1. Exhibit one: Quite Strong’s website for their 04/2012 one-day design conference on inspring creativity.
  2. Exhibit two: James Victore’s website for his 09/2012 one-day design conference on “bucking the status quo.”

For context, Quite Strong is a tiny all-female design collective in Chicago. Victore is a big-time designer in New York who’s had two shows at MoMA, won an Emmy, and written three books - he has his own Wikipedia page.

I’m going to go out a limb and say that Victore stole the design of Quite Strong’s scrappy conference, modified it (and made it worse), and is now passing it off as his own work. In Victore’s stylesheet, he describes his site as “an exclusive theme built to power JamesVictore.com,” and adds, “License: Use outside of JamesVictore.com is strictly prohibited.” Right beneath that, he uses the same CSS reset library as Quite Strong.

Now, I buy in to the whole Austin Kleon “steal like an artist" thing and the whole "everything is a remix" jam. But this seems like more than a remix to me. It seems like a powerful, famous designer ripped off a talented design collective in Chicago and did it like a bully. And I hate bullies.

If you’re a journalist and you want to write about this, you can reach James Victore for comment at (718) 963-1690. The rest of us civilians can contact him on Twitter at @JamesVictore.

EDIT: Austin Kleon responds, “So, really, it’s clear he *hasn’t* read my book. (‘Imitation is not flattery. Tranformation is flattery.’)”

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