Design Copycats: Inspiration or Theft?

As I walked along Spadina, I stopped in my tracks when I came across this small travel agency called “ G.A.P. Adventures”. Their company logo almost identically resembled the M.A.C. Cosmetics logo, even having the periods in between the three letters. The only differences were that the spacing between the letters was wider and a line went below the word G.A.P. While this was perhaps a bit of inspiration, I feel a bit of plagiarism may also be involved in this case. It’s true it is difficult to reinvent the wheel since almost everything you think of or see these days has been done before. The art is to take the best of everything you see or hear and put it together to create a new piece of art and give it your own personal touch and style.

Another copycat scenario that a friend who lives in New York brought to my attention is the exact likeness between a TTC poster in Toronto and the MTA ( Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Although the TTC received permission from the MTA to use the same creative concept, it is very unoriginal on the TTC’s part. I find the whole structure and look of the design to be weak so why copy a poorly designed concept instead of strengthening it?? The two look almost identical, even having the same placement for the text and imagery. My friend, who had been in Toronto before, thought at first it was the same poster she had seen back home. However, upon closer inspection she noticed the small differences such as the statistics and the TTC logos at the bottom. The TTC poster states the source of the poster, written in very fine print and positioned at the bottom left of the poster. Yes the TTC got permission from MTA but it’s pretty pathetic that the TTC funds and licenses existing designs from other transit authorities instead of coming up with their own. I personally would rather they used someone else’s design (at a much lower cost to them) than paid someone else big bucks to say the same thing.

Can you find other places where you think something has been too closely copied from the original? Do you consider it to be an inspired or a stolen design?











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