Copying VS. Inspired: Creating a Brand Identity

The world is full of inspiration, its what helps us stay creative and come up with new ideas.

When making items for your shop or coming up with a brand identity for your business or blog its important to really know where the fine line between "inspiration" and "copying" come into play.

Being a graphic designer I see it from every angle. As a designer I see my work being copied and it really breaks me heart. 9 times out of 10 the person copying me really didn't mean no harm and just thought they were being "inspired" by me, when I of course make note of how they point blank stole my artwork they then see where I am coming from and most often are very willing to take down the art in question. It's usually followed up with an apology from them and then we go hold hands and frolic in some meadow somewhere. It's kinda magical.

I also see "copying" on the other side of things too, when dealing with a client I'll sometimes get someone send me another person's logo or design work followed by "I want my logo to look JUST like this"
Unfortunately I can not make your logo look JUST like that. It's not fair to the artist who created it and its not fair to the current owner of that logo whose shop is being identified with it. I can be inspired by it, but I can never ever point blank duplicate it.

Some people have a hard time understanding this, and I can see why. You see your friend wearing a super cute gray sweater with orange heart patches on the elbows, you ask her where she got it, then you go to the store and get the same exact sweater.

But designing a brand identity for yourself (or coming up with products for your shop) is a lot different than just buying the same mass produced sweater that your friend has.

The items in your shop or the logo for your blog is your finger print. It is is unique to you. When you go and copy piece by piece another artist's creation you are hurting both people, yourself and them. You are taking someone else's hard work, someone else's design and just "recycling" it for yourself.
When this person finds out they will be hurt, mad and confused. You should never ever steal another artist's ideas, the reason why we are all doing what we do isn't JUST for "The money", its also to let our customers and friends see a little peek of what makes us different, what makes us stand out from the rest.

I designed this logo for Jessica N Designs recently. I want to show you the difference between being "inspired' by her logo and "copying" her logo (by the way, these examples are designed by me, they were not found on cyber web land :) )

See how for inspiration logo for "Leonora Lee Photography and Design" I used some of the flower elements and the script font concept for the tag line? Yet you see these 2 logos and they still look different. Jessica N Designs and Leonora Lee Photography have their own brand identity and their own "fingerprint". Simply changing some colors around and changing a font doesn't get you off the "copying" hook, you are still stealing the artist's concept and design integrity.

This concept also carries over for when you design items for your shop. There is nothing wrong with being inspired, just don't ever ever copy. You wouldn't like it if it was done to you, right?

Basically, when coming up with a brand identity for your shop, make sure to make it unique to you.