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With a new launch of holiday cards there is a whole new batch of copycat designs out there ...
http://jamieschultzdesigns.com/shop/detail.php?c=Holiday&p=159 photo/design #4
holy moly, that last one is a dead ringer. Did you contact Minted?
That's a shame Ashley. I just came across another one... it's so hard to tell if it's just coincidental or flat out copying. I think this one is just too much of a coincidence...
sigh... and again
wow- are all those from the same etsy shop? that's blatant to me...
Ick... I hate doing this but this is a blatant knock-off of Meg's lovely design I just came across.
@ Jackie - I didn't realize it, but yes
@ Paige...that knock off is as blatant as the knock offs of your fireflies invite. Really disheartening.
I HATE ETSY! I used to like it a couple years ago but now it kinda makes me sick. Etsy came across as a company who would represent small art studios and independent artisans. Well it must be more about the money because they don't seem to be in a hurry to kick out or restrict people who are blatantly violating copyright laws in a number of ways. Not only are there tons of total knock-offs, but people using copyrighted logos and images all over the place too. It has pretty much ruined the whole etsy concept for me.
@ jill, yes yes yes. Etsy seems to be the place for to rip people off and make a quick buck (if there can sell anything at all)
WHY aren't they embarrassed of their lame attempts to copy another designers design and try and sell it.
When I was teaching, I would tell my students that the worst thing they can do is design in a vacuum - meaning go out and see what other designers are doing in magazines, fabric, advertising, etc and make yours different. It's OK to be inspired by something that you've seen, but NOT OK to blatantly copy. I have always been a fan of etsy, but I am not surprised by the ripping off of material at all. They are out to make a buck. [Minted designers do it as well and win awards, which I find incredible too.] But I do think at the very least Minted should have copyright info on every single page of their site content with a warning.
@Jackie - I did contact Minted. I just wanted to give people a heads up so they can be on the lookout as well. 'Tis the season to copy!
just saw this - what are the odds!! It has to be coincidence.
I don't want to be stirring the pot here, but I think we need to be careful about jumping to "copying" so fast. When you take a category like the holidays there are going to be similar ideas and concepts out there. Loads of snowflakes, reindeer, hand drawn type, whatever. Some instances are obvious knock offs and you know it when you see it, but others are most likely coincidence. I guess I'm sensitive about it because 3 years ago I did a "snowflake frame" design similar to Stacey Day's winning design. It was before I had ever seen Minted or Stacey's design. I know we both came up with the design independently, but I was so PARANOID last year that minties would see my design and think I copied hers. I've actually seen the "fa la la la" concept years before Amy's design from this year. Not done exactly the same of course and I love the way Amy used the simple type on a full bleed photo, but it's a well-known holiday song phrase and I've seen it used before. I highly doubt Starbucks was influenced by Minted. If you look at how many similar floral designs were in the recent Wedding Challenge, it's evident that certain popular elements, layouts and even typefaces are going to be used similarly by different designers who did not copy. So even though it's great that we all got each others' backs protecting the work (I do report to etsy when I see blatant rip offs) sometimes you have to give people the benefit of the doubt.
OK so the last one there with the falalala I really really doubt that starbucks copied or was inspired by one of minteds card. Plus for a company that large to have a product
printed shipped and ready for sale it takes several months for the design to be approved.
Sometimes its very ovious that someone has copied a minted design.
But you have to think it's also possible for a minted designer to copy / be inspired from other designers. So yes what Jill just said makes alot of sense.
sorry to have posted that and offend people. not my intentions.
I agree with you, Jill and Moe. There are so many design trends artists are following-- hand drawn type, folky styles, background textures--especially for the seasonal products, that they are bound to look like one another. Totally agree about the florals, too, and since we have to stick to a type list for our designs, you can't help but have type styles that repeat as well. And once designers see what wins, they often start to skew their designs in that direction. Sometimes it's hard to tell one designer from another. Blatant copyright infringement on any site, though, in my opinion, should be addressed and the design taken down, whether it's on this site or another.
