Original ideas are becoming rarer – But design needs originality

I read a great post from my friend Brian Cray earlier today about how sloppy designers are becoming in their thinking when it comes to design. It’s a great read and you can see it here.

It got me thinking.

Last month I wrote a piece about Branding in a recession, which you can read here

Later that very same day, someone took the whole article and cut and pasted it into his own blog, which again, you can see here.

His thinking was soooo unoriginal, that he didn’t even bother changing the title. Yes he credited me for it, but does Google really know which is the original and which is the duplicated content that it will mark you down for in SEO terms?

The same happened to my mate Andy Henselman in one of his excellent Slideshare presentations. Here’s his original

and here’s the uncredited copy by some Albanian shyster.

I’m also a big fan of the work from the extraordinarily rude guys at COPY©UNTS. They have made it their business to uncover lazy ‘creative’ work where it has literally just been lifted from other peoples original thinking.

And to top it all, I was sent an SEO proposal from one of my clients today and it read slightly awkwardly. I didn’t believe it was original, so I cut and pasted a few strings from it, only to find it was ALL stolen from an educational site on the web about SEO strategy. Oops. I naturally told the client, so they won’t be getting any work, anytime soon.

For designers, SEO experts and anyone in a vaguely creative industry, you have to have original ideas. It’s the only barrier to entry we have in our imperfect worldwide market, where everyone has access to perfect information.

My business partner Mich Slack wrote a piece about this in response to the Glasgow Commonwealth games identity, which you can read here. But at least in that case, the designer had made some effort to change the overall look and feel.

It’s hard enough to retain credibility in this industry when your peers will undercut you for the price of a beer, but the sooner these people are kindly asked to leave it, or forced out by more discerning clients, the better.

Long live original thought, long live original design and long live clients who can tell the difference.