Instagram copy cats

Bit of a rant here, so apologies in advance to any injured souls. Not sure if there’s a better place for this, so feel free to move it. :slight_smile:

I’ve been on Instagram for a while now, and only recently started a business account. I have a few designers and illustrators I follow around, and sure, get inspired by some of their work. I’m also sure a lot of creatives do the same, and it’s ok to be inspired by other people’s work. That being said, there’s almost a cult following of a few of these Instagram designers, and I keep discovering more and more “designers” on there using practically the same logos, same colour palettes, same fonts, and they all have the same squarespace websites and feeds. I wouldn’t call this “following a trend” either, just copy pasting, basically.

Half of these designers are part of a quite big women-based directory in the US, charging ridiculous amounts for brand design, and most of them are just recycling Creative Market materials and flaunting them on their feeds as their work for clients. So my rant is what the heck happened to the “creative” part of being a designer? Is this not a requirement anymore? Sure it’s the digital age, information age, call it what you will, and yes resources are easier to come by, but jesus, are we really that desperate to succeed as designers without having a creative bone in our bodies? Or is this just a result of today’s pace in the business? Curious where it’s going.

Among all these, I have found one designer who actually keeps reminding others to credit where credit due, she designs her own stuff, and sticks to certain principles. Other than that I’ve days when I think I should seek a less saturated industry. (Perhaps a grave digging business.) :sunny:

How do you know the stuff on Creative Market isn’t the rip-offs?

I think it depends on what you mean by “creative” in conjunction to “designer”. I think an aspect of design is business, and like any business, the company’s that spend tens of thousands to hundreds of thousand into the design process, will come up with “creative” solutions. Small business tend to try and replicate these process at a fraction of the cost. Which I think is where you lose the “creativity”.

These Instagram “designers” may be successful at business. But that doesn’t mean they’re designers. Design is a process that serves a need and solves a problem[s]. I don’t know which designers your following on Instagram, but from what I see a lot of these Instagram artist (not designers) are like the Andy Warhol of design (I call it pop-design). They take an existing design, re-brand it and sell it—like painting a Campbell soup can or Brillo box.

Picasso famously said “good artists copy; great artists steal”. You could apply the same quote to designers, just swap out “artists” with “designers”.

I personally think that creating something that looks aesthetic isn’t creative nor does it make someone creative. I think creativity comes through process—but not all processes are creative. For example, tracing is a process, and what it produces is something that looks good—if you didn’t know I traced it, you’d think I were creative. But the process reveals all. Likewise, a person who creates and sells designs doesn’t make them a “designer” or “creative”. It makes them something like a digital media tracer.

In this day and age people will apply a band-aid to a scrape and call themselves a physician.

Sparrow nailed this one perfectly.

To add to Sparrow’s reply, I’ve been in the industry for about 13 years now. I have to say, I only have the opportunity to use my full creative expertise maybe 15% of the time. More often then not i’m strictly adhering to client guidelines and brand conformity. Or, worse yet, forcing myself to design according to the latest design trends.

I need work done quickly, and approved and paid just as quickly. If the client is happy (and pays his/her bill) so am I. I’ve learned to put my creativity aside, and when the time comes when I feel it’s appropriate, or the client gives me full creative control, I design my heart out.