I totally agree with Jill and Samantha. There are definitely those that simply rip off other people's work, which is not cool at all. But I had a similar experience to Jill during the children's stationery challenge. I used a wreath and initial that I'd designed months ago for a friend's little girl. Luckily it didn't make the cut because it's very similar to one that Minted already had for sale (cringe–totally embarrassed once I realized that). So while I think we should definitely call out blatant plagiarism (Paige's example is a great one), I also don't think we should be paranoid to the point of stifling our own creativity. And full disclosure, I have a small Etsy shop and have had a good experience with them so far. Though I would be pretty ticked off if Etsy didn't do anything about blatant copyright infringement. Will have to keep my eye out!
I also agree with Jill, and have also had things that I've designed totally independently that resemble something else out there. In fact, my holiday cards are very similar to something I've recently seen somewhere else. I thought about not sending the card, and then I decided that I had spent way too much time and was too proud of it to just scrap the whole thing.
These things definitely happen, as there is so little out there that is really "unique". However, there are also blantant copying instances where I think people are offering almost identicle designs at a fraction of the cost...reminds me of Canal Street for stationery!
Oh, and I also have an Etsy shop....I love my little shop and have so far had a good experience. I generally find that by pricing right and sticking with my gut, I am able to weed out some people that might not be around for the right reason (people that ask for editable files, with no watermarks or branding, and oh, can they see the file before they purchase it???).
OK, I'm guilty of being influenced by other designers (unintentionally), but influenced none the less. I've been doing a lot of reading about inspiration, imitation, and direct rip offs and thought I'd share this great blog post by Jessica Hische (who I'm sure has seen more than her fair share of copying.) It's worth a read when you have time.
While there are so many designs out there that resemble previous executions of a similar style, type, etc., but that being said, I'll have to agree that this is not always intentional.
I have been accused of copying someone because of the fact that I had a Big Cartel store set up (one of two default templates) with diagonal stripes in the background. I had literally spent a total of five minutes setting it up one day, using really subtle design elements that were consistent with the rest of my brand for the overall look. In less than a week, I received a nasty email from another designer stating that I had ripped off her style. It was not only completely off the mark, but I felt offended that someone else was claiming to be the inventor of the diagonal stripe. I reassured this unsaid person that the short minutes spent customizing a default template were not intended to make her feel threatened or to copy anything. She actually ended up being really embarrassed and sent over a lengthy apology for jumping to conclusions.
Since then, we've both customized our sites quite a bit, which helps eliminate this problem altogether.
As a big believer that less is more when it comes to design, I think we should realize that after being taught similar principles and techniques, it is really common for two or more artists to unintentionally create a similar design. Rip-off designs are a totally different category, but I don't think the Starbucks mug had anything to do with Amy's beautiful design. Both are simple and successful in their own right, and who knows....some of the so-called "copycats" might have created their concepts long before the similar designs ever made their way to Minted's site.
I think these examples can be used as an opportunity for all of us to push the limit when it comes to creativity. If we draw type and/or illustrations by hand, it makes it a lot more difficult for other designers to replicate a design!
On a more lighthearted note, the song "Copycat" by The Cranberries just came on while I was reading through this discussion. It's referring to musicians, but I still found it to be pretty hilarious/ironic!
@Peaceable - no offense at all... it brought up a great discussion!
@Ann - superb article. Seems like it should be required reading for all designers ;)
I agree - great article, Ann! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing, Ann! The point that really resonates with me is the bit about diversifying your sources of inspiration. I think this is so important. While I do read plenty of design blogs, lately I've been trying to branch out a little bit. And I think just getting away from your computer and drawing inspiration from being out and about in the real world is crucial, too (though I'll be the first to admit that this is getting harder and harder with technology constantly at our fingertips).
It reminds me of when a song would come on the radio during one of my classes that was a remake of a song from 20 years ago and one of my students would say, "This is SUCH an awesome song!" and I'd say, yes, So and So got a Grammy for it in XYZ year and they would look at me in amazement. It's true everything old is new again, [look at all the movie remakes out there], but it's up to us to keep things fresh and stay inspired without having to resort to copying. And with all the talented designers in this community, that shouldn't be any too hard. Really enjoyed the Jessica Hische site. Thanks for posting Ann.
Anne, thanks for the Jessica Hische link; great words of wisdom!
