Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Contemporary Problems, My Response to Chapter 5

Chapter 5, Reproduction and Technology
  Key Questions from Presentation
Most important new technologies visual, not mechanical: e.g. editing in film;
       layout, fonts space in design?
Reproduction raises many other issues: ownership and authenticity, mainly  
Challenges ideas of originality and property, i.e.
How far does this challenge go?
We want to ignore ownership as consumers (downloads), but as producers we cling to ‘our’ creations;
We want credit as original producers, when mostly we put together borrowed elements, whose value comes from elsewhere (from absence, what is not ‘in’ the work itself)
We seem to prefer copies of copies: lack of originality and authenticity gives complexity and richness
What is a vampire, e.g.? Dracula also a pastiche, a copy of older legends, reflected a desire for origins
But so many vampires today, (even pretty teenagers from Washington State can descend from the dark lords of deepest Central Asia…)

  My Key Questions, Further Sources
Barthes, Camera Lucida:  (“clear room”)
After a life of finding the codes that socially determine meaning, he finds the punctum
The meaning from photos, on death of his mother, pierces him: personal even sentimental book
Evidence that the camera was there with it subject
A meaning beyond codes: what we hope to achieve: “touched by personal details” of punctum
vs. stadium, denotation, coded details
Critics of the mechanism, the illusory and ideological effect of photography, see it as more complex
Gregory Batchen, Burning with Desire
Is photography even a medium? A single technology? What kind of apparatus, or social tool?
It incorporates several very different practices and machines
Photo all share idea of index, the physical trace, an image created from a material interaction
Derives its power from where and how employed, the agencies and media that use it
As design is a careful consideration of abstract, normally incidental elements (font, layout, space etc.)
Need a new history of photography, beyond great men, great single photos, amazing effects, aesthetics,
       or new original kinds of images arising from self-criticism of medium in isolation from use

See photography as part of art history, a way of describing the best, what we choose to value in it
Or see it as identified with the society that uses it:
       Its class nature (a tool of class power and domination)
       Or part of commodity culture (stimulates consumption)
       Or as creating desires (never to be fulfilled)

Two related readings:
       John Berger, Ways of Seeing and
       Walter Benjamin, “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
Both humanist and Marxist critics: Berger, in the 1970s, rooted in Benjamin, in the 1930s
Reproduction changes how we see art today: the original can’t stay the same when mass-reproduced
Why does Berger deal with art? Even Benjamin talks about photo and film, new media of the time
Berger sees market value as making fetish out of original art; museums and originals mystify images
Does reproduction liberate them? Are we any less mystified by the mass media around us?
Benjamin saw aura, fetish value, the power of originals, decreasing in age of reproduction
Berger sees a numbness, we can’t feel in an meaningful way in sea of images
And we lack control over media industries and channels, alienated by our most powerful tools
Art’s meaning tightly controlled by words, and it works in the interest of ownership of images,
       despite vast reproduction of images, even images without originals placed in religious aura

April Greiman, Does it Make Sense? A good example
A fetish object for me: why? Ownership makes me special? How is identity defined by the objects that surround us, the absences, like one word in a sentence, or in a given language, defined by what we’re not
Or because it embodies the positive values I have built my life around? comic books, old paper, theory, and graphic expression
Is this an original, from early days of Mac and pixel technology?
Its value and aura surely now come from being reproduced in all the history texts, canonical status
As with Batchen’s attempt to define photography, does the Greiman tell us what we most feel design is, as the basis for its current status an exemplar?
Rare, underappreciated, design not collected like art (though it’s starting to be -- or else I’m a chump. Or both.)


  1. Rashik Patel

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Why is the notion of originality valued so highly in our culture? What is it about being original that attracts us to it? I think we, as humans like to feel that we are worth something. If we come up with an idea that is original then we feel worthy as we have contributed something substantial to the world.

