As designers, we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are minor, some are major. Some of them are accidental, and some are the direct results of our poor decisions and actions. Well, I recently made a very big mistake.
Yesterday, I received a very stern email from Peter Boyd of PaperStreet Web Design1. He informed me that the free PSD template that I was offering as a free download has violated copyright laws. He mentioned that it was a direct copy of ClarkSkatoff.com2, a website that they designed for their client.
I was shocked!
Sometime ago, I was very busy with freelance work and I needed help. I found someone on Craigslist who had pretty low rates and who seemed to know much about web design based on our conversation. I immediately hired him as a freelancer.
I didn’t even check to see his portfolio or his website. I was still new to freelancing at the time. We did a couple of projects together and all was fine.
One day, I was asked by a friend to design a website. I went to this individual again and hired him to design this site for me and I would do the coding. He came back to me with a very nice design. I was impressed. The site looked great. I presented it to the client, but unfortunately, he didn’t really like it. Fast forward a few months forward and I stopped working with this freelancer as I found out that a site that he designed for me was copied.
The other day, while looking for something to give as a freebie for Design Informer, I found that website that he designed that didn’t make it. I decided to offer this as a free download.
Well, turns out that website was copied from PaperStreet’s portfolio. Not only was it copied, but it was copied from a lawyer’s website designed by a law firm design company. I can definitely get sued.
When I found out, I immediately deleted the template post and emailed all of the commenters about the mistake that I made. I then notified Peter of the steps that I took to rectify the situation.
I don’t blame him, I would have done the same thing. By the way, he was very respectful in his emails to me and he handled the situation perfectly.
Here are some thoughts about dealing with your mistakes:
- Admit that you messed up. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Don’t try to argue or lie. Just be transparent.
- Do all you can to right the situation. If it means having to email all of your readers and let them know that you messed up, then do it. Ask the person who you have wronged what you can do to make things right.
- Learn how to apologize. Say sorry! That word goes a long way.
- Be polite and respectful. Most likely, after you have wronged someone, they will be pretty mad. There is an old Proverb that says,
"A soft answer turneth away wrath."
- Realize that while you can’t go back and change the past, you can learn from your mistakes and move on.
What horror stories do you have as a freelancer or blogger? What are some mistakes that you have made and how did you fix it? Let everyone know by leaving a comment below. Oh, and it would be a big mistake if you don’t follow Design Informer on Twitter4 and submit to our RSS feed5.
- 1 http://paperstreet.com/
- 2 http://www.clarkskatoff.com/
- 3 http://www.paperstreet.com/blog/index.php/archives/2101
- 4 http://www.twitter.com/designinformer
- 5 http://feeds.feedburner.com/design-informer