Back to Ashley's original post, I think you (in general... not specifically you, Ashley) have to be very careful about calling out a copycat. My first thought seeing those chalkboard style cards were these that have been ALL over Pinterest.
And I like having my little shop on Etsy, but I cannot scroll through the other work on there. It just angers me to no end to see all the Sesame Street, Disney, Yo Gabba Gabba, etc. rip offs in addition to the blatant knock offs (not to mention some of the AWFUL design - if you can even call it that - out there). I think what grinds my gears the most is just how much money people are making off it too!
@Lea, believe me, I know that the chalkboard trend is everywhere right now and I saw Dana Tanamachi's work a long, long time ago. I'm not claiming that was an original thought on my part. My issue was the consistent use of the same copy and layout details, specifically the angled "Merry Christmas." As with Paige's fireflies invite, Mason jars are equally ubiquitous but what makes the Zazzle rip so obvious is the same use of jar, fireflies and copy layout. I really feel that singular elements don't dictate a copy but when something hits multiple points of similarity it's important to at least inform the "offending" artist, especially when they are small shops or individuals that are most likely ignorant of the line between inspiration and imitation.
I think you all make good points. You're right Jill – as much as we're all looking to have each other's backs - I can't imagine the horror of falsely accusing someone - and it's so true... nothing is a new idea.
@ Ashley - I was just looking at the links you posted in the top of the thread, and comparing them to your design again - I wanted to see the slanted treatment you were talking about... and just for my own curiosity consider how possible it was their designs were similar by coincidence. The last one is definitely eerily similar. I noticed another design in that shop is also a copy... of one of my designs. It's especially irritating when it gets personal.
So my question is... should we submit these to Minted directly, and skip the forum - or should we be posting on the forum for the sake of awareness? I'm not going to lie - there's a sort of 'thrill of the hunt' to be able to spot a copy - but at the same time... I hate to risk someone's reputation. I'm curious what Minted's take on this would be...
I report all Minted-similar designs I see to Minted. The way I see it, it's really no longer "my" design. They own it now and can pursue the other designer if they want to. In all reality, the most they can do is request that the person cease selling an infringing design but without expensive legal costs they really can't make a person stop. When that person is a little Etsy seller its a waste of time and money to bother with any legal recourse.
I guess I posted it because I felt irritated that someone is making money off of (what I think is my own hard work) and stealing potential commission payments from me. Was this topic helpful to anyone? Probably not and I probably should not have posted it as I may now look like a petulant child but I can't take it back. The internet is forever, right?
At least Ann gave us that awesome Jessica Hische link to read.
Ashley, I hope my post didn't come across as accusatory. That was not my intention AT ALL! I definitely see what you're talking about in your post I just wanted to point out how with the popularity of Pinterest now, it's even easier to spread inspiration.
Personally, I like these kinds of posts! It always makes me gasp when I see ripoffs the ripoffs posted and how audacious people can be. And it's not just Etsy either. I've seen things on Tiny Prints that are eerily similar to Minted designs.
Has anyone ever called out a seller on Etsy? I think that would be my gut reaction if I saw one of my designs being peddled on there.
No, Ashley I think it is a great discussion. The last esty link also had a design very similar to one of Palm Papers'. So poorly done, you could hardly tell but, definitely influenced for sure. That seller did not have coincidentally similar designs for sure.
The thing that I think is so hilarious (in a sad way), is that they put watermarks all over their images and copyright text at the bottom of their listings... So you don't want people copying your stuff huh?!
Like they have a flippin' clue about copyright and what it means.
Ashley - I didn't mean to be accusatory either! I'm glad you started the post - and I would have too if I had found so many similar designs to mine. It's irritating. I know it's not our own property anymore - but we still make commissions, not to mention it's just not cool. When I find something that's been copied - I want to share too... it's better than sitting here fuming to myself or approaching the designer directly... and it means we can get perspective from other Minties who aren't afraid to tell it like it is. Have you heard back from Minted? I'm just wondering if they follow this thread... which I'm sure they are. I should send them the copy I found of mine anyway. I've never had my work copied before - I guess I should be flattered? I didn't realize how disappointed I would be to see that.
