Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ubuntu designers get "inspired" by button

I was browsing the Ubuntu* site today and I noticed a very familiar-looking green button. I opened up a separate browser window and went over to, and sure enough, whoever designed Ubuntu's website had used the button I created for

Luckily, they'd changed the icon inside the button, since that's a trademark (you'd be amazed at how many software sites use that trademark without authorization, though).

I don't mind this, I don't even consider it stealing. I'm sure every designer has once or twice taken a small element from someplace else and used it, changing the critical parts so there's no major similarity anymore. In this case, if they'd used the icon, it would have been a blatant ripoff (not to mention trademark infringement). If they'd just changed the color, again it'd be a serous ripoff. But when it's just the outer part of a button, a button ferchrissakes, I don't care at all. I mean, it's just a button shape, not a logo or an illustration that I'd spent hours or days on. It probably took me less than ten minutes.

This is similar to the incident I wrote about recently where someone made a WordPress theme that used some of my design elements, but in a way that the result didn't really look like my original design much at all.

* Ubuntu is a free, community-developed, Linux-based operating system that you can run on Macs, PCs, and other Unix-capable computers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

get over yourself. it looks like the standard rounded corners box in photoshop.

8/14/2008 10:21:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol, i have made prolly 30-40 icons that have a similar rounded box,
most likely even the exact same
radius of it too.

omg i am a piratez.

[email protected] indeed.

they arent even the same shade of green...

2/24/2009 02:21:00 AM

Blogger espd said...

@anon commenters: "standard rounded corners box" yeah, sure.

If you can’t tell that those two buttons are exactly, pixel-for-pixel identical, then I fear for any of the people or companies you “design” for.


2/25/2009 12:38:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares with copyright ?

5/05/2009 03:46:00 AM

Blogger nullstring said...

I do care with copyrights :P am a developer and like giving free softwares + codes, but I'd still want to retain my rights as the original developer..

The only thing of course when using "your" icon is end-users will think "ah, this will redirect to" but not. So there's a sense of piracy right there..

8/26/2009 11:25:00 AM


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