In a last-ditch effort to get through to them, I asked that they at least change the parts that look identical. They said they didn’t have time to, but joked that they could hire me to do it.
that's some epic douchebaggery right there.
Sorry to hear that. They can steal your design and even experience to some extent but not the vision and learnings you gained as a result of spending time of your life on Cushion, which in my opinion is a beautifully executed app.
They might have guts to copy but not the resilience to keep going. They will fall as soon as they have risen by copying. May the force be with you.
Just an FYI, the poster isn't the author. You should message Jonnie (@destroytoday) on Twitter if you'd like to show some support.
To the author of this app: I know this sucks, but you should keep in mind it will most likely have zero impact on your life or on your business, unless you let it.
There are countless reasons for an app to fail, but "someone stole my design" is not usually one of them.
Just make sure you establish that you're the original author of the design so they can't make trouble for you (that post is probably a good start), and then move on. 6 months from now you'll think this design sucks anyway.
That's true because things change so quickly. I think this is a very good advice.
You can't change people copying you but you can make your shit even better.
This recently happend to me too, I build a web design tool for the Mac and some chumps outright stole some of the graphics from my app, it's so blatant, I'm talking pretty much screen grabs!
I outed them on Twitter with comparison screen shots and a few others joined in to point it out. But they didn't care, guess that's just how it goes.
I got over it when I actually used their product, and realised it was crap.
Wow Jonnie, I was in a similar situation and this old story was told to me
Once, there were two authors Foo and Baa. Foo was good at imagination and Baa was good at imitation. Foo once came up with an amazing story and he began writing it down. Baa copied every word sneaking into foo's house. Everyone who saw Baa's work appreciated him more than Foo. Foo found out, but he didn't fret, instead he asked Baa to finish the story along with him in the public.
Only foo knew how the story ends and how to start the sequel.
Similarly people blatantly copy designs, not its philosophies, and that's where things fall apart. Yes they would make money off your design, but it won't last long. Moreover, Users are getting smarter by the day and at some point even they can distinguish good designs and imitations and tend not to use the service (Eg. Tidal, Apple Vs. Samsung Vs. Xiaomi)
You have the philosophy, so be tenacious.
Oh that's an awesome story, bookmarking it for safe-keeping.
I came along this article and it seems interesting, but I disagree with the dramatic tone the author is using to gain compassion from other readers, going for "rhetorical strategies" to advertise his product and get more traffic. I'm not okay, of course, with people stealing someone else's work, but I have to say the design in question (the one being 'ripped off') is pretty similar to other web applications with minimal styling for the sake cleanness and it can easily be similar to anything else out there.
Jonnie custom built pretty much everything in the app. I think the "perp" in the story claimed that any scaled down version of bootstrap can do the same.
It can't. So yea, unfortunately these guys did straight up rip his work.
That's true, but only partially IMO. The word "custom built" in web standards is irrelevant. At the end an input is an input and a table is a table. Those can be superficially styled using CSS but at the end, those components reside inside the browser. If it was an iOS app for instance, that would make sense, but in this context it hardly does. Not to mention the copiers' app, as mentioned by Jonnie, is a project management service. Means a totally different purpose than cushion's.
Whenever something like that happens, you should be glad. It means your design is inspirational and it's wanted by others. Something you should be proud of.
Once again this is absolutely no excuse, but with the open web we have nowadays, the way you layout a web app doesn't matter anymore as much as the purpose of the web app itself. The author's quote was too dramatic in my eyes. Cushion can be well designed in terms of UX, but at a UI level is very, very normal. That's the era of the flat design which leaves us with less decisions and more coincidences that end up being the trend/standard.
Take this picture for example - The calendar or date-picker looks the same but so what? At the end of the any calendar shows a 7 days columns and a bunch of rows with some number. The fact that it appears inside a pop-over doesn't make it any original. There are - many - examples that if styled to match a cleaner design would look the same, with the same amount of disabled cells with that particular month.
This one looks similar, but I think the copier wanted to make it look different by changing the amount of 'swatches' and the position of the pop-over, from middle-top to bottom-side. Nice try. But would it be ok if they used something like this or like that (pointing at the concepts here).
This one is really similar though. but one day it could be a standard component like the commonly used Bootstrap/foundation alert boxes (http://getbootstrap.com/components/#alerts) - or just like the hamburger icon, which was used widely since its first appearance a few years ago. Not to mention people literally ripped off the animated hamburger icon from Facebook Paper (the one with the transition from hamburger to close).
The author is a smart drama queen I think, making it a big deal. He gained lots of attention and most probably he gained a handful of new signups, too.
From the author, rhetorically:
but as soon as the website finished loading, I knew something was wrong. My heart sunk and a tidal wave of thoughts and questions hit me. I had trouble processing what I was seeing.
They were part of his paid beta and had the gall to ask Jonnie how he coded certain parts of the app. This is about more than the visual components/layout that they copied.
That's another story, but do you think that if a developer asks another developer something, it would be really out of curiosity? I don't think Jonnie gave them any source code and code cannot be dictated. I'm not against him, but you will never know the truth. Not from a couple of cherrypicked screengrabs nor from a couple of paragraphs. Anyone could make the whole story up.
I've seen both apps (I'm a paid member of Cushion) and I'm friend with Jonnie so I've seen the copied application. It's so clear they've copied his application. So far that instead of using Seinfeld references, they used Friends references.
I get where you're coming from but call a spade a spade. These bastards straight up ripped his stuff. The web is open and front-end stuff is available but fuck. These folks didn't even try to make something that was "theirs" aside from using a different domain name.
Sorry to hear this. :( I know you have chosen not to name the imitating company on purpose -- and I respect that -- but this makes it hard for people to judge the extent to which they copied your design.
Although I believe you, it is hard to be objective without the context.
Eh not worth mentioning the site tho since that will inadvertently draw attention, views, clicks, etc.
If someone copied your product and you're both in beta, it's a race to the marketplace. You've got to execute some serious customer development and marketing strategies if you want to overcome this debacle. There's a lot more than just the design that can differentiate your product and establish product/market fit. What about your business model? Does a market even exist? What metrics are important to the business? These are things that you can just "copy".
The way I look at inspiration is this: having the ability to copy, and do it well.
Sometimes it indicates that what you've created is worthy of helping others define their own design standards and pushing them further in their skills and thinking. Sometimes it's a blatant slap in the face to steal customers (as Apple vs. Samsung has made us so aware of).
At the end of the day, know that the hard work of not only producing the beauty and detail in your designs, but the solid thinking and rationale that goes behind every building block is something that isn't as easily matched as replicating a few colors or pixels on a screen.
Keep up the good work. Unlike these chaps, you can be proud of your work. :)
Well said, but I think cushion's purpose is different from the copiers. The author says the imitators made a project management service, while cushion is some kind of schedule manager for freelancer. I don't think there would be any kind of competition between the two anyway.
Ah, I missed that they weren't the same kind of product, but either way, I was speaking more generally.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – https://twitter.com/lolseo/status/597787470168793088
If you spend time creating something great, there's always going to be people that will cut corners and copy it. Not much you can do about it unfortunately. I've had some similar issues over the years but I think it also shows that you've created something that people love which is a great thing - http://www.adhamdannaway.com/blog/web-design/imitation-truly-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery
Been trough something similar but this is way over line! Is there nothing you can do to take this further?
In my case I didn't make to much buzz because what was copied want something I had spent to much time on.
Would it be a good call to report them for copying to all the major search engines?
Does this actually work?
On a side note, you guys should read the rest of the Cushion app blog. A lot of great product design iteration thoughts and insightful user experience experiments.