Let me state that I am not implying that anyone one pictured above is copying anyone else. They may look similar but they are executed very differently in-turn creating an original design. But how many times have you worked on something only to have someone say, I've seen that before.
You work long hours, sketching, creating mind maps, the design is not quite there yet, slight tweaks, different typefaces, flipping the image with the text, making the fonts bigger then smaller, make the photos bigger then smaller, bolding fonts, epiphany strikes, then eureka an original design. Then someone looks at it says, that's looks okay but I saw the same thing in such and such magazine. You turn to them and say, What are you crazy? I worked on this for a month this is my original idea. They turn to you and say yeah sure it is. And then they show you something that they think looks exactly like your design but not really. You explain to them calmly what makes your design different and original but they still don't see it and say, no its the same thing. FRUSTRATION STRIKES...
But I too am guilty of this - About a month ago I met up with 2 friends of mine they handed me their company's 2009 New Year's card, that they designed (Q Collective-check out their site they are great designers and a source of inspiration for me), the 2009 card is pictured above on the top left. When I saw it, like an idiot I blurted out, "wait I've seen this before." I didn't mean to make it sound like they had copied it from someone else, even though I'm sure that's how it came across, (in my defense I was drinking and had no tolerance for alcohol at the time). But I felt horrible that I even said that. That night when I got home I looked at a couple of sites that I had looked at earlier that morning (the images that are on the top right hand side are the ones I saw that day). They have some small similarities but they look nothing alike. And that is the point.
Is it hard for people (I speaking of non-designers) to actually see the difference? You can explain it till you are blue in the face, they still don't get it. Does anyone else run into this problem? How do you or did you handle it? Email me letting me know, at firstname.lastname@example.org - I'm curious to see how many people run into this same problem.