I'm a creative director at Laughing Samurai. I bark orders. Sometimes people listen. Sometimes they don't. When they play nice, I pay with pizza. And sometimes with Nachos. Hell, sometimes even Beer. Wanna work with me? Let's do this.

The case for originality.

Lets face it. Design is borrowing. You can cry rules of balance and negative space all you want, but at the end of the day, it really is just borrowing. We take inspiration from one thing, and apply some of it to another. A very high level copy/paste if you will. Now, don’t pull your hair out Sally, let me explain.

Ideas are created from our experiences. The kid who dropped his churro in front of you. The dirty joke you got from that “inner circle” chain mail you “love”. The way the sun reflects on that flash drive sitting on your desk. All these random and seemingly disconnected stimuli gather in your brain for this super trippy electro-chemical fertility dance that somehow, by some act of what I can only describe as pure wizardry, birth an idea.

But there is a fine line between inspiration, and straight copying. And spare me the whole “ultimate form of flattery” crap. It ain’t flattering to see your design plastered all over a brand, especially when the lint in your pocket isn’t hanging out with a roll of cash. Being copied sucks. As creatives, we’ve got to have the common sense to know the difference between copying and drawing inspiration from something existing. Copying for the sake of riding the coat-tails of an idea that was highly successful is as smart as jumping on a trampoline – seems like a great idea until you’re flying head first to the ground from 15 feet in the air. I mean, how many “Got Milk?” inspired campaigns, (see Brand Strategy: Does it pay to be original?), or “iThings” can we really take until we realize “What the fuck!?”.

Get inspired. Go create. Be original.