A recent discussion over at the CSS Vault was recently brought to my attention, and before I power down the computer and make the long drive to Plano to begin my new job, I figured I’d weigh in on the debate.
The visual correlation lies almost exclusively in the horizontal black, white, and cream color blocking. Nothing else seems to be an issue to anyone. It would seem that Aaron has changed the header color to maroon since the site hit the Vault, no doubt in reaction to the numerous comments made about the initial similarities between his site and mine. I can’t say I blame him, and it’s probably all for the best. All things being equal, I quite like the maroon.
My official stance on this “incident” is that I don’t feel “ripped off.” Maybe I’m just in a gracious state of mind, or maybe I just realize that we all borrow design from each other. True, upon first glance the similarities are bold. But they are not many. In fact, the similarities really end with the horizontal color blocking, and that’s not even an issue at this point. When my design got in the Vault, it was briefly compared to Jason Santa Maria’s site. Though I had visited Jason’s site many times, there was no conscious effort to draw inspiration from it. I could see some similarities, but I knew that my inspiration had definitely come from other sources. I am grateful to not have been swiftly judged in a public forum.
We operate in a collaborative environment. We all use code, tips, and tricks developed by other designers or code gurus. I have never spoken to Aaron, so I don’t know if he’s even seen the work that his design is supposedly derived from. And assuming he did, what’s so wrong with being inspired? Using what you see around you in your own work? I think that some of us in the web standards community are sometimes a little too hard on each other. It seems that there is far too much comparing one design to another.
My time is short, so that’s all I’ll say. But am I wrong? Should I be up in arms? Or is my altruistic attitude just the medicine this issue needs?