Steal it all

Stealing any good ideas lately? You're in good company then.

As Pablo Picasso said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Now, I know what you're thinking. Steal? That doesn't sound legal. But hear me out.

What Picasso meant by “steal” was that great artists take inspiration from their surroundings, and then use that inspiration to create something completely new and original. They don't just copy what's already been done, they take it to the next level.

Must say, I am a bit puzzled by Picasso saying: “good artists copy”. Copying art is a dirty word in our business, isn't it?

Left what Picasso saw at a museum and right, his painting shortly after.


Picasso's explanation has been echoed by some of the greatest innovators of our time. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, famously quoted Picasso in a 1996 interview, saying: “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Similar to Picasso, he meant that Apple would take existing ideas and technologies, and then use their own creativity and innovation to turn them into something truly revolutionary. And that's exactly what they did, with products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad completely changing the way we interact with technology.

In contrast, Microsoft shamelessly copied Apple's operating system and called it “Windows”.

How about our work? We've always been very critical towards our design team, when it comes to using inspiration sources. That has led to our high standard of “highly” original design. We insist on originality in combining ideas, trends, and colors in a new way.

Here's a design by our intern Laura, with the inspiration source.


For us, making designs and coming up with new color combinations has been a process where we learned to position ourselves in a way that we always find inspiration quickly. 

Above, made by Mirah: design "Donny" and the inspiration source.

Another quote, attributed to Arthur Bell, for us is just as accurate: “Creativity is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. You simply need to work hard for it. Whether it is visiting design shows (Milan here we come!), going through design magazines, or browsing online, you have to put in the hours. Having trained as a designer and years of experience working in fashion and pattern design helps a lot.😉
And when you found inspiration, you still have to start creating a design, translating your idea with Photoshop into a repeat or panel image. 

A floral design by Yodi, and our own studio plant as inspiration


In the age of Artificial Intelligence, stealing inspiration might become easier. AI algorithms can sift through thousands of images, patterns, and designs in a matter of seconds, helping designers come up with new and innovative ideas faster than ever before. Creating designs with AI is a different matter.

We feel we have to create something truly unique and original, and create it with our design software, to make it useable for our clients. A second reason is that we need to ensure copyrights to our clients. Design by AI? Designers work replaced by prompt engineers?

It's not clear what will happen next. How will AI technology work out for us creatives?

Remember, years ago, when people were shocked by what you could do with digital design tools, like Photoshop? Now, some of our designers “paint” on their I-Pad. We found a way to work with that, without it destroying our creativity. Will AI simply be a next step? Not sure yet. 

What do you think?


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