Putting It Out There... Cake Design Etiquette.

Business By The_Caketress Updated 3 Mar 2011 , 2:02am by cakenovice2010

The_Caketress Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 4:47am
post #1 of 23

If a cake design is replicated or directly inspired by a someone else's designs, should the decorator put a small mention "design by.." "inspired by... " if they were putting it on their website? If they are calling themselves a cake designer it presents that they themselves spent the months of design process , when in fact they just replicated. Thoughts?

22 replies
cakegirl1973 Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 5:03am
post #2 of 23

I think if a cake is replicated or directly inspired by another cake designer, then the original artist should receive a credit. No question in my mind on that one.

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 5:08am
post #3 of 23

I say "depends".

It depends on the design. there are only so many ways to wrap a ribbon around the base of a cake that is decorated with dots and scrolls. Who's to say who should be "credited" with that one?

It depends on if the baker knows where it came from. I've had more than one bride bring me a photo and we've gone from there. I had no idea where the photo came from. I found out MONTHS later that one cake I did was a C.Peters cake. (Glad i didnt' know it at the time .... I would have been SO intimidated to try it!). Another cake I happened to come across on The Knot .... had no idea the cake I'd made a few months prior was THAT one.

The_Caketress Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 5:11am
post #4 of 23

I totally agree but seeing that I've never actually replicated a cake from another designer I didn't want to be bias on the subject. As a designer I'm learning to except my designs being copied but it sucks when someone copies and then even takes full credit with a writeup of their organic inspiration. when I see this on top of people stealing my images it kinda makes me not want to blog and share the stories of my designs sometimes.

btrsktch Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 5:15am
post #5 of 23

I say...

On a website, absolutely not. Your website is a representation of your actual work that you created with your own hands, no matter where the inspiration came from. On your blog, or other forum you discuss your work, thoughts, etc, then yes, you should absolutely reference the design concept and/or original designer, and even link to the original.

As for your blog/high resolution images, watermark them!

The_Caketress Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 5:21am
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by btrsktch

I say...

On a website, absolutely not. Your website is a representation of your actual work that you created with your own hands, no matter where the inspiration came from. On your blog, or other forum you discuss your work, thoughts, etc, then yes, you should absolutely reference the design concept and/or original designer, and even link to the original.




But even if the company is calling themselves a "Cake designer". It's one thing to be a bakery , custom cake house, or a cake decorator and show your work that you can create, but to have a portfolio of other people's designs and calling yourself a designer, to me, is somewhat deceiving. It's like Chanel copying a Dior dress and calling it their design to me.

cakegirl1973 Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 5:29am
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Caketress

I totally agree but seeing that I've never actually replicated a cake from another designer I didn't want to be bias on the subject. As a designer I'm learning to except my designs being copied but it sucks when someone copies and then even takes full credit with a writeup of their organic inspiration. when I see this on top of people stealing my images it kinda makes me not want to blog and share the stories of my designs sometimes.




If you don't already watermark your photos, you should before posting them. This should atleast guard against people stealing your images. Also, if a bride prints out one of your cakes, takes it to a baker and says, "I want this cake," then at least there is no question of who should be credited.

I understand that not everyone will agree with me, but I really do believe that if a cake is copied or clearly inspired by another artists work, the original artist should be given credit, if the original artist is known.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 6:03am
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Caketress

But even if the company is calling themselves a "Cake designer". It's one thing to be a bakery , custom cake house, or a cake decorator and show your work that you can create, but to have a portfolio of other people's designs and calling yourself a designer, to me, is somewhat deceiving. It's like Chanel copying a Dior dress and calling it their design to me.



There's a big difference between a photo of someone else's work and a photo of your implementation of a cake based on a design requested by a bride. You should feel free to post the latter as your work, as long as there are no copyrighted elements in the design (such as a logo or an original character).

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 6:17am
post #9 of 23

Also remember that the very same design CAN be thought up by multiple people. I've shared this example before, but my stand-up comedian husband came downstairs to run a new comedy bit past me. When he finished, I said, "Yeah its good but it was better when Seinfeld did it." Now hubby doesn't watch Seinfeld and he said to me, "WHAT!!!!????? I just spent 4 hours writing that bit!" I shrugged and said, "Sorry. Its been done."

I have no doubt that hubby thought that bit up all by himself. But so did someone else.

think of how many times we see new threads about a "new" scam thats going around but we oldies share that "oh yeah ... that ones been around for YEARS!" Well, the first time someone hears or sees it makes it new to them. The first time a baker gets an idea for a cake .... whether its been done before or not .... its new to them.

And if a 'designer' thinks up a brand new design ..... that's been done before .... and they don't KNOW its been done before ..... they've still "designed" it themselves and I believe they can legitimately take credit for the design that came out of their own head.

