Dear Preston: A Client Called Me a Copycat in Front Of My Entire Team!

-1Dear Preston:
A client recently came into my office and I was thrilled to show her some of my work. Her response? “You spend far too much time on Pinterest. These are not original at all!” I was mortified. Worse, she said these hurtful words in front of my entire team. Please tell me what you would do.
Accused of Being a Copycat
Dear Accused:
My first question is pretty simple: are you a copycat? Do you spend too much time on Pinterest? I think your client was a bit rude to embarrass you like that in front of your team. If she felt that way about you, she should have had the decency to say it to you alone without subjecting you to that kind of humiliation.
That said, Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration and it can also create a space for a lot of lazy designers. One of the things I love to see is someone taking one of my designs and doing them better than I did. For me, this showcases someone being inspired and then improving on the work I did with their own talents. I have also heard many florists and designers complaining that clients will bring them my book and then ask them to copy an arrangement for $500 when I sold it for $3,000. I have seen a few designers accept that challenge and be inspired to create amazing work. As a designer, it is important to only use Pinterest as a source of inspiration to improve or give your own interpretation, but never to copy.

If you are not a copycat, you have nothing to be embarrassed of. Your client was wrong and your staff knows this. If you are, take in the lesson that it is now time to start challenging yourself to create your own stuff. Just a word of advice: be patient with yourself. Five our of every ten designs I create never see the light of day. My clients do not choose to do them. Do not be afraid of making “bad” designs either. As long as you are searching for the one design your client will love, you’re on the right track.

Question: Do you think this designer is being too sensitive? Also, I would love to ask those of you who have been inspired by my work to post your design interpretation. I would love to see what you have created.