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Copying another websites design/style: is it ok?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Ryan Kent, May 25, 2011.

  1. Ryan Kent

    Ryan Kent Well-Known Member

    A general question. I am trying to learn more about HTML, CSS, etc and am stretching a bit by trying to build a website for a friend. If I find a website with a home page design that I like, are there any legal issues with using that design as a rough template for a new site?

    The sites are completely unrelated as they cover completely different industries. I would estimate about 70% of the overall design would be kept. Colors would be changed, images changed, of course the text would be different, etc.

    I don't want to break or even bend any laws.
  2. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Contact the site in question and ask them - they may be fine with it, or they may not.
    Onimua, thewizard and Brett Peters like this.
  3. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    If you are changing everything.. start afresh, and design your own :) Not only will you not be violating anyone else, but you will have all the fun and reward of the full creative process ;) If you need any help, just ask here, there are some very helpful people here with great design and coding skills.

    No problems with being "inspired" by a site, but actually downloading and using as a template is not the way to go.. in order to truly understand a site you are building.. you need to actually build it yourself...not use someone elses' work as a basis... and it is surprisingly quick and easy if you have the right information, or help if you get stuck :)

    My two cents :) (as someone who has had whole sites/designs ripped and reproduced or regraphic'd and colored.. I hate it.)
    Peggy likes this.
  4. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

  5. Peggy

    Peggy Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with Kim.
  6. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    Just to point out.. please actually do read the article.. because it does not advocate stealing, despite the attention seeking headline :)

    Completely agree with the above quote from the article linked.. I find inspiration everywhere in very strange places.
    jmurrayhead likes this.
  7. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    I used to download other people's site pages to find out how they'd done things - to learn the technique, figure out where they'd used CSS for things etc. - but never directly copied, just used them for learning and then applied what I'd learned to my own clients' designs.

    The other option - if you're on a deadline or restricted budget - is to use pre-designed templates from sites such as Template Monster. You get a pre-build structure to add content to, and can learn from them too (although they're not always tightly coded).

    I'm not sure - legally - where you stand with web site designs though?
  8. iTuN3r

    iTuN3r Well-Known Member

    That's what i used to do few years back even gave proper credit to original creater but slowly i lost interest in such ideas and started playing around designs and learned my way to create basic styles on my own . Now i just take my time and create my own design and use it .
  9. User

    User Well-Known Member

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery. However, do note that imitation does not equal duplication.

    Obviously there are only so many changes that can be done to some things as some design elements are essentially universal and hence the code for them will be the same (i.e. CSS round corners). I found a landing page design on someone's page that's very appealing to me. I am going to use it. Obviously my graphics will be different as well be my colors and my logo, but the basic design which is basically a landscape orientation rectangle within a landscape orientation rectangle with two action items within that nested rectangle will be the same.


    I will change some of the positioning and the width to what I think it should be, but the basic design will be the same. Yes, it's intentional that it looks like a robot head with two slot eyes! ;)
  10. Shelley

    Shelley Well-Known Member

    Inspiration in the 2011 claus
    If you are hell bent in retaining 70% of the sites design then leaving the copyright in with an added byline saying copyright to original author extensive modding or some garbage like that by user x (which I notice alot of people do and is perfectly acceptable).

    Depends really, but asking the author is always best.
  11. Wuebit

    Wuebit Well-Known Member

    I always get ideas from other site, Than go on to design my own one :) heh that's just me tho.
  12. TheLaw

    TheLaw Well-Known Member

    Some might say that monetary compensation is the highest form of flattery. Frequently I'll get posts from people trying to rationalize that their infringing conduct should be fine if they put a link or provide some recognition to an original author/artist who should be thrilled by the publicity (while he/she collects money for selling the derivative work.) There is a noticeable difference between being inspired and utilizing ideas and concepts to virtually copying.
    Kim, John, Kier and 1 other person like this.
  13. Ryan Kent

    Ryan Kent Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for the feedback.

    I am more then willing to compensate a style maker. I am also happy to offer credit in terms of a link or similar form of recognition. Your thoughts have been helpful. I'll finish the work in the next couple days, then contact the appropriate party. I have never taken on a challenge like this, and it has been a great learning experience even if I don't use the design.

    With that said, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I very much enjoy coding and am quite proficient at it for the languages and software I use. HTML / CSS / JS is new to me but I am getting better each day. The one area where I am not getting better is creativity or design. I was born without those genes. I have trouble drawing a stick figure. The best I can do is grab smaller pieces where I take good ideas from 5 different sites, throw them together and then I guess that is good enough.

    My sincere respect to all those creative artists amongst us who create such beautiful designs.
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Well-Known Member

    I hear ya on that one ;)

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