    Being original is a tough feat because everything seems to have already been discovered and done. So if being original is pointless, why not copy? Why is copying considered negative? I think it takes great skill to copy something and make it look a lot like the original. Isn't that what realism was all about? When we copy something it is respectful to acknowledge the person we copied because it shows that we did not come up with this idea. But at the same time, the person we copied does not fully deserve the credit as being the originator. Our ideas do not develop in a closed box but rather they connect and build off of past ideas. Even the root of the word originality is "origin", which shows that it is not completely autonomous. Our ideas are usually influenced by past styles, ideas and other works that we see. So any concept that we come up with is not entirely "original" because we were very likely influenced by something we've seen. I think originality is one of those things we all strive for but it's practically impossible to achieve.

    We hold this idea of originality on a very high pedestal. People shop around and pay millions of dollar to own the originals of paintings. But does the copy not have what the original has? In class, when we saw the April Greiman piece, I was stunned to see how large it was in comparison to all the miniature copies I had seen in textbooks. So definitely the original did give off a different feel and experience that was not replicated in the copies. But in essence, the work contained the same content: objects, people, words, etc.

    In comparison to today's world, originality was held at a higher standard in the past. People fought to become the first to invent the telephone or to discover a new land. Even today there is debate as to who the "real" inventors and discoverers were as these people may have taken the idea from someone else or rediscovered a land that people were already inhabiting. Thus it's difficult to identify authenticity and originality in any work because it could be influenced by a number of different ideas. I think the only time you can have a clear cut idea of an original work and the copier is if someone makes a work that is the complete copy of another work. As a whole, originality is a difficult concept to define and it's similar to an unattainable dream.

  4. Trishaala makes such a great point. She stated exactly what I always think but have never said outloud because teachers like to argue it, but that is: “ Being original is a tough feat because everything seems to have been discovered and done”. To me, that feels like such a true statement. Yes, I know, the world is “just full of possibilities” but with the information overload, and oversaturation of words and images in our society today, it is so hard to stray away from the images engraved in our brain. If anything, we see it as more beneficial to ourselves to make something better that someone has already done, because it makes us feel more powerful than them, but at the same time, can help develop these “things” to something better.

    I’m going to use a very ‘out of the blue’ example for this. Take Diabetes for example, and the insulin pump, which I am wearing right now (but nobody would ever know); Unless it was over 20 years ago and my insulin pump was the size of a microwave oven, because that’s what it was. The first design of this was a giant device that did not work properly, nor could anyone wear it without having a backpack strapped to themselves all day every day (and I thought clipping this cell phone sized device to me was bad). But someone realized this just wasn’t going to work. So a designer, along with scientists and doctors, REWORKED this ALREADY EXISTING item. Look at the insulin as the font used on a poster; Then the tubing as the dominant colour red on the poster; and the increments and information about insulin delivery, as the body text of the poster. We just took existing elements and reworked them to create a life saving device that would have otherwise never worked, or should I say, we re worked a poster to attract and please viewers, that was just making them want to rip it up before. So perhaps, if someone had come along and said “I want to make a whole new system of delivering insulin to people at a regular rate, that is nothing like the pump you have just made” I would still have a microwave oven attached to my back.

    I know I am taking quite a leap with this example, but I feel it is fitting. In our culture today especially as designers, we are so saturated with information and existing design, that of course we are going to be inspired, and of course we are going to borrow elements. If I want to do a project on rainforests and raise awareness about them, but I can’t quite make the time to go to the Amazon, is it not o.k. that I borrow someone else’s photos? Would that photographer not want me to use it for a good cause? Yes, I am going to say the awareness campaign was created by me, and yes I am going to credit my photographer. But I used that element in a way that someone else wasn’t at the time. And someone might take elements of my poster, and use it in a way that I didn’t. And it will probably be better. Thus, brining me back to me point that designers are still creating and producing new ideas by “borrowing” elements, because if we didn’t, we would all be carrying around giant cell phones that don’t fit in our pockets, and we would be looking at the same paintings on our walls everyday.

