Outside the Oxford Circus branch of Niketown in London there’s a typographic wall installation in one of the windows. It’s a direct imitation of Lou Dorfsman’s iconic masterpiece gastrotypographicalassemblage. Obviously it’s an homage to the original. Nike have created their own original, stunning work over the years and they have more than enough credit in the credibility bank. It’s very beautifully done but I still prefer the charm of the Dorfman’s.
It does beg the question though, when is something okay to copy and when is it not? Maybe it’s okay when something is so well-known that it’s obvious to everyone. Maybe it also helps that you are one of the biggest brands in the world doing the copy. Perhaps the passing of time also makes it more acceptable. No-one criticizes you when you create something in a Victorian style. I guess the lines blur when the work being copied is newer and you’re trying to pass it off as original.
Where do you think the line should be drawn?