Design Originality?

This may seem like a weird question or topic-- but how can you make sure that your idea hasn't been made before? I'd hate to spend time on a design thinking it is original, only to find out it has already been created on some level. (I don't mean stealing or ripping off the ideas of other people) Does anyone have any experiences where that has happened to them? Or any suggestions on how to avoid that situation?

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Morkki profile pic Alumni

You can try an image search on Google using various keywords. Or you could ask here, chances are that someone will have seen it. It does happen all the time and probably happens to everyone at some point!

Wharton profile pic Alumni

This happens all the time, I've done it, people have done it to my ideas, its just one of those things. Usually a quick search will reveal whether a design has been done before. I haven't used the search function on threadless for a while as it has been out of order since the new site.

Ideas do just get reused, rehashed and recycled, but I think as long as your idea has a fresh take on a concept and is technically different then theres not usually an issue.

blackhand_ profile pic Alumni

Yup, what they said. But so help you, if you ever consciously copy a design and submit it as your own, the wrath of the entire Threadless (we're not quite dead yet) community will descend upon your head.

I find this happens more with pop-culture ideas that are peddled on other sites.

NDTank profile pic Alumni

If you check out an idea and don't find anything, go with it. If someone calls you out and you agree with them, own up to the mistake and move on.

Jordan_Bender profile pic Alumni

It's happened to me before. Whoops. I just admit the mistake and just forget it. I thought I had a great idea with "mustachio" (pistachio+mustache) and googling showed me how many other people that had already done it haha

brainrust profile pic Alumni

It's really tough, so many ideas have been done (even some really crazy and obscure stuff)! What's worse is that you can't always find them online because they may not have the sort of keywords you use in a search. Just go with NDTank's advice I guess!

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

asking in the forum definitely is a good safety measure. Even if it turns out later that the idea was done before, you have the thread to show you were working in good faith and didn't mean to copy. That said, many similar ideas are worth making again, as long as there are sufficient differences in style/ concept. There are lots of major themes that have been repeating successfully since the beginning of Threadless.


Thanks to everyone who shared feedback or stories! I had a lot of concerns about this, but all the advice helps!

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