  5. I completely agree with both Stephanie and Trishala. Nothing is ever original anymore, it's the essence of an idea taken and re-produced every time but in different ways, that in the end it eventually becomes something that people consider "new" or "creative". The essence of the idea doesn't transform alone, it transforms by the addition of other ideas along with it, to mix and match different essences of ideas- it is something we do without even recognizing sometimes. Technically this is what "a source of inspiration" comes from. Personally when I say "I need inspiration" I either google things related to the topic that I am talking about or I walk around the place I am in till I see something that is relative to the design that I am working on. Then I take the essence of that idea and build on it till it becomes something creative, so I technically reproduced or let us say "recycled" many essences of ideas and combined them into one. If my source of inspiration knew that I borrowed an aspect of their design and reproduced it would they consider it "copyright theft"?

    I would actually like to put myself in the source of inspirations shoes. If I put my work for the world to see and someone comes by and gets inspired I would be thrilled to know that I had inspired someone, but also curious to know at what extent? because I think there is a line to borrowing from inspiration, if the essence and the feel is taken then it won't be a problem, but if the font and the pictures were taken without permission/ sources that is where a copyright issue forms. That should be the only copyright issue in our days. These rules of copyright were practically created for people who plagiarize, also for people who do not source the place where they got their ideas from.

  6. We live in a world that is so full of ideas and rich in creativity that as a young and growing designer, of course we recycle ideas. Existing aspects of design can be used in other ways to create more beautiful things. For example, one could be inspired by something as simple as a font. They see how it is used, or see the colour it is set in, take that, and create something with it. Now just because they did not make this font themselves, or create this exact shade of colour, does not mean the said designer doesn’t own the design, or lack in originality. It is a fine line to draw when dealing with originality and property, especially in a field such a design. Everyone is here to create pieces of work, but starting with a blank page, or even given free range to do anything is a difficult task. We have to be inspired by something. We are visual people who need to see things in order to imagine new things.

    Last year in the information 1 class, we were subjected to many visual aids. We were given countless examples of Nicholas Felton and how he has created his identity using his infographics. His fonts are similar in each report, and used in a similar manner. He has a sophisticated colour palette and knows how to get his information across. With this class being the first of all information classes a designer in the YSDN program can take, of course the final projects had a lot of aspects that were very similar to that of Felton. With this being said, every project was still different and unique. We were inspired by what we were shown.

    Design moves in a manner much like clothes. There is fads and trends that are constantly changing. Everyone wants to come up with the newest trend, whether it be recycled from the past, or something modified. When this new idea is set in motion, there are countless people matching what is happening visually in design. There will always new trends, but the aspect of originality may just be taking something already done, and changing it slightly.

  7. As a designer, we strive to produce design that is original, we strive to contribute something that is original to have a sense of worth. This goes back to chapter two’s discussion about equality. As I have stated in my response to chapter two, we strive for inequality among other designers, we feel the need to be different. However being original is often rather difficult when most things have been said and done. So as designers, where do we draw the line between copying ones idea and building off one’s past idea? In some cases, we take “ownership” of someone else’s ideas, but we also credit the previous “owner”. But how can we be sure that they were they were the original creator of that idea? As a designer, there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from developing an original idea, but even in these cases our ideas are not 100% original. We subconsciously build on past ideas that we have seen through our studies or even through previous inspiration.

    From the consumer’s perspective, the idea of ownership is completely overlooked. Consumers have begun to steer away from actually consuming products. Many people have begun to download music, movies, tv shows, books, etc. which completely ignores the idea of ownership all together. As consumers we sometimes completely forget about giving the producer credit, but what happens when the roles are reversed? As a producer (designer), we expect full ownership and creditability for our designs.

    Why is it that originality is so highly valued in our society when it is so difficult to produce original work? How can we differentiate between original work and influenced work? As a designer it is especially hard to design without taking any influence or inspiration from previous work. Although we often take aspects of other designs, we are still giving it our own personal originality. We get a sense of originality through our particular design style, which is what sets us each apart.

