There are good reasons to find inspiration from other designer’s work. But inexperienced designers can miss the inherent danger.
First, copying a design is copyright infringement. It’s not an ethical practice unless you are learning design on a personal basis — not for public consumption, nor claiming it as your own.
Second, it’s lazy. In fact, you aren’t really solving the visual problem as much as copying some cool effects. It might be fine for personal satisfaction, but it’s not helping your creativity.
The best approach to appropriately find and use inspiration is to:
- Spend time collecting inspiration first. Once you organize them, they become a rich visual library. And you will begin to unconsciously store up ideas in your mind.
- Break down designs, which seem to answer your particular problem, into their component parts. Dig a little to understand why each element does the job successfully. Then choose those elements which solve your particular problem. Avoid imitating what you think is cool. It’s not about what you like; it’s about creatively solving your client’s problem.
- Remember that the elements are not the solution. They are only a part of the solution. Many times each element must combine with other elements to make the design a creative success. Spend time making the solution unique to your design problem.
Following are a few articles on the subject:
Logo Copyrights and Wrongs: 5 Interesting Recent(2011) Infringement Lawsuits
5 Famous Copyright Infringement Cases
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