The highest form of flattery?

Creating a new design always involves a recombination or evolution of existing design patterns and styles. It happens ever so often that one is inspired by another site’s design and that certain aspects are carried over into the new design – albeit in a transformed and adapted way.

This is the reason why web design galleries exist and we are both proud and flattered that our current design has been featured in numerous galleries last summer, for example here, here, here, and here.

A different matter, however, are pixel by pixel rip-offs. The software developer Panic, for example, has gathered a whole collection of those.

Yesterday one of our users (thanks Vitor!) pointed us to a complete rip-off of our current web design. It turned out to be the most blatant one I had ever seen. See for yourself:

I not only had quite some fun dissecting what the plagiator did do or rather didn’t do, I also learned a lot in the process. I am happy to present to you today our new tutorial:

Learn how to become a kick-ass rip-off artist in 8 easy steps.

  1. Be sure to use the same color scheme. This makes Cultured Code users feel right at home.
  2. Pay attention even to the smallest of details, like the little silhoutte icons in the navigation bar, the smaller dollar sign... Only cowards cover their tracks.
  3. Treat inconsistencies with respect. The original designer must have had a reason to use Helvetica in the navigation bar and Lucida Grande for everything else. (Which reminds me of something I forgot to update when I changed the whole website to Lucida Grande...)
  4. Don’t even think about changing one pixel of an icon. You don’t want to mess up someone else’s work. Also, keeping the same filename makes maintenance a lot easier in case the original website updates their graphics.
  5. Paying hommage to Panic’s Transmit truck is a must for every serious rip-off artist.
  6. If the original website doesn’t have a contact form to copy, create your own. It’s not that hard. You can do it!
  7. And for those who still don’t get it: Leave one link unchanged to prove beyond any doubt, that you must have completely copied the entire source code.
  8. Claim a copyright.

What can we learn from all of this? The bold variant of Lucida Grande looks kind of nice in the sidebar. We should try that too.