I believe in giving credit where its due .... when you know it, when you can.

Sometimes its not as cut-n-dry as it seems.

Nusi Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 7:16am
post #10 of 23

totally agree with indydebi...
there is so much that u cant really quantify or make sure its never been done befor .. and if u acutally make the effort to search u wont end up making any cake..
i studies programming and for a final project i wanted to write a mobile app.. when ever i came up with a new idea i looked it up online and i found someone has done it or something simmilier to it.. so eventually i just did wat came to my head without searching...
so yeah if its a unique piece by all means give credit.. if its a bow and polka dots who are you going to give credits to anyway!!

SScakes Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 7:39am
post #11 of 23

I agree with all that indydebi has said.

But, just to add something to all of that. If I have done a cake and someone else replicates (even to the last final detail) then so be it, I personally don't mind or care. If I did mind that someone was going to take that 'design' then I just should not publish it anywhere to begin with.

andrea7 Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 4:49pm
post #12 of 23

Hmmm..... Caketress you make couture cakes that I have never seen. Now the techniques you do have been done before but the way you add your personal touch does make your cakes one of a kind. Alot of cakes don't have that uniqueness so copying a cake with ribbon you saw somewhere else is fine. Copying your cakes would be obvious and I would hope someone would say yes this is my cake and I copied it from the Caketress. In a perfect world that would of happened but don't expect it. I have a cake person in my neck of the woods who keeps copying my cakes and it really pisses me off. But at the end of the day you have to give yourself kudos that someone likes your stuff so much that they want to copy it. It is what it is.

hallyscakes Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 6:32pm
post #13 of 23

You are so right Caketress for wanting credit for your cakes. You do such terrific one-of-a-kind cakes and I just can imagine the amount of thought and work that goes into them. It's so obvious just by looking at your cakes that you love what you do. However, even Dior and Chanel have to contend with copies and fakes of their work. You know why? It's because they are so GOOD. Just keep doing the great work you do. Do your best to protect your work like watermarking your pics etc as other posters have suggested and leave the rest. Take it as something you have to deal with for being so exceptional. Don't let it be a reason to stop blogging or sharing your work. You are an inspiration to so many people, me included.

love2makecakes Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 10:30pm
post #14 of 23

I for one have used a lot of other peoples designs. A person comes to me with a picture and says I want this cake. I create it. I also scour Cake Central to look for ideas when I am stumped on a design idea of my own or when I see a cake I just love and want to recreate that same cake or elements from that cake for someone else I know will love it. Most of the time I will implement a bunch of designs in a cake.

So should I now start to list all the people that have inspired a cake?

Thank you Sharon Z. for the inspiration for the icing recipe which I changed to make my own.

Thank you to Leah for the idea to start using the sps system.

Also a big shout out to the person who showed me the technique I know use to ice my cakes.

So and so for the idea for the ribbon roses you see on the 2nd tier....

Really, the list could go on and on.

I will be sure to not call myself a "cake designer" on the cakes that I do not personally design all on my own. I will just stick to "cake decorator".

Just a side note though.... I have mentioned people on some cakes I have done. Such as I did a wedding cake this last fall that my client brought me a photo and I could tell right away that who the original design we done by. When I posted my picture I noted that I was asked to recreate a cake originally done by...

Oh and the OP, I have never seen your cakes before and let me just say - AMAZING! I would be proud if I could even begin to recreate your work!

chrisviz Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 11:25pm
post #15 of 23

I have to agree with love2makecakes... your work is AMAZING...sigh. I love to look at websites with swoon-worthy designs. I agree that credit due should be given whenever possible. If nothing else take it as flattery that your creations inspire creativity in others.

ryannrochelle Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 11:52pm
post #16 of 23

I know that I have had people come to me with a photo of someone else's cake and say to me, "I want THIS cake." My response is always, "I like to consider myself a cake artist and I respect all other cake artists work. Tell me what it is you like about this cake and lets design something of your own rather than replicating this artist's work." Normally people are pretty receptive when it's put that way.

There is a BIG difference between being inspired by an element of a cake, but to flat out copy the whole design, you should definitely give credit where credit is due IF you decide to duplicate someone else's work. I choose not to duplicate because that's not my style.

indydebi Posted 23 Feb 2011 , 12:01am
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannrochelle

I know that I have had people come to me with a photo of someone else's cake and say to me, "I want THIS cake." My response is always, "I like to consider myself a cake artist and I respect all other cake artists work. Tell me what it is you like about this cake ....


I would do something similar when they didnt' know what they wanted or didn't have a pic.

