When you need to come up with something, whether it’s a logo, a book, a graphical concept, or a song, you often think along the lines…is it done before?
It’s natural. You don’t want to be blamed for plagiarizing, for copying someone else, you want to come up with something completely original. But its very, very difficult, because almost everything’s been done.
Or has it? And does it matter?
I’ve thought a lot about this through my writing adventures, sensing vaguely that the ideas for my books aren’t terribly original (although they don’t contain vampires and zombies from other galaxies) and what I’ve concluded is that it doesn’t matter as long as they’re good.
Just look at the music industry. They take an old song, polish it, put a new beat and a fresh voice on it and voilá – in some cases it’s better than the original. I would say this is an extreme example, since it’s actually taking something already existing, but as long as the end product is good, they don’t seem to care so much and neither should we nor the listeners.
I think writers and other creatives should think the same way. If you come up with an idea for a concept that you think is good, but hesitate to do it because it’s been done before, then maybe you’re cutting yourself short? Why would it be such a sin to do something that’s been done and make it better or just slightly different? As long as it’s not a total rip-off of course…
In the end the product is judged by it’s quality, a book by it’s writing and it’s storyline for example, and although originality plays a part, it shouldn’t overshadow the sum of all its parts.
So I’m going to ignore those thoughts and focus on creating something good instead, whether its a logo or campaign concept at work or the books I’m writing on the side.
Because in the end it all boils down to if it works, not whether it’s been done before.