Well things like unique, one-of-a-kind, might come to mind. But with the amount of information and works of art out there today can that really exist? I always try to achieve something that is original but there is no way for me to truly know that something almost identical exists elsewhere. The same goes for anyone. And in this day and age, we are victims of media onslaught. Visuals, messages, are absorbed from all 6 senses and it’s hard to keep it all straight. Where do the ideas come from? From our own brain or a breakdown from a message? And now we enter that glorious “grey area”. You’d be hard pressed to find a designer who wanted to openly talk about where their ideas came from and the difference between inspiration and plagiarism.
So all of this came back into full view on my commute home listening to a TED talk.(I highly recommend them if you haven’t and their iOS apps are amazing.) Kirby Ferguson discusses the topic of originality with honesty and surprising evidence in “Embrace the Remix”. At under 10 minutes, it’s well worth the listen.