We are pleased to announce that our friends at Carousel Designs have chosen “Sweet Dreams” by Grace Felizardo as the winner of last week’s Southwest Baby Bedding Contest. Grace is an incredibly talented artist hailing from California, and we are so thrilled that her beautiful art will be featured in a new baby bedding collection offered through BabyBedding.com.
What happened to the winner we announced last week? Shortly after we sent out the email announcing the results of last week's Design Challenge, it came to our attention that the design chosen from the popularly-voted top ten was not the original artwork of the contest entrant. Further investigation confirmed that this was the case. The individual who entered the design wrote to apologize both to us and to the artist whose work she had represented as her own.
The weekly design challenge is a longstanding tradition of ours, dating back to Spoonflower’s launch in 2008. Our contests have always been intended as a vehicle to inspire creativity, to motivate one another, to allow community members to show off their talent, and to make everyone better by way of friendly competition. We still love our contests.
We want to apologize for not catching this issue before the result was announced, and for the disappointment an incident like this creates within the community of designers who participate in and follow our challenges. The goal of our contests, with their constantly varying (and sometimes silly) themes, is to provoke creativity. In a perfect world, not only is every contest entry original, it's been created by the artist just for our contest. That's the idea.
With respect to the issue of intellectual property — which the vast majority of contest participants understand and respect — it's worth taking this opportunity to remind newbies to Spoonflower of some basic rules of the road.
Most of the images you find on the Internet CANNOT be used to create your own fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap designs on Spoonflower, despite the fact that you may be able to download them to your computer. Printing an image that is not your own is not ok without some kind of explicit permission or license granting you the right to reproduce the image for your own purposes.
When you do have some indication that an image you've found is okay for use by virtue of its license, or because it is in the public domain, it is still not okay to represent that image as your own work. To the degree that it is possible, you should credit the original artist and source for any image if you are displaying the work in a public form.
The right to use an image that is not your own is not the same as the right to sell that image, or products bearing that image. Many images are made available for sharing and use in personal projects, but not commercial ones. The default assumption should be that a public domain image can be reproduced for a personal project, but not for a commercial one.
We love and respect the community of designers that make up Spoonflower, and are grateful to them for sharing their art with us. We also hope to continue to foster a designer-centric community that values and supports creativity and mutual respect. Thanks to all who participate in our challenges and help make this true every day!