Risk of Copying Famous Companies’ Designs


It’s natural to look at the biggest, most successful organizations for design inspiration. After all, they must be doing something right to become so successful. But copying a well-known company’s design isn’t always a recipe for your own success.

When it comes to specific design features, something that works well for a giant consumer e-commerce company is not necessarily going to work the same way for a smaller retailer. 

The big company’s design probably assumes that people already know and trust their brand. If your audience doesn’t already know your brand and needs to learn about and choose between a few products, that’s a different design problem requiring a different solution.

The other big reason to be cautious about copying a famous company’s design is nobody’s perfect. Even big companies sometimes make mistakes. 

A lot of leading companies deliberately experiment with features that they know are risky with the intention of removing them if they don’t work out. Just because a design is in use by a famous company doesn’t mean that it’s good and you should copy it

A big company may sometimes have a bad feature as part of their product for years. It may not even notice the effect because its strong brand and customer loyalty outweigh any negative consequences.

But the smaller companies can’t assume that users will stick with them even if their designs are hard to use. 

So, look around at well-known designs to get ideas. 


Before you go out and build them into your design, consider whether they really fit your context and test them to make sure that they work the way you expect them to.



1 Comment