Design Elements: The Fine Line Between Inspired & Copied

Design Elements: The Fine Line Between Inspired & Copied

In today’s information age where everything is one online search away, an original idea that comes from scratch is truly a rare gem. More often than not, old ideas are recovered, recycled, and reinvented with a few minor tweaks to make them seem like new.

Everyone has probably been there—drawing inspiration from the previous works of others, all while being careful not to copy them. But, sometimes, without intention, we cross into the latter.

Jewel Changi Airport Not a Copycat

A few months ago, a case of copying accusations came to global attention when the Qatar Airways CEO accused Singapore of plagiarising the design of the newly-opened Jewel Changi Airport, likening it to the ambitious airport expansion project in Doha.

In defence, the architect behind the $1.25-billion complex within the airport was firm in saying that the concept for the nature-themed hub was created exclusively for Changi Airport Group (CAG) in 2013 and thus, couldn’t be a copy of the recent Doha project. The Straitstimes also reported that the firm has not done any project in Qatar

SG0040-HS225 Jewel@Changi Airport(1)

When Does Copying Turn into Plagiarism?

When copyright issues come up, we can’t help but ask, “exactly what’s the difference of copying and taking inspiration from? The truth is, there’s a fine line between plagiarised and inspired—whether it’s in architectural design or personalised gift ideas.

Every idea branches out from something original, but not all ideas came out from scratch. An artist subconsciously picks up ideas from several inspirations and come up with something new and believe that he came up with them. Simply put, everyone is a copycat to some extent.

It gives an explanation to a Vincent van Gogh quote, “as an artist, you are only a link in a chain—whatever you find or whatever you do not find, you can find comfort in it.” It explains how artists are all links in a chain, building on previous ideas and leaving behind new ones for others to build on after. Copying has always been part of the tradition of how arts and design are constantly transitioning and evolving.

But, here’s what separates a copy and inspired art.

SG0040-HS135 - City In A Garden

Copied and Inspired: What’s the Difference?

Think of inspiration as a string of ideas that you have picked along the way and put together to create something new and wonderful, all while injecting your signature spin on it. Copying, on the other hand, is seeing something and doing the exact same thing—no originality, no personal touch.

Being in the corporate gifting industry, we can’t remember how many times we’ve heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But, we beg to argue that copying is as good as stealing, to say the least.

Here at Arch Heritage, we take pride in keeping to our core values: passion, originality, and artistry. We believe that every brand is different and while we take inspiration from our surroundings and other existing design elements, we see to it that the finishing touch to our corporate gift products our signature twining vines motif.

Inspired with a mission to promote an appreciation of the Singapore heritage, we have been providing unique gifts and collectables that feature the city’s iconic landmarks and structures to name a few.

Visit our website or our gallery today.

Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard,
West Wing, #02-336,
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 9817 3161
11.00 am to 9.00 pm

Capitol Piazza
13 Stamford Road, #B1-13
Singapore 178905
Tel: +65 9739 3161
11.30 am to 8.30 pm


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