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Is copying the greatest form of flattery?

WBR t-shirt design

The Winter of 2009 gave birth the new WBR collection. This collection was a little bit different to the rest as the designs were sublimated onto fitted rugby shirts. As the designs were dyed directly into the shirts we were able to utilise the whole shirt rather than just the front.

Bali Sharks t-shirt designWellington Warriors t-shirt designQueens Town Knights t-shirt design

We created three very different shirts, all of which the client and ourselves were very pleased with. Since 2009 the shirts have sold well and they have received some excellent comments. One shirt stood out the most, this was the Bali Shark shirt, the gradients, shapes and colours were just wild and Lovell Rugby customers loved it!

Bali Sharks WBR t-shirt design

They obviously weren’t the only ones, I was recently sent this image taken from a competitors website:

WBR Winter 09 Design Rip Off

It is a clear and obvious rip off from our original design, but without the pizaz or wow – it’s just a poorer version. Now, I believe that when someone blatantly copies something they never really capture the soul or essence of the piece as they didn’t go through the all important process. The client isn’t worried about the copy nor am I as they won’t affect the sales of the original so we won’t be taking any legal action. As far as I am concerned copy is the greatest form of flattery – even if done badly.

But what do you think? Has anyone ever copied one of your designs? How did you feel? Did you take action?

Posted by Lu

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Posted on Thursday, April 28th, 2011 at 9:18 am
Posted In Graphic Design, T-shirt / Clothing design | Tags: , ,

4 Responses to “Is copying the greatest form of flattery?”

  • Shauni says:

    Oh it just makes me SEETHE. You are being very mature and kind but…. It’s happened to me all throughout school and I have never been able to take it as flattery enough to soothe myself. It’s just a pathetic thing to do and there’s such thing as taking inspiration like every artist in the world, and then there’s ripping-off. It needs to be discouraged! Your hard work has been blatantly copied by some idiot who probably is giving themselves a pat on the back right now. Grrr!!!!
    (Gorgeous designs, by the way!) x

  • Anthony says:

    How obvious a copy is that!

  • A business phoned us a while ago and said that a design and print agency (emphasis on print) had design him a new website, but he was concerned to find that the design was a straight copy of a site we had done a couple of years ago.

    He asked us if we minded and we said that copying is indeed a form of flattery.

    How did it make me feel, well on one hand I thought cheeky little blighters and on the other hand flattered. It was obvious our design was out there before, so anyone finding both sites would now the agency had copied it and I cannot image that would look too great.

    PS. T-shirt designs are great and as you say the copies are just that :-)

  • Lu says:

    Hi Shauni – We are being very mature and kind aren’t we? We should really take action as the ‘designer’ who is ripping us off will never learn and needs a slap on the wrist really. Never mind, they’ll get caught eventually.

    Hi Anthony – Very. It is a very obvious copy.

    Hi Charlie – What an honest and open individual, unlike the design agency he commissioned for the site. I think we seem to sing from the same hymn sheet. Copying is a form of flattery and if users can see your site was designed first then it’s blatant you were copied and you should be held in even higher esteem!

    Thanks for stopping by!

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