Many web designers look at other websites for inspiration to help in the design process of a new site. It is not uncommon to incorporate elements from numerous websites to generate a unique overall design for a new website. However, there’s a difference between inspiration and plagiarism. When a direct competitor decides to copy your website design and textual content this is not OK. I have unfortunately had this happen to me recently and it is very obvious that my competitor has studied my website and chosen to copy it. Of the thousands of other website designers based in other geographical locations, they have decided to copy the design of a direct competitor.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to establish who has been copying others work on the web by using the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org – An internet archive that copies old versions of websites so you can view a snapshot from previous months and years.

My advice to other designers who have found a website they really like the look of and want to copy it? Grabbing a design that you like, just to swap colors, fonts, and logos is about as close to plagiarism as you can get. Instead, try to figure out what it is that you like about the design in question. Why do you like it? When you determine these things, rather than using a copy and paste approach, find some inspiration and create your own design.