Being Copied, being accused of copying and how to create your own unique brand identity

Copying is a complex issue and you may find that although on the surface it looks like someone has copied you, when you look beneath this may not actually be the case and there inspiration may have come from a variety of other sources. It is of course not a nice to feel as if you have been copied but on the reverse footing it is equally not nice to be accused of being copied. A copier will usually not have the creative imagination to produce original items and will just follow on the back of someone else’s successes.

Since I began making toys I have not only thought others have been copying my designs but I have also been on the other foot and been accused of copying someone else’s design. The design in question was the larger of the two monster’s pictured above that I had made for my son’s 4th Birthday. When I was shown photo’s of another ladies monsters their were similarities in the design to my monster however they were by no means a direct copy of hers. Firstly I was not even aware that this person existed and I had never seen pictures of her monsters before. Many of you know most of my creations are developed straight out of my head usually as an illustration first and then developed into a toy from there. In this instance my monsters had been based on a drawing that my son had created especially for me to make his birthday monsters. The colours and fabrics for these two specific monsters were chosen to co-ordinate with his bedroom decor and some bedding accessories I was also making him. So in this instance copying was of course was not the case!

Here is my son’s drawing where my initial inspiration came from…

I was rather mortified to think someone had accused me of copying and although these two specific designs were exclusively for my son I had planned to launch similar monsters as part of my new collection of monstroubles. Since this occurrence I decided to take some time out and I have now amended my designs even further to ensure that they do look different and to create an even stronger brand identity for my new collection.

It is most important as a handmade artisan to find your own unique selling point and create your own brand identity that your following will relate to. There are a vast number of people now making handmade goods/toys and such especially due to economic climate we have been in the past few years. There is a place for us all and it is really important to respect others in the same business.

If you suspect someone of directly copying your design style, first take a deep breath and think look at the evidence and then if you wish to pursue the matter then it is best to make sure you gather all the appropriate information first to back up your claim before jumping in all guns blazing.  With this in mind below is a variety of useful documents to help offer some practical advice on the subject of copying.