Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

Design Plagiarism And Denial

There appears to be some confusion around what copying is. Couple this with the argument breaking down into an inevitable Android vs iOS debate and Twitter has been exceptionally noisy today.

Gruber, although a little confused, got the final thoughts in his reply to an earlier blog post spot on with:

If you write an article, and then I write my own article about the same topic, that just means you were first. But if I copy your article and just change a few words, that’s plagiarism. There’s a big difference.

He is a little late to these comments as I’ve already shared many of my thoughts but there is no denying the trend is getting worse. Unfortunately there is a lot of fanboy going on in both this and other surrounding posts meaning some people are going to switch off very early. As with many things in the Apple verse you have to cut through all this to see the points made about design copying.

There is a massive difference between implementing a feature that another company launched first into your product, or straight up copying it. There exists a theoretical spectrum of ‘inspiration’ — ranging from Huawei copying software and hardware almost pixel for pixel, and Android taking inspiration from iOS. Undoubtedly there is a completely different response to designing features inspired by others, and simply wedging them in.

Only a consumer can decide where they are comfortable sitting on the spectrum and no amount of tech blog commentary will change that. Chinese manufacturers have been doing this for years and customers are still voting with their wallets.

With that said, you cannot point fingers at others and deny Apple doesn’t do similar things. It may not be as blatant as Chinese OEM rips offs, but there is no denying features like the notification centre didn’t require much courage to design. Samsung seems to have changed their previous ways and are now launching industry leading product design, but even they have the occasional slip back into old ways. Companies are all the same so enough with the denial.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but copying should be offensive to the consumer.

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