A Web Designer’s Thoughts on Taking Inspiration From Designs As Opposed to Copying Them

If you want to make a name for yourself, taking inspiration from a respected designer is fine, but never commit forgery.

It’s common for new web designers to take inspiration from their colleagues that they look up to. However, there is a difference between taking inspiration from someone’s work and copying it. Sometimes it’s a fine line that isn’t always clearly defined and that’s why some designers are accused of forgery.

Here are the differences between getting inspiration from a website design and copying it:

Codes Within the Design

Chunks of code within the original project is called a template. Copying that code makes it faster for you to place important features within the website. However, you should not use this as an excuse to copy everything. If you do copy chunks you should keep it as minimal as possible.

On the other hand, using a chunk of code from a design for inspiration and applying it to your own in a different way is not forgery. For example, using an already-made unlimited scrolling feature code for inspiration to achieve an unlimited scrolling feature on your website. All you need to do is edit the design and technique to enable the viewer to use unlimited scrolling. This technique will then be unique from the design you got the inspiration from.

The Color Scheme

Copied color schemes are usually taken from a different website. It often contains the same color as the original work – even if some parts of the website look different.

There are numerous color schemes that you can explore. For example, using a combination of warm and cool colors can be a basis to create your own palette for your website. Using unique color combinations can help your site stand out from the crowd.


The credibility of your web design can be harmed if you forget to mention the web designer the chunk of code was copied from. Not mentioning the original designer can be considered as plagiarized code for the copied part of the web design template. It also can be an inherent risk to partake in this practice.

If you choose to use a chunk of code as an inspiration, just use the original code as a basis to create the feature you desire. You can then say it’s an original work since you used your own skills to make something new from an old piece of code.


These are the notable differences that should be remembered to help you identify whether your website design has features that are inspired by a different design or simply copied. Avoiding the latter will help you be unique and stand out from your competitors.