Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Well, we’re flattered these guys felt compelled to launch their ode to the new site. Also, this brings up an interesting issue about mimicking other designs and when the design might be going too far beyond the line of acceptable imitation.
Dope Team’s new website for Counterstrike enthusiasts
Accelerate Media - The Design Sweetspot
Inspiration vs Imitation
The web is still a bit of a gray area in this regard. Sure we throw copyrights at the bottom, but no legal action has ever (to my knowledge) been taken to keep people accountable.
I’ve always been a big believer in looking to others for inspiration. Back in art classes, the teacher would have us review Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Rodin, Degas and the like. We’d then take a piece from our favorite artist and try to copy it exactly. I think only through those methods can you discover masterful methods of composition and artistic techniques that separate the good from the great. But, at some point, you should make that jump from imitation to creation.
Learning the Tools of the Trade
Mastering the techniques should provide you with the tools you need to explore your own style. I still look to people I consider great designers for inspiration. I’ll draw heavy inspiration from these designers in my own designs. But, by launch, you can bet the final design looks nothing like the designs that inspired it.
I’ve included a list of places I visit before getting into the design phase of our process. Hopefully it will serve as a good resource as you continue to grow into a great designer!
- Best Web Gallery - css and flash gallery site updated frequently
- The Best Designs - css and flash gallery site updated frequently
- Web Designer Wall - design articles and interviews with designers
- Smashing Magazine - tons and tons of great articles on design
- iStockphoto - cheap and extensive stock photos with great usability
- Stock.XCHNG - free stock photos
- Designer’s Toolbox - resource for web form images and such
- The Designer’s Lunchbox - great resource for repeating tile backgrounds
- What the Font? - find out the name of any font
- Hoefler & Frere-Jones - favorite type foundry
- House Industries - second favorite type foundry
All That Being Said…
I’m not here to bash people for crossing the line or anything. I actually considered throwing up the Photoshop document for anyone to download and dig through. I’m still open to that if anyone’s interested. But I’m more interested to hear other’s thoughts on how they go about getting inspiration for their designs.
1. Do you scour other sites for your inspiration?
2. Do you stay away from the computer entirely to make sure the designs you come up with are your own?
3. What sites have you seen that might be a little too close to another design?