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.

Blogging and brand values

There seems to be a lot of blogging going on a Purple Circle at the moment and it’s all to do with some of our own brand values – being passionate and actually daring to have an opinion.

One of our problems with research has always been that it is often used as a tool to hide behind and not as a platform to launch something bold, innovative and different – That’s why we’ll be talking about Purple Circle Brand Insight that we’ll be launching in a few weeks.

So at Purple Circle, we have always encouraged people to say what they think, because it’s the right thing to do, and not necessarily because it’s always the right thing to say. This makes some clients feel uncomfortable but makes others far more comfortable in the knowledge they are paying for (and getting) honest answers and not a bunch of flannel from yes men/women.

So Michael Slack has started his own blog at www.michslack.co.uk about branding and business, with his first piece being about brand layering, which you can read here.


Michael Slack's Blog at http://michslack.co.uk
Michael Slack's Blog at http://michslack.co.uk

Abi Jackson will be writing about more esoteric design stuff in her blog called Pretty Damn Fine with her first piece being about Sanderson designs, you can read that here.


Abi Jackson's Pretty Damn Fine Blog at http://prettydamnfine.co.uk/
Abi Jackson's Pretty Damn Fine Blog at http://prettydamnfine.co.uk/

So why all the blogging?

Well, simple really. Our clients are asking about how they can get a more clear personality online, about how they can work more cleverly within the social media environments, so what better way to advise than practice what we preach in order to understand it more fully ourselves.

Oh, and that’s not far from another of our brand values either.