Monday, October 19th 2015 Thoughts
At some point in your life, especially in such a digital age where we create new junk faster than we can process it, you’ve probably heard someone say something like… “Nothing is new anymore,” or, “there are no new ideas”. And it sure seems like it, doesn’t it? I mean… they remade Nightmare on Elm Street (seriously though, what were they thinking?)
Truth is, it’s kind of true. If you’re not curing cancer or doing something extraordinary (and even still…), chances are someone has done it before. So how come we’re not all being poked at and called thieves? How do we live with ourselves, getting away with our lives of dishonesty?
Well, we learned how to steal like professionals.
Most artists develop a style, and while that style in and of itself might be unique, the individual components within may not be. Take blog design for example.
I’ve designed plenty of blogs, but I didn’t come up with the typical blog/sidebar combo. Nor did I come up with the idea of a one column design with no sidebar, placing the sidebar content in the header/footer, or even something like reply button in the comments be aligned to the left of the comment and under the gravatar. Those things are pretty typically spread throughout blogs in general now though, but I would say the majority of people who design for blogs use them (minus the reply button location).
I’m also not the first person to include a flower in literally every aspect of a website (I’m obsessed, what can I say), or the first to use the color pink I did (#fdf1f1), probably even those two things at the same time, or a bajillion other design elements I’ve included in 100+ designs I’ve done over the years. No one is going around saying I stole their ideas because although in the grand scheme of things, they’ve been done, I’m redoing them in a way that unique within the style I’ve created for myself. They’re more me than they are anyone else.
Just like book reviews. If you take The Lord of the Ring books, or Harry Potter for example, they’re well known enough that realistically there have probably been tons of reviews that have said the same exact thing about them. The difference is the style the reviewer puts on it, their voice, and the way they write.
The same point can be made for games, or movies. How many movies can you name off the top of your head that have people with super human powers in them? Or story lines that follow a girl falling for a boy who ‘isn’t right for her,’ or an animated movie with talking animals.
Straight up lifting things off of someone’s site, be it photographs, business concepts, or the coding is called stealing, it’s wrong and you shouldn’t do it, I don’t care who you are or why you think your reason is legitimate.
But loving something so much that it makes you want to find a way to use it within your wheelhouse, and applying you to it, is called being inspired.
And that, my friends, is how you steal like a professional.