Design + Copy = Bad?

Interesting article on design and the act of plagiarism on Design Observer

In the end, accusations of plagiarism are notoriously subjective, and some people who have seen my piece and Kunz’s side by side have said they’re quite different. You can judge for yourself. All I know for certain is that I felt a powerful sense of unease when I turned to page 476 in A History of Graphic Design. That alone compels me to offer Willi Kunz an apology. I just wish for both our sakes that I had a $500,000 advance to offer him as well.

Its a strange concept for me. Unlike in Fine Art where copying is practically de rigueur, music, writing, and graphic design views copying as akin to the eighth deadly sin.

In painting, copying masters work is seen as essential in honing ones skills. Further, referencing other works is core to the way a lot of art functions.

In a post-modern sense I can’t see how one could get away with creating anything without referencing others. Infact I would argue that its impossible to create anything truly original. Evolution doesn’t work that way and as products of evolution nor do we. Feedback loops are essential in pretty much most processes. This (commercially driven) issue with plagiarism seems to expect that output must be achieved without input. Pretty ambitious stuff, hey why not follow it up with perpetual motion after lunch and then maybe cold fusion before tea-time.

I understand that copying like for like should not be encouraged, especially if the person doing the copying is benefiting monetarily. But to expect design to follow the immaculate conception model is just wrong.

You cant design

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