No magic tricks – design requires talent and graft

Adrian Shaughnessy’s Private View (DW 7 October), describing the key difference between copying and original work, shines a realistic light on the subject. ‘It is acceptable to borrow from others as long as we make something new out of it. It is also vital to acknowledge our sources. Copyists never own up to it…’ says Shaughnessy.

When did we ever hear a major high street retailer say it borrowed ‘from Armani’, or a manufacturer say ‘taken apart so it is difficult to attribute to Philippe Starck’? When does a committed copyist that hijacks design to the Far East which re-emerges in Western markets as cheap lookalikes, say ‘stolen from the best in British design’?

But I disagree with Shaughnessy when he says there is little scope for originality. Most designers would say there is a whole creative world out there ready to grasp new ideas and run with them, as long as they’re not ripped off and the originator is rewarded/acknowledged.

One of Acid Lobby’s remits is to address the legal disparity between copyright owners and design right owners – it’s time to shout louder about the names behind design achievements. Design isn’t some magic dust sprinkled over new ideas and products. It is usually the result of hard graft, heavy investment and a creative talent that sets them apart from the copyists.

Dids Macdonald

Chief executive

Anti Copying In Design

London EC4R

Latest articles