A friend and co-worker of mine at BusinessOnLine, an SEO firm, Ronnie Garcia is a fine web designer, nice and clean, and not a bunch of fancy stuff if he feels it is not appropriate. Since the company we work is also a good usability company, he knows when over doing a design is too much and when it is just right to place the right elements of a page into it’s design. Below is a screenshot of his personal website.
Design stolen exactly how it looks like, mainly just minor color changes
Now as of current blog press time, there is another website stealing his design, depending on the time you read this, you may probably not see the same design if they decided to change their design. But as time of writing, this German website Webteque.de just copied the site almost exactly the same.
Even the minute web design elements on the page, all the same
Check the calendar date of the last article.
The menu, contact form, headers, subheaders, breadcrumb, links, sitemap link, all the same.
Take a closer look at the stolen web design, check the links
WTF, *LOL*, he copied the exact same links. Clearly, this is not how to steal someones web design. Actually that is how he found out, the links were aside from being popular web design related pages, they were also linking out to friends. And one of them, Usability Expert Jegan Chen pointed this out saying he noticed WebTeque.de linking to him and appeared in his referer logs. It was Jegan that told Ronnie about it.
Try to appear more legitimate with an older copyright year.
He just stole the web design and is not yet finished, and claims to have a copyright on it since 2008. Well just for the benefit of the doubt, you can say the copyright was for the content and not for the design.
Inspiration or Stealing?
I had my share of active web designing days from 1997 to 2006, today I do more SEO work now and with some occassional web design and development side projects and I guess many web designers have looked at other websites for “inspiration” where you take a few things here and there, but never have I did a straight out copy of everything and just modify the code. To me that is stealing already, but of course this is my opinion and I know this is a debatable issue. Some can say the Internet is free, the source is free, whatever, but I think in design, there is a clear distinction between a stolen copy of a design and a design inspired from some other design. What do you think?