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In design, everything has been done before (medium.com)
89 points by uladzislau 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

This post presents numerous examples of contemporary designs (>2000) with their early equivalents (<1975).

EVERY SINGLE contemporary design is credited to a company (or to "unknown").

EVERY SINGLE early design is credited to a named individual.

Isn't this part of the problem? Companies play it safe; their committees (voluntarily or not) navigate towards the known, vote for things they have seen before.

Would you hire a company to write a novel or a symphony?

If you want original design you should hire a person -- a professional with strong opinions, not a big firm.

I'm not sure that's the real problem. Good firms just try to have the best people in their roster (best creativity and skills). These designers have the same approach a single person would have: figure out the company's identity and come up with a solution that represents it best. On average, you would probably get better results by hiring a firm than a single person.

I suspect the real problem is related to the ongoing simplification trend that logos have been through for the past decades. Take apple's or pepsi's logo for instance. This minimalist trend results in simple shapes, and there is a finite number of simple shapes out there. So when designing a logo according to this trend(as everyone is doing and have done in the past), you will probably end up with something similar or equal to something else. Not many dimensions to play with.

(Sorry for my English)

Maybe off-topic, but I see many parallels to software development.

(Not so much to user interfaces, though, as there's usually the reverse issue: Too many companies invent their own stuff, mostly at places where is not better but just different and hence annoying. Here, we need more consistency rather than more "creativity", so realy creativity will be applied where it really matters and does good.)

So 'design' is now a synonym for 'logo'?

In such a restricted space it isn't surprising that you can find a lot of similar pictures. One of the highest priorities for anyone designing such a thing is simplicity which reduces the amount of variation available so you end up with collisions.

I see the Medium post titled 'Your logo is copied', which is a better description.

Logos are the easiest to compare — by convention they are simple, composed of basic shapes. There's still a lot of variation in how they can be combined. Comparing layout designs introduces a lot of permutations.

Never mind the fact that the usual thoughts around logo design would almost guarantee that two different designers at different times could produce similar designs.

The article focuses on stealing vs. copying, but both of those terms imply awareness of the source material. There's a grey area of "copying" where you design something while being unintentionally influenced by something else.

But I suspect most of the derivative logos in the article are instead examples of similar outputs from complete unique, separate, and unrelated processes. In other words, DesignStudio may have never seen or encountered the Azuma Drive-In logo when developing the AirBnb logo. That's not copying: that's happenstance.

With logos in particular, there's a finite universe of picograms and shapes, particularly when you're building off a letterform. There's bound to be collisions that are due to neither stealing nor copying.

I've talked to people in arts/humanities who attest that its impossible to do anything original. Examples of earlier original things or, for example, current scientific discoveries of brand new phenomena, did not sway them.

_ Annoying. I assume certain college courses are drumming this belief into them (Also a habit of terrible verbose / waffley writing)

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