Often we think design is about bringing something new into the world, most of the time, it’s actually about taking some idea or thing that already exists, and making it better, says Anthony Deen New York.

I keep bumping into discussions of originality in design and most times I’m left to conclude, and in my opinion that originality is just what it is – being original. Regardless of how many sources you soak inspiration from before you come up with a design, the successful interpretation and conceptualization of ideas from those wells of inspiration informs your originality. It is one thing to be inspired by other designers works – past or present, it is another thing to create something exclusively fresh. However, in all fairness to the concept of originality, perhaps we should say our designs are innovative not necessarily original.

The following conversation ensued between two design professionals: One said to the other, that, “Intellectual property is a designer’s greatest asset”. It’s unfair when ORIGINAL ideas are “stolen” without being paid for. We must fight for our right.

All the red lights on hypocrisy beamed immediately, especially since they had  just finished comparing notes on design ideas “gotten via the Internet”. So, the other designer said to her, for me, the concept of “originality” simply doesn’t exist in relation to professional practices. All great designers, past and present, build on the legacies and ideas of others. After years of consistent applications, we may say we have defined our design “NICHE”. Striving for originality is a vain idea. A profession survives on shared ideas. – Tolulope Adeyi

She goes on to say, that, the designer will only seemingly, steal what’s good. So every aspring designer should spend time and energy improving on the knowledge and ideas of others in order to influence successive grnerations and thereby learn the BUSINESS of their trade.

Still learning, we would like to hear from you. Kindly post your comments and thoughts on this subject of Originality in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share and gift someone this post, whom you know would like to weigh in on the concept of originality. Did I mention Tolulope Adeyi is my all time buddy in the industry…LOL. I don’t know with whom she had the above conversation, but the following sounds like what could have fueled her response.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old movies, new movies, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable, originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery, celebrate it if you feel like it. – Jim Jarmusch”