How to Prevent the Theft of Design Work

Designers tend to showcase their designs on the internet for the sake of gaining awareness. Internet happens to be the only portal where awareness generation can take place at absolutely no cost, which makes the portal popular amongst these designers. However; as it is said that every deal comes with a price, in this case the price comes out to be ‘theft’.

Many graphic designers have been prey to the theft that takes place online. Also, the job appears to be pretty simple. A designer works on a unique design for days, uploads it on the Internet while feeling a rush of pride within, and wakes up the next morning only to find out that the design has been copied. All the efforts go in vain when an incompetent designer copies a design, within hours of it being uploaded, while accumulating the praise that wasn’t meant to be his.

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Many of these incompetent designers may name this theft as ‘obtaining inspiration’, however; there lies a fine line between the two. Inspiration calls for seeking help in creating a design. A person looking for inspiration will always search for good ideas; jot them down on a piece of paper, find a unique element to integrate into the design, and will make sure that the design does not look similar to any of the pieces from which inspiration was obtained. On the other hand, a thief will most likely pick a single design, change a few of its elements and would be done for the day.

Now the question that arises here is how to prevent this theft from taking place?


– Disable the Save Button

A lot of sites allow the designers to disable their right click button while simultaneously disabling the save button. This may partially help designers to prevent their graphic pieces from being stolen, however; a determined thief will definitely find another way of achieving the same, like using the print screen option. The print screen option can easily be used to print everything that is visible on the screen. The thief can then simply crop the unwanted stuff while saving the design they wish to use.

Disable the Save Button - design work secuirty


– Placing a Watermark

Another viable idea, of preventing theft, is to place a watermark on the design. It may make your design look a bit ugly but it would definitely prevent the stealing of the design to a certain extent.

This idea for theft prevention may prove to be successful if the thief is a layman, however; for a person equipped with good Photoshop and editing skills, this idea would be useless. These watermarks can be easily edited and removed through editing. However; the larger the watermark, the difficult it would be to get rid of it.

Placing a Watermark - design secuity


– Add Copyright Warnings

Adding copyrights means making the thief aware that the graphic work belongs to someone else and they aren’t, by any means, authorized to take it for their own sake. The copyright option may prevent an unconscious thief, someone who does not know that stealing is unethical, from doing so, however; a conscious one might not restrain from it.

Nevertheless, the copyright may help the designer to prove his/her point in the court later, in case if the issue is dragged to that level.

Add Copyright Warnings - design secuirty

Final Verdict

Theft is a very common phenomenon over the internet which cannot be completely prevented. The preventive measures, as mentioned above, all have their limitations and hence, aren’t the only ones to rely on. In fact, there is nothing a designer can do to avoid his/her idea from being stolen except for not placing it on the internet in the first place.

Therefore; if you are a designer and plan on uploading your design on the internet, beware of its consequences as well.


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