Google "inspiration v. stealing ideas" and you'll find lots of other people have been talking about this same thing for like forever. In fact, even the quote "Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal," widely attributed to Picasso, was probably stolen from someone else.
So, I'm inviting you to join me in setting yourself free from the fear of stealing.
|Image from LiveLuvCreate.com|
I am inspired. A tie, a card, a book cover, a tray of fancy chocolates, those gingham curtains next to a floral print that I just noticed on an episode of Law and Order called Acid? It's all out there. Embrace it -- it is human, it's a good thing to be inspired. We need it.
Copying every element of a design is boring and not attributing a copy to someone else is unethical and sometimes illegal (I'm still startled when I see this and I see it all the time). It's the execution, or the little extra something that makes it our own that makes it fun (not necessarily better, because we can be inspired and still make something awful). But taking an element and running with it is not stealing. It's being inspired. Sometimes I don't know the difference, but I try and respect others and that is the best I can do.
So put gingham and florals together. The set designer on Law and Order wasn't the first, or the last, person to do so and didn't feel the need to let us know.