“The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.”

compairA while back many blogs reported about the nice self promotion of Christopher Doyle.
But last night a guy called Leif Parson commented on my blog with just three words: “hmmm looks familliar” and added a link to his portfolio. He had the idea back in 2004. The overlaps are very conspicous. I can’t proove that Mr Doyle stole the idea from Mr Parson, but I would love to hear what he has to say!?

Like Banksy just quoted Picasso in his recent exhibition in Bristol: “The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.”

Christopher Doyle’s identity guidelines got around the web a lot, Leif Parson’s identity guidelines not, but I hope this will change soon!

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  • roitsch

    Thanks for your comment, Leif. I won’t bargain for an answer of Mr Doyle. I send him an email, we will see what he has to say, IF he says something!?

  • Robbie

    So let me get this right, Parson’s guidelines were done in 2004 and had no blog attention / attention at all? So who saw them? And who could copy them if no-one saw them…

    Ridiculous. While I’m sure having a blog make’s you feel everyone would love to hear your opinion, sometimes that just isn’t the case.

  • Chris

    Hi Markus/Leif,

    Thanks for your email.

    I’d like to say I resent the fact that you guys are assuming I won’t respond. You’re assuming the idea was stolen and now I’ve been found out and I’m hiding under my desk? Of course I will respond. I have nothing to hide.

    Firstly, and I must be very clear here, I can honestly say I had never in any way, shape or form been exposed to Leif Parsons Identity guidelines project, prior to receiving your email. Prior to releasing my Guidelines project last year I searched for similar projects online to ensure something similar had not already been done. Surprised, I found nothing. That’s not to say Leif’s project wasn’t sitting somewhere on his site, it’s just to say I didn’t find it. Like I would with any new project, I also asked a number of colleagues, friends and design associates (of all ages) if they were aware of anything (even vaguely) similar having been done. Every one said no.

    Had I been aware of Leif’s project I of course would not have produced my own. What would be the point of that? I abhor any form of design theft. And to replicate or even imitate an idea so specific and so original is unacceptable. At least it would be had I been aware of the job.

    I should also add that while I was/am proud of the job I was also amazed it had not been done before. Seems it has.

    I love that as designers we immediately assume the idea has been stolen, as opposed to being open to the notion that perhaps two people in different parts of the world had a similar idea. We’re not reinventing the wheel here, we are taking the piss out of an everyday aspect of design. The similarities in content and approach are a product of reinterpreting a design cliche. With the exception of the red line strike through device (which is standard guidelines practice) the projects look nothing alike.

    Finally, with design from around the world being more accessible than ever before I would have to be a moron to see something like this, re-appropriate it, and claim it as my own idea.

    This is a coincidence. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Jaybird

    This is pathetic… this is like saying ‘Oh i did a cubist painting before Picasso but no one noticed mine… boo hoo!!’. i’m sorry but if it wasn’t good enough to get anyone to stand up and take notice when you did it, it wasn’t any good. Mr Doyle has just won a D&AD pencil for his effort, so the best in the world actually thought it was pretty awesome. So don’t be sore… just try harder next time.

  • roitsch

    Good morning.
    At first I wanna thank you, Mr Doyle, for your respond! I am very happy that you answered my mail and left a comment here.

    I must say I am very happy that you did not steal the idea and you sure did win the D&AD pencil totally earned. Like I said above “I can’t proove that Mr Doyle stole the idea from Mr Parson, but I would love to hear what he has to say!?” And that’s exaclty what happened.

    I hope my quote of Banksy above, “The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.”, did not upset you. I just wanted to say, even IF the idea was stolen, you did more out of it and deserved the attention.

    But since this all is a coincidence, I must excuse for the accusation of being an idea-theft. But for me, the overlaps have been a bit conspicious and I wanted to respond to what Leif Parson said.

    @Robbie: As you said “While I’m sure having a blog make’s you feel everyone would love to hear your opinion, sometimes that just isn’t the case.” But exactly that is the case! Many people wanted to hear what Mr Doyle has to say. And thanks to his answer the case is solved and closed again. Let me get this straight, IF the idea was stolen, which is nothing to be suprised of in the design fields, I wanted to report about it. Mr Doyle got so much attention (totally earned), so I thought it was taken for granted that I report about it!

    @Jybird: Please do not write something like “boo hoo!!” or anything. Leif was very kind when he found out that somebody had the same idea. All he wanted was to here what Mr Doyle answers. And you said “So don’t be sore… just try harder next time.”, even if his guidelines were not that well designed, it’s still the same idea. And I am sure, that if his idea would come up nowadays, he would also been reported much more. Like Mr Doayle said: “design from around the world is more accessible than ever before”.

  • leif

    Hey Chris

    Thanks for the note

    Was surprised for a bit when I saw it (noticed it in print in nyc)
    (Mine got some attention at the time, but as mentioned it is a big world and it is interesting to see your take)

    cool cool
    All the best

    (thanks for the blog Roitch)


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“The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.”