Friday, 31 August 2012
I could make that myself.
That sentence is something that we hear a lot on Domestic Sluttery. Heck, some of us have even said it ourselves. It's never said with malice, it's never done with the intention of doing a Paperchase, but it does say something about the design industry and how we view independent designers, illustrators and makers.
We're not going to pretend that all design is excellent (Regretsy does an excellent job of surprising us on that front), but when you look at a product, you're seeing an end point in a process. You haven't seen the initial idea spark, the first drawings, the material sourcing and the creation. A lot of time goes into that. A lot of thought. That's a huge part of the job of a designer - whether it's a shark laundry basket or rude bunting - there's been an extensive creative process involved to get there.
But on the flip side of that, independent design can get expensive. While we absolutely think that designers should charge for their time, small print runs and making by hand push costs up. Often higher than some of us can afford. It's understandable that if you see something simple on Domestic Sluttery and you're a little bit crafty, you might try and whip up your own version.
So where do we draw the line? Vintage dress patterns are all the rage and no one has an issue if you follow one of those. Soy candles in teacups aren't really something with a copyright and you can do craft classes to make your own. When is it OK to 'make that yourself' and when is it hijacking someone else's hard work and creativity? Every creative idea starts somewhere, every artist is inspired by something, but the initial inspiration moves forward to create something new.
We're stuck in a strange place between high street and indy. We want original design at high street prices and that's not easy to achieve with quality. Often it means designers and illustrators running at a loss while they're trying to build up a following. Is the answer to this for the high street shops to be more keen to work with smaller designers?
Should we be making our own versions of Coulson MacLeod originals just because we can't afford our own? Is it OK if we're inspired by something rather than doing an exact copy? Surely if you're not selling the piece you make yourself then it's fine, right?
We're not sure what the answer is, but the Domestic Sluts debate about this behind the scenes a lot so we thoughts we'd open up the discussion. Do you make your own versions of work you've seen elsewhere? Or are you a designer who shudders at the words 'I could make that myself'? Grab a cup of tea and let's have a bit of a chat.