  8. In the time I wrote this two other comments were added, so in writing this I only read as far as Mona Ayyoub's comment.

    The comments above suggest that with the large amount of media that has been produced by this point in time it is hard to be original and impossible not to be influenced. I believe that originality, while not easy to accomplish, is not so difficult or rare as it has been made out to be. It really depends how we define original.

    Every idea comes from somewhere. I do agree that it is impossible not to be influenced by that which is going on around us, therefore, for originality to be possible, it cannot be dependent on being free of influence. While originality can come from new knowledge, I think it can also come out of applying old knowledge in new ways to do something that has not been done before.

    Hip hop music, for example, was heavily influenced by funk and soul music, but could hardly be considered unoriginal. Rap itself came out of DJs talking into a microphone while their beats were playing, then eventually having other people come to MC for them. This progression can also be seen when we look at other musical genres that have developed over the last century. It is impossible for them to have developed spontaneously, and without the influence of earlier music, but they are undeniably different. If they weren’t, we would not have given them their own genres.

    I also think original work can be achieved by adding to something in a way that fundamentally changes it. Even though the work is not entirely new, the sum is greater than its parts, and that sum is original. This is evident when we look at the iPod. When it was released, even with its large price tag, it was selling out. The technology, however, that made it possible already existed and was already on the market. Apple did not invent the mp3 player, but they did redesign it in a way that made it useful, easy to use, and appealing. The iPod is still seen though, as an original product (the fact that it is known by the name iPod and not Apple mp3 player seems to support this).

    What is important when considering the originality of something is how much it adds to its influences. If it is a reproduction; how much does it differ from the original? The work must add something new of its own. If it is simply gathering the ideas of others and presenting them it is not original. But if it can bring those ideas together in a new way that could convey a new message I would say that it is. Hannah Höch’s Cut with a Kitchen Knife… could be considered original. While the work it presents is not new, and does not add its own new imagery, it does take these images out of context and gives them new meanings. It is also one of the first instances of collage, at the time an original way to put together a composition.

    I do not think that referencing to literary works or artworks have to take away from originality. They are a way to add in subtext in a more efficient way. When used properly they authors can bend the works’ original meanings to help support their own.

    And finally, why is originality important? It does not have to be. But throughout school we are taught that it is. We should not plagiarize, or copy other people’s work. This is for our own good, so that we can develop our own thought processes. If we are not encouraged to explore our originality, I believe the potential to generate new ideas would be significantly limited. We are taught the skills we need, and given the opportunity to apply them however we want. Encouraging original thought encourages progression.

    -Taylor Powell

  9. Originality is something that is not common in our society today. Consider most movies made in the past five years. They are sequels, movies derived from books, or reproductions of familiar stories told in different ways or in different timeframes. In a world that consists of people who don’t want to limit themselves to any one talent or hobby, people can easily count themselves as artists, authors, etc. So where is the value in an original? Are things that garner more attention today, usually mass reproduced by multiple people? Things like parodies and memes on the Internet have created a new construction of originality by taking a common idea and putting a different face on it. Social media in general is an easy way to take something thought to be original and making it your own, reproducing it. So what is the draw to the original? If it doesn’t exist anymore, what exactly does design create?

    This fetish of the original is baffling. It seems to be an internal view in some ways. If you have a piece of artwork in your house, does everyone who views it know that it is the original piece? It is possible that others may think that it is a copy or print, but it matters that you know that it is the original. Even when a copy would suffice because it is identical to the original, people long for the original because it holds some internalized meaning. In today’s society, it seems to mean great wealth if you own an original artwork or photograph, or even a piece of designer clothing. Everyone can still access the image or artwork online and appreciate the original, but there is this idea that to own the original is truly owning and appreciating the piece.

    Is it possible to create anything original anymore? Everything we see and take in as a viewer influences us in some way. So everything we produce would be a reproduction of all the things that influence us. How then, can design reproduce originals without copying them? Is it a matter of being influenced by so many originals that there isn’t just one that the design draws its direction from? Design becomes the reproduction of old ideas, but I think that old ideas used in different times and contexts can mean different things. So design needs to be molded to fit this idea of reproduction in a world of no original ideas.

