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» The Letterville BullBoard » Letterhead/Pinstriper Talk » business ethics question (Page 2)

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Author Topic: business ethics question
Neil D. Butler

Member # 661

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Jon You had me going there for a minute.. I don't think that there's anything wrong about showing a prospective customer a magazine and asking them is there anything in here that you like?, or anything in here that you had in mind? No I don't agree we should just copy it. No! We should never claim others Ideas as our own, or even give the impression, but getting motivated by others is not a crime.. we just might as well give up all the meets that everyone attends. And I'm not suggesting that anyone on here reads that into the original post... but showing customers other peoples work for Ideas is not wrong.. posting it on your website is, claiming it's yours is, showing it as an example of work that you'd like to try is'nt... as long as it's made clear that it's not yours. I guess we all agree on that.

"Keep Positive"

Neil Butler
Paradise, NF

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Bobbie Rochow

Member # 3341

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Jon I am in TOTAL agreement with what you are saying. When I first started out, that is exactly what I did, I would go thru Signcrafts & find different styles & ideas, then I would start designing from the inspiration I got from other's work. I NEVER copied anyone's work, I always came out with something totally different than what I was studying.

And now, when my brain seems to be in "deep freeze", I go thru my old Signcrafts & boy do I get inspired! It thaws me out & gets me going!

I also once showed my customer/pastor pics of sandblasted dimensional residential signs that I thought were so beautiful, & he told what elements he liked best & I went from there. But his sign I produced looked NOTHING like the ones I showed him!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Word in Signs
Bobbie Rochow
Jamestown, PA 16134



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Bill Lynch

Member # 3815

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Thanks Jon, that's exactly my thoughts.

Bill Lynch
Century Sign
Hamden, CT

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Jane Diaz

Member # 595

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To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
Steven Wright
[Roll Eyes]
I think you can only include what you DID in your portfolio or webpage. Anything else in unethical.

I AM confused here though, with the way you started this post with "Have any of you ever taken pictures from magazines or the internet and put them in your portfolio? Well, I have..."
and then later get indignant because people are getting upset with the fact that you are doing that.

[ February 20, 2007, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Jane Diaz ]

Jane Diaz
Diaz Sign Art
628 W. Lincoln Ave. Pontiac, Il. 61764

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Russ McMullin

Member # 5617

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My understanding was that Dawud was trying find the proper way to generate new business, without being unethical. He even stated he felt bad about ways he had done it in the past, and it seemed to me he wanted to know what method others felt was best. I don't see a reason for this level of wrath and righteous indignation in his direction.

Russ McMullin
Tooele, UT

My mind wanders. And that's not a good thing, 'cause it's too small to be out there alone.

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Jane Diaz

Member # 595

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I agree with you Russ, and that is why I am confused...It seemed like he said he DID use others work, and then later he said he didn't...I guess that is where I'm confused. He meant he didn't ANYMORE!

Jane Diaz
Diaz Sign Art
628 W. Lincoln Ave. Pontiac, Il. 61764

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Raymond Chapman

Member # 361

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It all depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

Chapman Sign Studio
Temple, Texas

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Rick Chavez
Member # 2146

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I may have come off a little too passionate but at least I'm in good company......

I could re-word it but the point would be lost....I have quite a few books and mags myself and use them for inspiration and research on every sizable job I do.

What the hell, I'll give it a shot....
In my limited experience, most clients will not give a hoot who did what. Giving them magazines and books of other peoples work to thumb through prior to designing anything for them "could"...note I say "could".... compromise a sign persons position for doing original work in the clients and publics eye. I know we all do original work, but it may not look like it to the clients that you are trying to get paid enough to justify your original design.....

I'm sure there may be an interpreted twist in that comment but that is not what I'm trying to say but could care less how it reads since some people are prone to reading into things...

Rick Chavez
Hemet, CA

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Dawud Shaheed
Member # 5719

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Not that I like public scrutiny because if I or any of us were TRULY being scrutinized we would find in ourselves in a bit of a mess,
but to clarify things since my name has come up quite a bit here, Yes, I have used other peoples work as inspiration and even showed customers pictures of others work to generate ideas in their minds. It's clearly wrong to copy someone's design or claim you did something that you didn't do. I knew that when I made the first post. I apolagise for my poor choice of wording when I composed that post because it caused such a furor. I am glad though , that we had this discussion amongst ourselves because I learned how serious and important a persons design is.
I never claimed anything I've ever shown a customer that wasn't mine to be mine. I want to set that straight. I'm new to much of the business and I haven't done much else other than window splashes, vehicle/ wall lettering, and mdo signs thats why I decided to post what I did, unfortunately , I didn't explain myself well enough in the beginning.

I received emails from some of you that were encouraging and even a phone call that I appreciated. And I'm not upset at a single one of you, I should've explained myself better in the first place.

