Product designer John Skewes has a wonderful story on his blog. Several years ago (2002, I think?), he designed the product shown here, a tiki soap-on-a-rope. He says it’s probably his favorite among the products he’s designed, because he got to come up with an original design (rather than using licensed characters), and he’s a tiki collector himself.
In his post, he walks through the process of coming up with a unique-but-still-true-to-tiki tiki design, finding inspiration in his own mug collection — and he touches on how plagiarism has always been pandemic in Polynesian Pop. The tiki soap sold pretty well, and as happens with tiki designs, it started to show up in other places…
…like these tiki lighters. Which explains why when I first started reading his post, I thought “hey, that’s the tiki lighter!” Some scoundrels totally stole the design! John even lines up his original concept sketch with the lighter, and bang howdy, it syncs right up.
As if that weren’t enough — John’s soap is one of the examples shown on a website demonstrating the effectiveness of a 3-D scanning tool… which was probably used by the folks who ripped off his design for the lighter.
John takes it all in stride, and is quite flattered. (Don’t take that as a sign that it’s okay to take his, or anyone else’s, designs — it’s bad juju!) Be sure to go check out his whole post, it’s always neat to see a tiki lover getting to bring their passion to work.
- The Tiki Odyssey [John Skewes’ blog]