  10. Originality – is a very tempting word for a designer, I believe. I think that originality is valued more than things like technique, time spent or attractiveness, these days. It is a good motivation for many designers but sometimes I feel that because I want to create something unique I end up creating something quite the opposite or something that is hard to understand for the viewers. Sometimes I wish that other aspects of design would have more value than originality, but I guess because we are located in the time when everything could be accepted, almost any design can be sold for thousands of dollars, originality is highly valued.
    I believe that we want to be original, but use what was created by others due to two main aspects: time saving and available technologies. Time is a priority in today’s society; nobody has time for anything. Therefore spending years on one design work is not possible in most of the times. Because design has become so closely related to the business world where time plays such a big role, designers in many cases look for ways to save time and get more outcomes. Technology makes it very easy for designers to find images, texts, websites, and anything that can be shown on the screen. This is an attractive aspect of technology for many people. At the same time however technology makes the designer focus on its somewhat limited abilities and prevents many people think outside of the box.
    Studying at YSDN I have come to realize that design is much greater than a simple combination of text and images in Photoshop. I have learned that it is very important to bring all of one’s abilities in art, painting, drawing, photography, music and even dancing and combine it with the modern technology. When you do that it is not necessary that your design would be very original but it will have a piece of your soul and therefor would play a much important role for a designer.
    Certainly through reproduction, a piece loses some of its originality but what can live forever without being introduced to new opinions, situations, ideas and changes? I believe that it is a designer’s must to use innovative ideas and especially design elements but considering the fact that we are so overwhelmed with technology and time it is not surprising that our first priority is to be original and that it seems so difficult sometimes.


  12. I think it's ironic Michelle used "a piece of designer clothing" as an example of original. Fashion is interesting in terms of copying, that you can use a style of pocket pleats, or a cut and use it within your own design. Very much like you can use a designers type, or a certain fold, or photograph and use it within your own design. I actually found this video a couple of weeks ago, I am glad in came in handy. According to the video, allowing designers to copy forces them to think more creatively. In order to differentiate themselves in a large market.

    I do not believe ultimate originality exists. While when someone says something is original, has often been done before, however how the designer has used his/hers resources is original. A lot of times people are recognized as "original" simply because that is part of their image.

    Also, this is a video of fashion in the future (1930's) and their predictions of what fashion would look like today. It's somewhat accurate, and shows how predictable design can be.

  13. Yes, originality is hard to come by. Yes, most things that are created are a pastiche of another (which is likely a pastiche of another).

    As fledgling designers, we are learning to problem solve. We are given problems in the form of our briefs, and it is up to us to determine the best solution. Fortunately for us, we leave in a time where we are bombarded daily with both good and bad design, and we can further our learning by observing this work. Our exposure to the work of other designers is a wonderful thing—it inspires us, and can often unblock our creativity and get that juice flowing. Remembering that we are in school to learn is a crucial element in not wondering why we aren't as great as we aim to be. Originality at this stage of the game might be impossible to come by. So for now, it's pastiche, mimesis, reinvention, innovation, whatever you want to call it. Even after we make it out of school, it will still hold true that art imitates life, and we've done a fair amount of living so far, so we can expect for our work to reflect our environment.

    This is not to say that everything that can be done has been done. I know that some people believe that we have already experienced every direction of art (be it realism, pop art, expressionism, etc.), but it is important for us to remember that just because we haven't thought of anything original (most people haven't), doesn't mean that we can't, or that we won't. I think the key is to keep working, to keep trying new things, and to not be afraid to make a few ugly things.

    I think that currently we (and by we, I mean the creative field as a whole) are in a lull. Right now, to be intentionally cliche, there is nothing new under the sun. I feel that designers specifically are hesitant to test new waters and that we are comfortable in the safety zone of tried and true practices. Fortunately for the mundaneness of this predicament, art and design are cyclical. Some brave soul is going to put himself out there and showcase something that none of us have seen. Or maybe, we will see a hint of something, somewhere, that sparks a creative surge and maybe we become the next Carson. Because there is nothing new under the sun, until there is.

