Design Dilemma

Anybody who designs anything knows how difficult it can be to have a completely original product. This is even more so when you are designing a product for a market that has a very dominant product established. So, my current thinking has similar thought processes as one might have if they were in a corporation designing a product for market, but mine is for a class project.

My problem is deciding what is outright copying versus implementing ideas that I feel are very good. I can only think of the iPod (yes, so cliche) when this crosses my mind. The iPod was the first widely popular mass marked portable MP3 player that really took off with people. Yes, had to state the obvious. Now, there have been many new players into the market that the iPod created. This seems only logical, right? I mean, if you can tap only a little bit of the market share, you are bound to make a little money (pending product quality among other things). But, they had to build off what worked to even have a chance.

My problem is within the visual design of our project. I have tried to take the effort to take ideas I like and implement them in what I am doing. I have also tried to not “lift” designs from other products already out in the market. But, my main question is this, where is the line between stealing a design and implementing things that have just worked?

4 thoughts on “Design Dilemma”

  1. When you take a design and improve on it. Take concepts and build off them — just don’t rely on them. As with the iPod, think the navigation — now if someone came up with a similar taxonomy, who’d care.. but a touch wheel?

    Ripping off designs is a bad thing, but being inspired by designs is what makes a designer, well.. a designer!

  2. The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

    Oh Einstein, har har har. For some reason that was the first quote that came to mind. But more seriously, yeah I know what you mean. “What has worked” works for a reason so it’s difficult to determine where the line is between that and using someone else’s design.

  3. it doesn’t work because of what it is, but because of a few key design aspects. If you are able to de-construct those and discover why they work (both independantly and as a system) then you can make a new product with equal or greater usability. sketch a heck of a lot, it really helps out a ton. I sketched out about 30 ideas for how to draw one line for drawing class, but that one line made the piece. hmmmm, interesting.

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