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Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal

Article by By Cameron Moll

Pablo Picasso, the first living artist to be featured in the Louvre, influenced the artistic world in a uniquely original way. So why is he known for saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal”?

It’s true. Picasso really said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Or at least, since his death in 1973, everyone believes he said that.


But why? Why would someone as original as Picasso say something as ironic as that? And what did he mean? Google Picasso’s quote, and you’ll find plenty of opinions and interpretations as to what he really meant.

My intent here, then, is to uncover one possible interpretation. This interpretation involves three levels of design, each of which:

1. involves some aspect of copying or stealing,
2. shows increasing design maturity, and
3. adapts Picasso’s quote to modern graphic design.

Three Levels of Design

To help you understand my reasoning, I’ve segmented this interpretation into three levels. Are these the only three levels of design? Of course not. They’re only a guide to help improve your design maturity as related to copying and stealing.

I’ve included short case studies to effectively demonstrate the primary concept at each level -- at least, that’s the intent. You be the judge as to whether or not they’re effective examples.

Full article can be read on Sitepoint.com

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