I saw that Palm Papers inspired one too Jill - I thought I was just imagining it. Also had to laugh about the watermarks.
I'm definitely glad you started this post Ashley! We've touched on a lot of important issues, and these types of conversations are what make the Minted community so helpful and interesting. And it's good to know what other people do when they spot rip-offs. I'm also realizing I should put some sort of copyright info on my Etsy pieces...
@ ashley as of yet I don't think any one has copied or been inspired by one of my designs but I know it would drive me nuts. I don't think any thing you have said was in any way like a petulant child.
@ Lea I'm glad you mentioned something about tiny prints because I have noticed that there's designs are starting to look a lot like something minted would sell. Which in the end I don't think it is helping them.
This is a really great discussion! I agree a designer can infringe another's copyright unintentionally - we see so many things that inspire us on a daily basis, it can happen - we are all human. I'm sure in all of my years designing I have probably done this myself and please please if it ever happens, contact me privately and ask me nicely to remove any questionable design and I will happily and apologetically oblige!!!
I have had to on a few occasions ask other designers to remove designs from their sites that were very very similar my own, and in most cases they've apologized and we've all moved one. One designer once told me a customer had asked her to recreate a design (mine) and sent her the image to work with but she didn't know where it had come from. I don't hold any grudges if it was unintentional or a "green" designer that is still learning the ropes (in that case, she realized after the fact that it was wrong, and is probably a better designer, doing more original work today because of it - it's a learning experience for everyone).
I've also dealt with more blatant copiers. I once came across a site that was filled with many exact copies of my designs (they seriously had just copied/pasted my product images), except they replaced the photos I had in some of them .... with photos that had the "istock photo" watermark on them! Okay so it gets better - they were selling digital "design only" files to people. I wonder how many unhappy clients they had when they went to print their "file" and it wouldn't print clearly because the graphics were just low resolution images copied/pasted from my website? AND here's the best part - this person was using a free Shutterfly Share site to run this "business" (which I'm sure violated some sort of TOS). I tried to contact her directly but she ignored me, so after giving her plenty of time with no response, I notified Shutterfly and the next time I checked, the site had disappeared (she's probably still running it under a differnent name somewhere, ha! - I don't really think there is hope for this kind of person).
Okay so sorry for rambling on - but I do have to ask, since Paige's Fireflies design was brought up - did anyone noticed the holiday "Fireflies" design as well on that third Etsy site Ashley listed?
Anyone else’s inbox full of “Minted Community Manager” emails. Lol Hot topic! I was totally distracted trying to meet deadlines yesterday every time an email popped up. :) That’s ok – good discussion! Melanie – I had the same exact experience with a designer who said someone contacted her with an image of one of my Etsy designs and she didn’t know where it came from. She quickly took the design down and apologized out the wazoo. I wonder if it was the same designer you dealt with....? I hope not, she seemed sincere. As for the firefly knockoffs... I’ve recently given up on going after these people. If they seem to be hindering my commission or did an exact copy, then I’ll speak-up. Otherwise, I’ve learned to look at it this way – bare with me... When I originally had the epiphany (literally was sketching the mason jar and had an ah-ha moment) I Googled everything from mason jar wedding invitations to firefly art and came up with the same few things; Faith Hill’s album cover, “Hannah’s Mason Jar” Save the Date we’ve all seen on Oh So Beautiful Paper, and several children's’ book illustrations. I didn’t find anything out there that I had pictured in my mind so I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled to start executing it. But now, if you Google the concept or do a search on Etsy, the general idea is all over the place. That being said, I’ve decided to put a positive twist on it and realize that I inspired these designers. Piddly little freelance designer ol’me, actually inspired a large number of other designers. :) As big headed as that may sound, it’s the only thing that keeps me from burning up every time I see something like the link Melanie just posted. While no one likes to feel like a tattle-tale, I think it speaks volumes that we have each other’s backs. :) Kudos to you all! Young designers need people like you to lead the way.
This is such a great discussion. There are so many people out there ripping off great designs but there are also those designs that look a lot a like each other with out ever seeing each others designs. I know I have had times where I have designed something then later seen something a lot like it. I never know if they copied me or if we both just designed something similar. There are some very blatant copies out there though and shame on those people!
