Ask DN: The Unsolicited Re-Design

9 years ago from , Runs OnSite.io, Freelance Designer, Etc.

Prompted, in part at least, by something I saw on dribbble over the weekend, I'm curious to understand the wider design communities thoughts on this.

From the Apple Store re-designs to the identity 'tweakers' does existing design work automatically become public property as soon as it is released? To be amended, re-skinned, altered and then posted as your own work, comment, or blog post?

Is there an invisible line somewhere? Is it ok to re-design Facebook, but not ok to re-design someones personal app?

The idea that designing something whilst not being privy to the brief, client demands, internal politics, budgetary and technology constraints has been fairly well covered. I'm more interested in the ethical considerations of 'improving' other peoples work without invitation.


  • Matt SistoMatt Sisto, 9 years ago

    I like them, on the rare occasion that they explain why they made certain decisions etc.... When it's more than just a superficial re-organization and skinning exercise.

    4 points
    • Rob GormleyRob Gormley, 9 years ago

      That's a good point. It's more intellectually honest to say you 're-skinned', not "it'd work so much better this way", which is a presumptuous and condescending approach to what may have amounted to many hundreds (or more) of hours of A/B testing, planning, discussion, user testing to come to conclusions that you just happen to disagree with. Then again, maybe none of that happened. But it's quite the exercise in ego when it's accompanied by a "look-at-me" style blog post that says "And this only took me two hours in Photoshop, and it works ten times better!".

      1 point
  • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    From the employee perspective

    If you know enough about designing proper interfaces, sure you'll be fine. It's a great way to get something into that empty portfolio.

    However. If you go and make an arse out of yourself by pretending your re-design is almighty... expect to find one of your feed ableedin'.

    From the employer perspective

    They're AWESOME. They give you a great idea if you're about to hire an idiot or a genuinely smart person.

    1 point
  • Brian A.Brian A., 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    Are they good? Yes and no. I think that most types of creative exercises that get your brain working are beneficial in some way... provided you put some legitimate thought behind what you're doing. Slapping some Proxima Nova and flat buttons on an existing site for the sake of getting some Dribbble likes is pointless; taking the time to sketch, write, and generally put some thought towards existing problems and potential solutions is not.

    1 point
  • Mario Borna MjertanMario Borna Mjertan, 9 years ago

    I'm probably late to the party, but I like them. While they probably aren't based on research or anything, it helps us get ideas for future redesigns, and we might just steal an idea if it's really good - say, if someone had a better idea how to implement a character limit.

    0 points