An Issue of Originality.


This problem crops up more than I'd like. If it were up to me, we'd all be special and unique in our own way and we'd all have our own expression. Alas, we do not live in what my friends call "my happy place", so there is a certain issue that must be addressed. The issue of similarity.

There have recently been a huge crop of blogs whose names, design, content, sometimes even code have been taken from Robin Blogs. Have you noticed any design blogs with blue backgrounds, floating headers with thick borders, and names similar to "Robin Blogs"? I bet you have, and I have too.

Okay. Before I go any further, I am not a particularly angry person. Not a lot makes me scream relating to Blogger. I can handle spammers and haters. I can handle rudeness. I can handle a lot.

But the one thing that makes me sick to my stomach is lack of originality.

And not even regarding myself. In fact, it bothers me just as much when I see a fellow blogger being copied as it does when I myself find my work strewn across cyberspace.

I usually email or comment on the blogs of these people and (as delicately as I can) try to explain what bothers me and how it effects both of us.

You see, most of these are graphic design blogs. Let's say we have a customer floating around — we'll call him Bob. Bob clicks on two different design blogs. One is Robin Blogs, and one is extremely similar to Robin Blogs. Bob doesn't know who copied who, so what does he do? He closes both windows because he thinks that both blogs are unoriginal, and he doesn't want to work with either designer. It's damaging for both parties.

It makes me feel sick because I really hate having to ask people to change something. It really does. It's an internal struggle for me. If you are one of the people I emailed regarding this issue, I apologize if I came across as rude or mean. I try not to. Truly.

The irony here is that graphic designers, by trade, need to be creative. So if you have a graphic design blog and you copy someone else... what does that say about your skill, honesty beside?

Once upon a time, I was forced to change the whole name of this blog because copycats were so rampant. Of course, that was a fairly naive gesture, as the whole thing happened again. My recent change of design? That was brought on partly by a wish for change, and partly because there was a steady flow of people doing the exactsamedesign.

I really can't understand the logic here. I really can't. Is it, Oh, she's pretty successful, if I have her same name and design maybe people will think I'm her? Is it influence, like, Hmmm, how do I name/design this blog, what do I like? Oh, I'll just do that same thing? Or is it something else? I'm at a loss. Please, please, please explain to me what on earth people think when they copy.

But there's only so much that can be a coincidence. Really. I spent an hour Googling "Robin Blogs" before I named this blog to make sure nobody else had the name. I spent even more hours in front of a blank sheet of paper puzzling out design. And it has taken literally years for me to get where I am code-wise. Thus, can you understand why it makes me want to cry when I see all that stolen away in one fell sweep.

I've accepted that some things are beyond my power, that I can't plead with every copycat to change. So this is a plea to everyone who has copied or has been thinking about copying. It is detrimental to both you and I. Please. Don't do it. You'll thank me later, I promise.