been directly copied in such a way. We have often been asked by clients to copy other designer’s work, usually stuff they’ve seen in Minority Report or the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but we are proud of our ethical policy at Kin and do what we can to educate our clients that striving for originality is key. Don’t replicate… innovate (but if anyone out there has managed to replicate the R2D2 Princess Leia holographic projection - and I mean replicated it properly - then I’d love to see it :).’
Kevin Palmer, co-founder, Kin Design
Source: © Mark Cocksedge
‘We have been copied on numerous occassions. The first time I was indignant - we now have a good lawyer. Plagiarists have ranged from local designers to people on the other side of the world and even the occasional client, which is weird to say the least. Life is too short in most cases to feel more than mild irritation and in general the biggest loss is to the person doing the copying in terms of credibility. We might add a most-copied section to our website just for fun!’
Luke Pearson, co-founder, PearsonLloyd