Steal like an artist not an ass****
29 March 2017
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The Internet, supercharged by social media, has given humanity a consistent flow of inspiration. It is the work of a moment to immerse oneself in any genre and gain insights into almost anything.

On average, there are over 40 000 Google searches a second, 1.86 billion monthly active Facebook users and around 200 billion Tweets per year.

Never has information been so readily available or ideas so easily shared... And yet examples abound of bold thievery and complete disregard for the act of copyright and the art of ideation still exist.

Creativity is often defined as taking an existing idea and building on it to better the original. However, creativity is not about taking an existing idea and simply recycling it for your own gain.

Although it won't see anyone put behind bars, it does leave a rather sour taste in one's mouth to discover an idea that is merely a replica with zero effort expended to improve on the original concept.

A stroke of pure genius was demonstrated at this year's Design Indaba, when the Dutch duo, Lernert & Sander, 'forgave' all the copycats they had encountered over the years with a heartfelt email sung by some of Cape Town's best vocalists.

Were they a tad harsh? Not in my opinion - bearing in mind the current plethora of communication design that clearly displays a copycat approach. The term 'typographic' commercial immediately comes to mind...

Fast paced, upbeat, eye catching 'typographic' commercials were introduced to the world by Apple. But it was only a matter of time before the copycats pounced and brazenly attempted to replicate a visual style that was so brilliantly defined by Apple.

What is disheartening is the level of acceptance by us, the design community, when it comes to work that is clearly 'borrowed' and demonstrates a complete disregard for creativity.

As Brian Collins said when addressing the Design Indaba audience, creatives need to bring back "Insanely Great" and "Maximum F*&king Love" in our work... not "Minimal Viable Product".

Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves whether the shortcut is worth it in the long run. One thing is certain - the Internet makes it extremely difficult for copycat culprits to hide.

By Nick Schilperoort
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