Copying ~VS~ InspirationAugust 28, 2018December 17, 2019Sky

Hey Everyone,

There are a lot of Do-It-Yourselfers in the planner community.  One of the wonderful things about the planner community is that not everyone likes the same thing, and therefore there is a variety of different styles which allows you to be uniquely you.

Today my challenge was to look into the difference of copying verses inspiration.  There seems to be a lot of both in the planner world.  It seems as though the line between copying and inspiration is getting a whole lot thinner with all the information available online now.  The days of going to a museum to be inspired to create appear to have passed, when now there are cell phone apps such as Instagram and Pinterest around to get ideas.  It is getting harder to tell a creative mind from someone that has copied well.

When is copying okay?

Copying can be good for learning purposes for one.  Remember back in elementary school when you were first learning how to write letters or learning to draw a picture of a favorite character?  We learned by copying each letter from the alphabet piece by piece or by trying to imitate the image of the character.  If you did not copy it would not look like the letter or the character.  Copying this way also helps you discover what kind of style and techniques are your weakness and strengths.

What makes this kind of copying different from blatant, disrespectful copying?

When you do not publish it and pass it off as your own for commercial purposes.

Webster’s definition of copying = to make a similar or identical version and reproduce and imitate the style.

Even in the planner community there is a certain mentality where some lead or create and the rest copy.  There is no exception when it comes to design and most designs are at some level a copy of another.  In my opinion, inspiration does not come out of the blue but rather it essentially comes from experiences and exposure to new ideas.  One of the main debate statements I’ve seen on this topic is that “everything has been done before,” and to a varying degree it has.

Although a person can be inspired by someone else’s work, the inspiration should be used as a fuel to create something all new to call your own.  In Austin Kleon’s book “Steal Like an Artist,” he says that you can’t help but be influenced or inspired by artists; however eventually if you aren’t fixating on one influence but constantly trying and learning, then all the different inspirations will transform into your own style.

I admit, there are a number of designers in the planner community whose work I admire.  I think it’s important to see the good and bad in another’s work and do my best to understand what I like or dislike about it.  As I filter these ideas through myself, it helps to create something different and uniquely me with my own personal style.

An example would be a chef may like a certain dish made by someone else, but would still use his own favorite ingredients to create something different.

Webster’s definition of inspiration = the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

My advice to everyone would be to seek out material to be mentally stimulated by, analyze what you like and dislike about it and collectively consider those elements with other works until you can create something unique rather than simply copy.  We have learned the needed skills of letters and drawing by copying but now is the time to write our own stories and draw our own pictures in life.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on this topic.

Enjoy the rest of your week.