Removing Plagiarism from the Design Process

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  • Title: Removing Plagiarism from the Design Process: Stimulating Creativity and Originality in the Design Classroom
  • Author(s): Jillian Coorey
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Design Education
  • Keywords: Design Education, Process, Creativity, Plagiarism
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2325-128X (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1298 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Coorey, Jillian. 2018. "Removing Plagiarism from the Design Process: Stimulating Creativity and Originality in the Design Classroom." The International Journal of Design Education 12 (1): 11-19. doi:10.18848/2325-128X/CGP/v12i01/11-19.
  • Extent: 9 pages


The study of design is as much about history as it is creativity. Almost daily, designers seek visual inspiration and interact with designed objects, adopting styles of design into their own repertoire. Unfortunately, some are unable to separate creative inspiration from plagiarism, creating a major issue for designers to address and understand. In our digital society, the threshold for finding others work has dramatically reduced. Through internet searches and social media applications, thousands of images and designs are readily available. With numerous visual influences, the line between inspiration and plagiarism can become blurred. As educators, tackling this issue at the student-level is critical as young designers are still developing their voice and talent. To offset potential plagiarism, our curriculum at Kent State University encompasses preventative methods including lectures, class discussions and an entire course on visual ethics. Even with those tactics, plagiarism cases continue to be found from the freshmen to senior level. The design process lies at the heart of the matter. This article will discuss methods to help students understand and improve upon their creative process—with the ultimate goal of fostering original design solutions. Through process books, creativity exercises, and reflective tasks, students become more aware of their process. We are creating an atmosphere of learning where students learn to trust their own instincts rather than rely on the crutch of a Google image search.