  14. The idea of originality is a tough one. I'm sure many other people like myself struggle with issues of feeling over derivative in their work. The constant appeal to influential thinkers, other people's work, trends and staying current all contribute to work that invariable becomes host to a plethora of ideas that were not originally conceived y the creator themselves. however, often in terms of making something appealing to an audience, they must be able to identify with that meaning that it is not an entirely foreign concept to them. Yet ideas must be molded enough that they appear new and as such generate excitement or appeal. Ultimately the quest for originality becomes a catch 22 cycle especially if you want to communicate with people. The permeability and automaticity of brain function and thought processes only further complicating the matter and making pure originality mere myth

  15. Being original is something we all strive for but as everyone has pointed out; this has become an incredibly difficult thing to do. In the process of the need to keep intellectual property to ourselves a-lot of industries have stifled the creativity that is possible in a shared collective.

    We see the effects of this in the movie and music industries. This argument has become almost cliché, however it stands for a reason. They are so concerned with stopping consumers from sharing films and music that they have created mechanisms that reduce the markets that are quickly becoming available to them. Consumers have resorted to piracy as a means to get media in a way that makes sense to them.

    We as designers need to get away from the idea of keeping an ‘original’ idea in order to move forward. By sharing ideas and openly making them available we can collectively produce designs that make sense in today’s markets. We see the benefits of this in web design. Most web tools are available for free and the Internet is a better place for it. Without open source tools we would not have as many highly dynamic websites available to everyone. This site may not be beautiful but the blog infrastructure behind it has given us the opportunity to share ideas in a clear intuitive manner.


  17. While I completely agree with everything everyone previously has said about originality not being important nowadays, as a producer, it’s scary to what level unoriginality is accepted in our society as the consumer. Yes, there is no originality left in this world, everything is recreated/appropriated, and ownership has changed its meaning in the world, but there is a certain level of creativity that is involved in even appropriating someone else’s work. I can’t tell you the amount of clients I’ve have that give me a CIBC brochure, and say, “This is what I want. Can you put my information into this design?” They don’t even want a new design. Many designers will do this for clients. And it’s acceptable. They will get paid for this, and will continue to do exactly this for many other clients. But something like this doesn’t give that re-designer the ownership to the work. They haven’t done anything original at all. Just slap a few different colours, different images, and call it their own work. It’s a sad truth of today’s society.

    This happens in art as well. Every famous painting we’ve ever seen has been reproduced so many times, that we lose its original value. We can copy it, repaint it exactly, and call it our own. I repainted a part of Seurat’s Le Grande Jatte in highschool, and I called it my own, because I painted it. Not him. It wasn’t my idea, but I physically did it. Photographs that I’ve taken are just inspirational ideas from things around me. It’s literally a copy of my surrounding environment, from different angles.

    I think this is definitely something to take charge of, and accept, for there will always be people who completely copy, but then there will always be people who add value onto “original” pieces of work. If a piece of artwork is being reprinted and distributed, there can only be more benefit than harm in spreading the piece, in whatever shape or form. The original’s piece changes in meaning the more people take artistic liberty with it, and each individual piece becomes more complex and meaningful in the end.
    I think this does liberalize us to some extent. We are given the freedom to exercise our creative liberty without having to worry about creating something ‘original.’ The meaning of original nowadays has changed to somewhere along the lines of exercising your artistic liberty. Everyone uses inspiration from various sources. We get our information from various places in our life, and the way we mash it all up creates something ‘orginal.’

