Currently: San Diego Native + UCSD Senior
Goal: San Francisco + User Experience Designer  


Good Artists copy, great Artists steal

I was given the task to create an infographic for a blog post called 'How to Build a Website that Converts." I have never created an infographic so this was a bit out of my comfort zone but I knew I had the skills to design this. I looked at previous infographics the designers had created for ParkerWhite and I also browsed through Pinterest to gather more design inspiration. Pinterest is a staple for me as a designer--along with Behance and Dribble which are other platforms where designers publish their work. I used to think that designers came up with their designs from scratch but I was wrong about that. One quote that I came across as I started my career in design were Picasso's famous words "Good Artists copy, great Artists steal." I don't particularly agree with the stealing aspect but I do agree with the copying part. Though I don't like using the word 'copy' because it has a negative connotation to it. I like to think of it is 'finding inspiration from others'. There was a great blog post written about this quote from 2003. Here are some highlights:

  • Copy don't create: Build upon the same foundation as other sites such as layout and information architecture. This will lead to an intuitive user journey and a familiarity for the user 
  • Steal from yourself: Build upon old designs you have created. Reinvent some of your work and keep iterating. You will eventually create your own personal design style.  
  • Find discrete sources: Trends always come and go. Sift through forgotten ideas, past designs, and old trends to create something that will make your designs unique.

To conclude, copying and stealing is used very loosely for this particular quote. My suggestion to others and for myself is to find inspiration from others but make the design unique to your particular style. It is essential for young designers to seek inspiration and to learn from mentors to be able to build a solid design foundation. But it is also important to use that time to create and shape your own design style. 

Melinda ChuComment