I have to share my story of what I just found on Pinterest. I just designed a baby shower invitation a few days ago. I just found it pined on Pinterest with the caption underneath that the person was going to retool it and change the colors their self. Let's just say they got a note from me saying that it is copyrighted. I just opened an Etsy shop to see if I could sell some of my designs on there and I get this happening on Pinterest! So Minties watch out for Pinterest you never know where you will find your design on the web.
So glad this community looks out for one another!
I've been reluctant to post anything in forum threads relating to copyrights and infringement matters for fear that my design mind and intellectual property mind would be so intertwined that it would be hard to separate, but I couldn't help with this thread. I recently received a comment on one of my designs and looked at the designer's profile since I didn't recognize the name, but noticed that she has been "Minted" for a little while now. As with most Minties, I always want to check out their websites and blogs so I looked at this designer's Etsy website. In looking through her Etsy shop, I noticed several designs that I remembered seeing on this thread, one of them being the third of the three links that Ashley had started this thread with. This was SO frustrating to me because not only do we have to worry about copiers all over the internet, but right here on the Minted site itself and in the challenges critiquing our designs and potentially copying them later on down the line! Because of these types of people/shops, I know that when I see another Etsy stationery shop (that I don't know personally or through some other means) marking my shop as a favorite, I email them directly to thank them for marking my shop as a favorite so that they kind of know that I'm watching their designs without outright saying "hey, I better not see any of my designs copied in your shop." Having done that, I have noticed several of them have since marked their favorites as "private" so the only way I find them now is through my direct message to them. Coincidence? Oh, and Melissa, I do something similar on Pinterest as I have noticed some of my designs pinned by people in categories called "Do-It-Yourself" or something similar. I usually mark my repinned designs as "like" and leave a comment saying "Thanks for pinning one of my designs" so that they know I'm keeping an eye on things. :)
Aside from reporting and keeping tabs on my own stuff, I know I have run across blatant copies of other people's designs and have reported the designs directly to Minted. The most recent one was a copy of Kraft Ribbon found on an Etsy seller's site. The design posed a striking resemblance to Alethea and Ruth's design as a whole ... color, layout, kraft texture/background, etc ... and even more of a resemblance than the one mentioned by Hailey. This was not a matter of only using the popular kraft texture or common layouts or elements like the words "Merry Christmas" or a divided photo card. Because of the resemblance of the design as a whole and the uniqueness of the elements, I reported it. I would include the link, but it, fortunately, has been removed (yea for Minted!). I know that this was not one of my designs, but I know that if someone saw a potential copy of one of my designs, I would want to know about it so that I could report it to Minted myself if the person notifying me didn't feel comfortable to do so on their own. And although Ashley is correct that Minted does own the copyrights to the designs now available on their website, I know that I have an interest in the design and an interest in keeping the design copyright protected because it's a potential loss of commission for me. So as much as this is a bit of a negative/frustrating topic, like Paige, Melissa, and others have mentioned, it's good to know that Minties are looking out for each other. :)
oh wow, Lehan that's so crazy. Did you email Minted about this person?? I saw who you're talking about, and they've been a Minted member since 2010 - probably following the competitions and copying designs to sell in her Etsy shop before Minted even announces winners. Ugh!!!
I love your idea of sending messages to people that mark your shop as favorites! I personally mark a lot of stationery shops as favorites, but generally because I'm curious to look at pricing trends in the shops I admire. I tend to under price my items - not because of a marketing strategy, mostly because I'm an idiot and feed bad charging people a lot of money. I don't want to partake in some of the underscoring that goes on in Etsy, so I find it important to price accurately - for my self/my work's value, and also for the value of stationery as a business. Anyway, that's a really long winded way of saying that I do favorite some shops, and it's because I admire them, not because I want to copy them; and I actually would have been very flattered if one of them ever did write back to me. Nobody has ever emailed me back, but I certainly would hope they've checked out my shop as well (if not to check for plagiarism, at least out of curiosity!)
@lehan paper design - I've just added you to my faves but I promise I won't copy. I think I have a girl-crush on you - great ideas you've posted here, one smart cookie you are!
