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Subject: Re: UKNM: Worst website sins
From: Ray Taylor
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 10:36:32 +0100

Sam Michel <samatchinwag [dot] com> said:

>Surely, borrowing good ideas and enahancing them is a way of moving forward
>a site's design. Much as I hate to admit it, haven't Microsoft endured by
>'borrowing' (insert your own term here) other people's ideas and making
>them their own?

Ideas are no man's property. So anyone who's ideas are borrowed or even
"stolen" has no right to complain, only to be flattered.

All design is by its very nature derivative. Designers are not original
artists but crafts people (artisans, to use an old-fashioned term) who use
established ideas to present something to an audience that is already in
essence familiar to them and that they are therefore comfortable with.

For a web site designer to copy what one site has done in whole or in part
would be reprehensible at the very least, actionable at most. But to see a
good idea and want to use the same idea to produce something else is the way
most designers actually do their work. And the sum total of the knowledge
that has been acquired and developed by designers amounts to the "rules" of
good design. These design "rules" are often stretched, sometimes turned on
their head, but never ignored in good design.

Because the web design industry is lacking in maturity, this body of
knowledge is still being developed, and the rules are not yet known too

Ray Taylor
Professor, History of Art
University of Life

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