  18. Jeez.

  19. From what I’ve seen in the majority of the comments I’ve read, people seem to think originality has been “lost”. That in today’s Mass Media culture, there is no escaping influences in your design and ideas. Well, personally, according to the definition of originality that seems to be shared among many of my classmates, as void from exterior influence, without anything else contributing to it; I don’t think “originality” could ever be attributed to a single person’s idea/design at any point in time. Sure, with Mass Media at large, it is a lot easier to notice the sheer amount of influence around us. However, even back in the 1900s, Einstein wasn’t a recluse, shutting himself in an empty, void room. He met other scientists, he read books about theories, etc. He was a genius who came up with ground-breaking inventions and theories; however, there is no doubt that others helped inform these discoveries. Does this make the ideas less original? To me, originality seems to spring out of a collision of collaborations. It is transforming the influences around you into something different, unique in its selection of particular influences.

    Everything we create and think, and it has been this way for centuries, is a culmination of what we experience around us in our societies. This includes shared ideologies, values, aesthetics, and morals. What was it that Roland Barthes said in his essay?
    “Text is a tissue of quotations drawn from
    the innumerable centres of cultures… The
    writer can only imitate a gesture that is
    always anterior, never original. His only
    power is to mix writings, to counter the ones
    with the others, in such a way as never to
    rest on any one of them”
    The same can be said for design. The same could be said for anything we create, really. We build our ideas and designs from and on top of each other. What Barthes describes as a writing process, “mix[ing] writings... in such a way as never to rest on any one of them,” depicts this idea of meshing personal, unique influences to create something that is neither of its parts specifically, and entirely original in its own sense.

    As for the idea of reproduction, reprinting and its effect on the idea of “the original”… it honestly confuses me as well. The original, while often materially no different than its reproductions, seem to hold more value. We attribute some idolism to the original. Perhaps only because, in the Industrial Age of mass production, the original represents something rare. Despite what I said earlier about originality being a collaboration, people often do not feel original. They are fully aware of the Mass Media, Globalized culture they live in and they feel like a tiny dot in the masses. Owning something rare or unusual separates a person from everyone else. It makes them more “original”. And so, to me, I guess the real reason most people strive to obtain originals is so that they themselves can feel original. They can have something that no one else can.

  20. (sorry about the formatting above, I wasn't sure how the quote would pop out when published)

  21. Is there any professional field that doesn’t have problems with ownership and reproduction? When thinking of ‘the opposite of design,’ chalkboards usually come to mind. That means the sciences and maths. But even math and science have original work that needs to be referenced, (though hopefully not in every equation.) What I mean to say is I guess I’m realizing now that when stressing about having to cite everything in my design work—and cite it properly—I can’t really feel too badly for myself. No matter what you’re doing in life—writing Wikipedia articles, testing Freud’s Theory of Relativity* or working on Good Magazine’s info graphics—using others’ work is a part of what we do.

    I remember being told that an effective form of improvement in creative fields is to copy something you like as much as you can. Obviously that doesn’t mean people should try to profit from someone else’s ideas, but I think the idea is that by copying something, you are practicing skills that you can then expand on in your own original work. Where do design trends come from? Did everyone individually decide that indie album covers would look great with illustrations and hand-drawn text? Did one person draw all those album covers? No and no. Is it a problem that there is now a go-to style for an ‘indie’ look? No.

    I also remember being told to ‘think outside the box’ more times than I can remember. I always understood that to mean I had to come up with a brand new idea, with the mere thought of trying to think up something stressing me out. Putting aside how difficult it would be to create something completely original and unlike any other work, what’s more important: designing something new, or designing something effective? Again, I don’t mean ripping off someone else’s ideas is okay as long as it creates effective design. But do think there is something to be said about what’s already been done. The people who design Apple products are doing something right, and if no one is allowed to build from the ideas or the design principles created by them, what’s to be said about the future of industrial design?

    *that’s how much I paid attention in grade ten science.

    This isn’t exactly related to my point, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it while I was writing. “…imitation is the most sincere form of flattery so I thank you.” –Dwight Schrute, The Office.

  22. I'll also acknowledge the irony of posting a clip of a TV episode that was illegally (I'm assuming) uploaded to YouTube.