Something is bothering me. I’ve been trying for the past few days to figure out how to discuss it without offending anyone (don’t worry, most of you won’t be offended or even care for that matter).

I shared this lovely little blog header with you a while back:

 And then I was on Pinterest and saw this:

My mind immediately connected the two. Now, most people would notice their similarities and move on. But in my graphically-designed mind, there are sirens and horns and flashing warning lights going off. Why? Because one of these is an original design and one is not. So which came first? I decided to find out.

Upon doing some research, I found that the blog header was designed by Leigh-Ann from Freckled Nest. The concert poster was designed by Dan Padavic from Vahalla Studios. I also found that Leigh-Ann had pinned Dan’s concert poster to her Pinterest account, so I knew she was aware of it. So I contacted her to get a clear picture of why these two designs are so much alike. Here was her response:

Hi Jill,

Dan Padavic’s poster was one of my inspiration’s working on the design :)
xo, Leigh-Ann

Ok, so that clears up which came first (for the record, I did not contact Dan because I didn’t feel it was my place to stir the proverbial pot since I had gotten my answer from Leigh-Ann). But that doesn’t clear up my reaction to it. My 1st reaction: rip-off. My 2nd reaction: I appreciate the fact that she admitted her inspiration. 3rd reaction: I really like Leigh-Ann’s blog/ she seems like a nice person/ I could probably be friends with her/ she shares my love of station wagons. 4th reaction: Grr… why did I have to see that stupid (beautiful) poster. 

Things are usually pretty black and white to me. I like something or I don’t. Things that fall in the grey area make me feel stressed. And uneasy. I’m stressed out a lot (maybe I’m not as black/white as I thought…). I guess I could have just ignored the situation. No one forces me to write anything on this blog. But I’m also not a sweep-it-under-the-rug kind of person either.
So Leigh-Ann, if you ever happen to read this, I’m really struggling with not judging you on this one. If someone had been that “inspired” by something I had designed, I probably wouldn’t appreciate it very much. But that’s just me. For what’s it worth, I’m adding your blog to my Google Reader. And I’d probably still be your friend.
Does anyone else have an opinion about this? Please be nice. No haters…
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6 Responses to Uneasiness

  1. Katie says:

    While I’m not an artist, I have to agree that I would probably not appreciate someone being so “inspired” by my work. The design is beautiful, though, I love the colors and certainly see the draw!

  2. Kate says:


    I am a graphic designer myself, and I am also uneasy about this.

    All of my professors from art school stressed that it was okay to be “inspired” by someone else’s work, but that doesn’t mean that it is okay to completely copy it. To use someone else’s work as inspiration, you still need to change it by at least 30-40% to “make it your own.” Had she changed the shape of the shapes, the placement of the shapes, heck even the colors and lightweight font she chose were VERY similar to the original and if Dan’s poster was ONE of the things that inspired her, what were the others? It kind of looks like it was a one stop inspiration from here.

    Maybe she is a self-taught graphic designer who never went to school and learned about what I like to call “creative etiquette”? Either way, I think what she did was surely not professional.

    I do agree that it is a beautiful design. Kudos to Dan!

  3. Becky says:

    Dear Jill
    I am not a graphic artist, and I absolutely agree with you. People these days live in the gray area it seems, so I think everybody feels like it’s okay to do so. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You still are very kind and empathetic towards Leigh Ann even though you don’t agree with what she did. You couldn’t have handled it any better! Go easy on yourself! You are a very good person with a conscience and KUDOS to you!
    P.S. I LOVE YOUR KITCHEN!!!!!! I love the colors, the designs you have done and ALL of it! You are a creative genius!

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