The Fine Line between Inspiration and Replication


Art and designing is all about getting inspired by the element of universe and beautifully putting them in graphical representation. To be inspired by another designer’s art work is very natural and positive. Every designer feels the need to try something new that will take his graphic-making skills to a new level and its inspiration can come when either they see a catchy design or want to become as skilled as their fellow designer.


However, in this course of aspiration one should realize that there is a very fine line between design inspiration and design replication! To discuss it in detail let me define both the phenomenon respectively. INSPIRATION is a source or action causing the spirit to do something by a heavenly influence.

REPLICATION, on the other hand, is the unauthorized use or imitation of thoughts or creation of another individual’s original work. As an Indian advertisement designer puts it “Inspiration is a much longer route, in which anything that strikes you is evolved into a completely different product through a combination of factors that include research, your own style and sensibilities, and a conscious effort to be different and not appear as a mere clone.”

The blessed human mind absorbs what it sees and experiences and consequently gets influenced by it. If I see an impressive design work, I can’t help but be inspired by it, one way or the other. Similar happens with our designer friends that they see someone’s work and it strikes their heart like no other.


Sometimes this inspiration happens consciously; however, sometimes it gets inspired in their subconscious. Ideas are constantly absorbed, regurgitated and recycled in our mind factory. Often the result is sufficiently abstracted from the original idea to call it inspiration; sometimes the result is a exact copy of the original idea.

Personally, I think every other designer is guilty of some kind of replication, even if it occurs in the subconscious. But this statement of mine does not give liberty to the all the designers out there that they can easily replicate somebody’s design and then put the blame on their unconscious. Originality has its own value, which is no matched with plagiarism or replication (no matter how well it is done).

In short, replication or copying is a dirty shortcut, which does not lead you anywhere, but dullness of mind-power and sometimes embarrassment. On the other hand, inspiration has no short cuts; it just needs to be worked on!

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  3. Jordan Walker, 6 July 2010

    Good look into art and design plagiarism.

  4. Aidan, 6 July 2010

    It’s how people think about inspiration. Replication is an important part of inspiration, i guess.

  5. AnimHuT User-Link Feed 2010: JULY05-July11 » jQuery, Design, Tutorials, Your, iPhone, Free » AnimHuT, 11 July 2010

    […] or individual. They are shared during formal introductions as a convenience and a memory aid. 10. The Fine Line between Inspiration and Replication Art and designing is all about getting inspired by the element of universe and beautifully putting […]

  6. Hypesol, 12 July 2010

    good article

  7. Laura Meider, 13 July 2010

    I do think that you are subconsciously inspired by designs around you. When you take into account everything you do and see on a daily basis – new places you have been, people you have met they all have their own factors that can influence you.

    Everything you see around you has been designed or has a certain structure that maybe new or different. It’s almost like when you look to buy a new car, if you find a car you like, you automatically seem to see more and more of these cars around that you wouldn’t ave normally seen!

    I think it all depends on what kind of designer you are….if you are a very creative thinker and can come up with new ideas fast with off the wall ideas then you have more of a chance in creating something new and unique. If however you are a designer that has a creative flare but not so good at design from scratch then you can easily be influenced by other designs.

    I am creative but I wouldn’t say that I am creative from a point that I have really good new ideas from scratch. I am just not this kind of designer – I get inspiration from looking at other designs and designers but there is a fine line between using there ideas and copying them to actually using their ideas and making them your own or adapting them into a new form.

    New designs can be influenced by places you have been, people you know, have met or admire, books…basically anything! The more you get out and about the more and more you could be influenced. Everything has been done once, you just need to put your mark on it.

  8. Replication vs. Inspiration « Dzine Soup | Collaborative Web Design Blog, 15 July 2010

    […] Replication vs. Inspiration Jul 15th, 2010 Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.This useful article compares and discusses the difference between being inspired by others’ work, and copying it. Check it out. […]

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