The artist, Picasso said “Good artists copy but great artists steal”.
It’s a quote many artists and designers have come across and it concerns the originality of an idea. Picasso understood that an idea does not simply pop into existence but is instead grows over time. The ideas you have can either be consciously taken from seeing a great idea at work or moulded in your mind from a lifetime of sights and experiences.
The distinction Picasso makes with this quote is that by stealing you knowingly take an idea and reinterpret it for your own needs to create something new. But by copying you add nothing of yourself and instead simply reproduce the original in the same form you found it.
At Bronco we never knowingly copy the work of others; instead we look at the online and offline world for inspiration in forming designs that are unique to our client.
Though our commitment to this is unwavering we can sometimes be approached by prospective clients wishing to reproduce the successes of their competitors to the point where they would wish to copy the design of their competitor’s website.
Not only would doing this have legal implications but copying the actions of competitors might not return the same positive results for another business, no matter the similarities between the two.
In these instances we explain the reasons why copying isn’t the best course of action. Even if a business is wishing to copy the website of a close competitor there will always be differences in the philosophies of companies as well as differences in the customers they attract. This means that what might work for one company will not necessarily work for the other.
If someone was copying the website of their competitor then they are no longer putting their own customers first; as should always be the case. Instead they’re putting the customers of their competitors first, hoping their existing customers will stick around and that they might be able to attract people away from their competitors.
When designing and building a website careful consideration is given to providing solutions that best suit the business and its customers for which it must serve. Whilst copying a design means you ignore these important points by stealing ideas intelligently you can utilise the ideas of others in a way that best serves your business and your customers.
When looking at competitor websites it’s best to look deeper into the reasons why a company has made the decisions it has. In doing so you can identify the strengths and the weaknesses of another website and this then informs your own decision making. In the case of strengths you reinterpret them to suit your goals and your customers and for the weaknesses you identify how to make your website better and then hopefully attract new customers through providing a better service.
It’s not enough to reproduce the work of your competitors and hope customers will change and start using your website, service or product. You have to offer something better or something different that makes you stand out in the eyes of potential customers.
Only in offering something that a customer will find attractive would they choose your product or service above all others.