Dawud Shaheed
Sign Scientist
Durham (triangle area) N.C
919 685 7641

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Bobbie Rochow

Member # 3341

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Dawud, I have to tell you that you do better than many of us, not holding a grudge. I think to be honest, I would have been devestated to read some of the posts on this thread. (I have avery soft heart!)

I think you have shown honesty & yes, integrity, in explaining what you have done & asked how to do things right.

I sure hope you do good in your business. And I pray the Lord will give you such creativity & inspiration that you will not even need to glance at another sign mag for inspiration, it will all come from YOU.

Hope that was ok to say.

The Word in Signs
Bobbie Rochow
Jamestown, PA 16134



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John Deaton
Member # 925

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In the front of my dirty little shop is a small showroom. ON the counter I have my portfolio, and everything in it is work that I did.
I also have several issues of Signcraft laying there for people to look through to maybe see a style sign that they like.
I never copy shapes or styles, but instead, take what they looked at and show them what I can do.
Duwad, if you put pics of other peoples work in your portfolio, that was wrong. That you felt wrong is testament to the person you are.
It is very unethical to pass off work done by someone else as your own, but you know that, and stated the fact that you knew it was wrong.
I think it was a pretty good question to ask, and you got some great answers, and some not so great. Some of you people get your panties in a wad over the smallest sh**.

Maker of fine signs and
other creative stuff.
Located at 109 N. Cumberland ave.
Harlan, Ky. 40831

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Deri Russell

Member # 119

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Ok look Dawud- I know you came here, the BB, for inspiration. So do we all. We also buy magazines and books for inspiration. I have a whole book shelf of them. If a client walks over to my bookcase and says "Hey can I look at these?" By all means, go right ahead. I've even had a client borrow some. I go through them when my creativity has hit a low. And I flip and flip and flip pages for hours ad nauseum. But as others here have pointed out the reason is to get the creative juices flowing. To look at great designs one right after another does improve your design. And that is always a good thing.
When I first started going to sign meets there was always a portfolio table. And I spent most of my time sitting looking at portfolios. Good bad or indifferent it was very educational. And I always threw my humble little 'folio into the fray for others to look at too. But lately I have not seen as many portfolio tables. And it is because of missing pictures, and stolen designs. Pictures of signs done some time ago are very hard to replace, if not impossible. And that is just sad. Particularly at a gathering of Letterheads.
Sign Magazines and Design books are there to inspire and enhance our trade. WE learn from them, not our clients. And they have contests and we learn. And they have how-to articles, and we learn. Not to mention the advertising. And you may look at a sign in them and say to yourself "geez- that navy, coffee and cream with the bright purple inline really stands out, I like that." And it sticks in your brain, and you learn.
And you put a thread on the BB that has a heading Business Ethics Question and you learn. I didn't mean to jump all over you like that. I am one who sees a fire and runs right over and stomps it out. My feet are only a size seven but sometimes I have 13's. I'm sorry Dawud.

Once again -I don't want any emails! [Roll Eyes] (like oh bawwww you are just a mushy puddle or anything! I was apologizing for being a bee-itch, I still stand on the ethics question.)

Deri Russell
Wildwood Signs
Hanover, Ontario

You're just jealous 'cause the little voices only talk to me.

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Cheryl Lucas
Member # 1656

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All said, you might find some interesting advise here if you posted a new topic about portfolio's, in general.

It takes time to develope a portfolio, especially when starting from scratch, in a new location, with the desire to expand your abilities.

I've been to numerous Letterhead meets, sitting at the portfolio table in awe over awesome craftmanship and supurb presentation. There is definately good advise to be had from the many folks here in Letterville.

The most impressive portfolio's I've seen where uncrowded, with large photo's as well as blow-ups of detail sometimes lost in the big picture. Some, had sections for specific types of work, some had a brief type written explaination of each particular sign/job. Some, were not pages upon pages of like work, but instead a showcase of their best work.

We all have to start somewhere. If your portfolio isn't quite what you'd like it to be, do something to spruce up what you already have and make it look impressive and professional.

Educate yourself in the area's and products you would like to work and ask good questions when interviewing your clients for a job. Questions, that will leave them feeling confident in your ability.

If you want to create work in a specific area, tell the client the type of work you want or "like" to do. Carving? Gold leaf? Dementional? Sandblasted? Airbrushed? Antiqued? Murals? Tell everyone! The person you are talking with may not be interested, but at some point in time, more than likely your name will come up when they know someone who wants what you have to offer.

Get yourself a digital camera if you don't already have one. Take pictures of each job you're doing that's along the lines of where you want to go. If you're doing a job that requires special materials, tools or techniques, take some step by step shots. Some, may be interesting spotlights in your portfolio as well as an aid in explaining a higher price for your work.

Something my mentor once told me:

"There's nothing new under the sun, it's only a matter of how you rearrange it..."

Good luck to you in developing a portfolio you are proud of.


'a Dixie Letterhead Reunion'
Fort Myers, Florida

Cheryl Lucas a/k/a "Shag" on mIRC
Vital Signs & Graphics, Etc.
Cape Coral, Florida

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