I am super new to Minted. I am a corporate designer, for years I've been busy sticking to branding. (ho-hum) This holiday break was to be a time to catch up on building my own website, organize a portfolio, update skills and explore some new ideas.
Then a friend of mine pointed me to Minted. (after receiving her fab Minted holiday card in the mail) A bit intimidating as there is such amazing talent on Minted, but I've been tossing a few ideas up there to get the hang of all if this. Something new and the Minted community feels right. : )
The past 5 days I've clicked thru the underbelly of this cute greeting card world, such lovely looking blogs, pretty Etsay shops, Pinterest, beautifully designed sites - like a kid in a candy shop, a treat for the eye.
Then it occurred to me - these submissions are so exposed, anyone can take concepts and rework them. I may not have worked thru a concept in this challenge due to time, but submitted some things just to try it on, but that concept is "out there".
I was going to join in on the Voice It! call on Jan 11th to bring this very topic up. Is anyone else going to Voice It? for this very reason? I am glad to see others are posting such topics as my husband must be sick of me talking about all things Minted in the past 5 days. : (
I'm jumping in late on this, but this is a great and important thread! Ann, thanks for the article by Jessica Hische - so poignant to this topic. Lehan, I loved the way you tactfully handled the design that looks way to similiar to another Minted design for sale. There is a delicate balance, but we do need to watch out for each other if we notice designers copying a person's unique style or a specific design. Besides writing them a note, we can also take care of it by letting Minted take care of it : )
I'm thankful to be in this great community where I know you all have my back!
I have found this thread very informational and was curious if anyone knew where to find the Jessica Hische article, the link no longer takes you there.
New Mintie Brittany
the chalkboard designs look very similar, but nothing is as nice as the work from the minted design community.
Hello everyone, I'm a new Mintie here too. Just participate my very first challenge - Journal cover design - a few days ago. This is also my very first comment in the forum (whoopie). I am really excited about how this community supports and shares advices with one another.
@thatgirl - Yes! Thanks for pointing out one of the issues I have considered before participating the latest challenge. I look forward to the exposure of critics and rating for my new work but at the same time, such exposure makes me feel that I am throwing my design out into the sea, either being submerged into the deep bottom or being scooped up by someone else. On the bright side, if someone were to appropriate my design, it is generally an encouragement for me (at the moment).
@Brittany - As for the link, I believe it is here: http://jessicahische.is/thinkingthoughts/aboutinspiration/
@Ann - Thanks for the link! I love it, good read!
I do have one which I love to share:Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon.http://uajourn.pbworks.com/f/How%20To%20Steal%20Like%20An%20Artist%20(And%209%20Other%20Things%20Nobody%20Told%20Me)%20-%20Austin%20Kleon.pdf
There is one (or two) point that I would disagree with the book.
Thanks to the support here, I am trying hard to kick start that inventive spirit of mine and glad to meet like-minded minties over here.
I feel that consumers play a significant huge part in trying to differentiate the "inventor" and the "impostor". If only they are more discerning towards the work they support. Minted is doing a great job in highlighting the best of the best to the public.
Keep up the inventive spirit!
saw this thread and its a great discussion i completely agree with carol, jill and moe. though copycats really exist and its bad but i feel most of us wants to follow trends and colors so that they can make design based on the current demand. so there are chances that we can find a design similar to other. it doesnt mean that person has really copied someone's design.sometimes it happens unintentional.
More holiday copy cats:
Alethea and Ruth's Kraft Ribbon: http://www.etsy.com/listing/83422343/photo-christmas-card-modern-rustic-kraft
Alaina's Christmas Digbats: http://www.etsy.com/listing/107866164/retro-stamps-photoshop-holiday-card?ref=sr_gallery_4&sref=sr_3058c2c30f9692ef497b69a41c46269672a3d50bff0ed46359bf846445f69e0e_1348862840_14130054_holiday&ga_search_query=photo+holiday+cards&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_page=16&ga_search_type=all
Annie's Making Spirits Bright: http://www.etsy.com/listing/109669590/pp-57527-mae-holiday-photo-card-free?ref=sr_gallery_43&ga_search_query=photo+holiday+cards&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_page=49&ga_search_type=all
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