Do I look at other people's designs?

The answer is yes. This question was asked of me by someone but I will also 'Hurry to add' that I am very careful about what I look at and how long I look at them. The reason is simply. Often times when we look at something to long or with too much interest, those images, words, etc are imprinted on what some people call our subconscious mind. These images (bikes) or words will creep out in ways we may not recognize. In our speech, writings, design, etc. Before you know it, you think you did something that was your own and creative when the truth is that because you viewed images, words, etc for too long, you are actually plagiarizing somebody else's work. This may or may not be done on purpose, but the result will be the same!

My inspiration for design never comes from other designers, but my inspiration comes form such places as the fashion industry, car care accessories, etc. Strangely enough, sometimes it comes from seeing the simplest things. For instance, I saw someone wearing one of those huge shiny, silver Rodeo belt buckles one time. You know the ones cowboys wear around and some of them seem as large a a saucer? I saw how one looked and I thought to myself "That would make a hot bicycle design!" A few days later, a design of mine I call 'Beasty' was born. Granted, those things are steel and unrealistic for what I am doing, but the inspiration was there. Another time I heard some one's name that I really liked, 'Emraphael', a few days later, a design baring the same name was born. My point is that design is all around, slow down and notice.

I read once that there was some design copying going on with a few of the major bicycle manufacturers. The way they go about it is they all pretty much get their bicycles manufactured in some of the same factories in China. If you don't know, China is the hugest copyright offender in the world. Bootlegging products is a way of life in China. Everything from music to fashion to movies, etc. I struggled to understand why anyone would really care about what the competition is doing, but what I remembered is that the reason they are concerned is because 'It is the competition!' What an epiphany right? Nevertheless, sure I am a nobody as design goes right now, sure the odds are stacked against my designs ever making it to market, but where most would see that as a position of weakness, it is actually a position of strength!

When this thing does go down, no one will ever see it coming. To wrap this all up, I do not spend much time looking at other designs because the truth is that I do not care what they are doing! What they are doing is irrelevant to me and small designers all over the world. Please do not think I am arrogant, because that isn't who I am (anymore anyway). I just realize that there is a higher plain of bicycle design that can be achieved. Not these futuristic bicycle concepts that win awards at the Taiwanese design competition every year but aren't relevant or practical for mass production (Although there was a design called Wild Buffalo that is HOOOTTTT!) A higher plain doesn't always mean more sophisticated, or more gadgets on the bike, etc. A higher plain in my mind simply means 'More relevant to the culture to which it is targeted'.


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