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Like a Design? Ask Permission to use it

you might be pleasantly surprised

5:35 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I recently saw a design that was ideal for a project and, as I'm technical rather than creative, decided to be honest and tell the owner of the site that I'd like to repurpose his design.

I offered to link to his site as a thank you (from a site which has a good deal of trust with Google).

I got a response that thanked me for asking and said I was free to use the design, I don't even need to link to them! As the site I'm revamping is in a different sector and a few things are changing (colours and fonts) he was fine with it being replicated.

Is this a normal response? Is there anything to learn from this?
7:50 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Can you clarify what you mean by "design" here? As in, a template? A particular image? A pattern? Was it absolutely, positively owned by the website owner?

As to its being common...if it's an original image owned by the person, I'd say "kind of." A lot of people will say, "Go ahead." However, it depends on what the stakes are for the person. The people who seem most gracious with their IP are people who don't actually own it, or people just starting out or dabbling, who don't realize they have valuable property. A small percentage are committed to sharing their IP as part of a larger ethic of "creative commons."

Personally, at this point in time, I'd charge a fee or insist on gaining a benefit, because my IP is my livelihood and livelihoods aren't thick on the ground these days. But if the IP owner doesn't feel he or she has an investment in the design, then there might be no issue with usage.
8:19 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It was the layout for their own site (a design company) which I'm 99% certain is their work. Their images aren't being used but all html and css is being repurposed. The main thing is the way in which it responds to changing screen sizes - that's what really got me hooked on it; nothing ground breaking but elegant.

It did occur to me too that asking someone does not mean you are asking the originator but there are several reasons for me to believe it's genuinely theirs.
3:50 am on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Is there anything to learn from this?

Some people are just friendly.

Some people are flattered you admire their work.
9:31 pm on July 22, 2013 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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It's funny, but some of the best things that have come to me as a result of having websites have been due to being generous, even to owners of sites covering the same space (i.e. those usually known as "competitors"). Most recently, a "competitor" in the internet sense, just showed up at my house and gave me a macro lens because he thought I would put it to good use on my site (which competes directly with his).

I must say that neither of us gain any significant income from these sites, but after I reached out to him and said we should meet face to face because we cover the same topic, he said to me "I've always thought of you as a friend I haven't me yet" precisely because we have so much overlap on our sites.

Had him up to the house for dinner last night. Our lives and websites are richer for taking a collaborative rather than competitive approach and, as I say, given the situation, that makes a lot more sense anyway.

So to answer your question, not everyone has a competition mindset and I have found incredible generosity from random strangers.

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