logo design,logo design tips,logo redesign,logo ideas

4 Easy ways to tell if a design is an original or not

Spot the difference game
Spot the difference. Which one do you think is the original?

I worked as an editor for a publishing company that taught young authors how to write. One of my responsibilities was to read through their works and determine which ones had potential.

Kids were frequently inspired by their favourite TV shows and books. One story I read was written by a 6-year-old girl and was very similar to Cinderella from Disney. 

It was all the same, from the stepsisters to the fairy tale ending. She simply changed the characters’ names.

We talked, and I guided her by explaining the distinction between copying and being inspired. I know she adored the story, but she can personalise it by adding her own spin to it.

She could change the setting, add more challenges for the characters, or adjust the timeline, but the story structure will remain the same.

Designing is very similar to writing a story. There are popular stories that inspire other writers to write their own books, but they must incorporate their own spin before they can be published under their own name. Designers do the same thing.

We know how creators borrow ideas and improve on them in the creative industry. 

Companies are now at risk of paying for plagiarised design and even being sued because of the abundance of freelance designers and fly-by-night design companies.

If you own or manage a company that relies heavily on design, you must understand how to tell if a design is suitable for use. You must be able to tell if it is simply a copy of a previously published work, or you risk getting a bad reputation.

Here are some pointers to help you figure out whether the design is unique:

It passed the Google Image Search test

You can upload a picture of a logo or a design to Google Images and search for a similar style. With thousands of images now available on the internet, you can research whether your design is distinguishable enough.

Remember the Cinderella story I used as an example? To be considered original, a design must be completely different from others. If you discover that the design you have does not have an exact replica, you are free to use it.

Google Image Search screenshot
Google Image Search

Design professionals with years of experience say so

From their undergraduate days to their internships to their current work, design professionals have been exposed to a wide range of designs. They are well-versed in design history and trends.

It’s a good idea to have a professional designer look over your logo or campaign before you publish it.

They will not only provide objective feedback on how to improve it, but they will also be able to tell if they have seen a similar one from a company in the same industry. 

You can then see if the company in question is still using the mentioned logo. If not, you’re all set.

It is registered in the Global Design Database

Artistic creations are automatically protected by copyright law in some countries. Those who want to protect their design can do so by registering it in the Global Design Database.

This online database was created by the World Intellectual Property Organization for anyone in the world to lodge their designs. This website also addresses trademarks, patents, and trademark disputes.

Before sending inspirations to your designer, I recommend going through this database first. This way, you can already discard some ideas that appear to be similar to those that have been registered.

girl painter showing off her authentic paintings
Any original work is worth its value.

It’s made by a reputable design company

You should work with a company that has a proven track record of creating unique designs. They must be trusted by a large number of clients and have no history of copyright infringement.

These businesses are well worth every penny. You should not be concerned about them sending plagiarised designs because their reputation is also at stake. If they have a quality assurance hero on their team, as Deer Designer does, you are even more protected from plagiarism.

OG is a priority

This article is meant to help both business owners and designers. It is essential to know how to tell the difference between an original and a copied design.

While there are lots of ways for a designer to learn how to create quality and unique designs, one of the most effective is to study the designs of others. 

A designer can gain new ideas, see what other designers are doing, and find inspiration by looking at other designs.

With the information provided above, a business owner or manager could conduct quick due diligence to protect their company and make wise decisions about publishing designs they pay for.