I'd have them fliip thru my photos (my cakes and internet cakes) and if they stopped even for a second to look at a cake, we'd flag that page with a post-it. "Dont' try to figure out why you like it ..... there's something on that cake that caught your eye, so let's mark it and move on." When we got to the end of the book, we'd have anywhere from 5 to 12 post-its. Looking at the posted pics, we'd quickly find similarities and that helped narrow down what the bride liked. Once in awhile, they put a post-it on one that was WAY different from the others and the bride wuold usually laugh and say, "I've no idea why I flagged that one!" thumbs_up.gif

Its a great screening process and helps THEM see what they like when they have no idea themselves! thumbs_up.gif

weirkd Posted 23 Feb 2011 , 12:24am
post #18 of 23

There are so many designers out there and trends. People see things that they like and they want to do it. That is why Martha Stewart, Ron Bon Israel, Sylvia Whinestock are usually setting the scene for what is new in cake design. And if they got upset if someone copied their techniques, it would be crazy! Like Debi said, things are constantly copies and things that did back in the day that someone might not even know its been done already.
Your cakes are beautiful and artistic and I would feel flattered if someone copied the design. It means that your setting a trend!! And yes, it would be nice to have someone say "got this design from so and so". But I agree, if I am flat out copying someone's design I usually say "this is my take on her design" or something to that effect. And I have even gone to the distance of asking permission if they minded me copying their design!! Some have responded and said Sure! and If you need any hints let me know! and some that dont even respond. Like there is a cake on favorites right now that is a remake of a wedding cake that Marina Sousa did for Kiegan (MC for FN Challenge) wedding!! She didnt reference that it was her design but anyone that knows Marina's work would know it was. And I believe Marina is even now teaching classes on how to do some of her signature sugar "chandelier" beads. And other designers teach how to replicate their cakes. Maybe your looking at it the wrong way, maybe you should teach classes on how you do it. You might feel better about it and make some money in the process!!

springlakecake Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 8:49pm
post #19 of 23

On my website I do not indicate that it was inspired by someone elses design. When I post to forums like these where I am sharing mainly with other cake decorators, then yes, I do like to give credit. I don't think potential brides/customers etc really care where the idea came from,they just want to see the quality of your work.

jenmat Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 1:51am
post #20 of 23

There is one cake on my website that is a take-off of one of Anne Heap's designs, and yes, I did give credit there- it was so obvious and all I did was change the color.
Other than that, I think there is a wedding cake, and then there is a couture wedding cake. The couture cakes, if copied are usually so unique and recognizable that I would definitely give credit if it were a replica or a close adaptation.
That said, there is no reason for me to list- beadwork inspired by Marina, striping inspired by Collette, hand painting by Margaret Braun... you get the picture.
So I guess for me the answer is like Debi's- "depends."

fabray13 Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 2:31am
post #21 of 23

Caketress, I adore your work and wish I had a tiny bit of your talent. I believe i read on your blog that you are inspired by high fashion. Do you think its necessary to credit the designer? This is tricky! I really agree with most of the replies here. I think many decorators create cakes they think are original but then see something similar. The credits list could go on forever! But if a cake is directly copied from a picture then yes, credit is due to that designer.

tryingcake Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 4:30am
post #22 of 23

We all have ideas we've used before that other people make famous. I've been suing a certain couple of methods for years - and later down the road a very famous decorator had those same EXACT methods on a video - and people give her full credit when you all post here. I honestly don't think they were stolen from little old me - I think they were obvious technique/recipe ideas and there you go. And just for the record- I think very highly of this other decorator.

Now that being said, as a professional courtesy, - if it's an obviously unique design, I say, "inspired by cake done by so-and-so" when posting on these forums... but not on my website. On my website, I claim to be a decorator, not a designer. So, 'nuff said.

I am working on a cake right now that is totally a rip off of a cake I saw on Flickr, I will state that when I post the pic here next week - and I will also note that the decorator clearly states she got the idea directly from from a cake she saw CakeCantral.com...... but she didn't mention the CC designer's name... so I really don't even know if it's his/her original design

And there are the times I have to say, "saw this idea somewhere when surfing the net, I have no clue who, when or where." Because I have no clue where I saw it, when I saw it or who posted it.

cakenovice2010 Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 2:02am
post #23 of 23

I agree with the statement of "it depends". Some designers have a very unique style, you can instantly spot one of your cakes based on what you are known for, which is a couture look. However, there are others who have done cakes based on a wedding dress design in the past, so it can be coincidence.

Something I try to always do is give credit. When I post a picture of a cake I decorated in class I give props to my teacher for the design. I don't feel I could post it and take credit for them without saying "technique taught by ..." I think that's only fair. But when I go to school and learn different techniques by different teachers, eventually I'm not going to continue posting, "I was taught how to do this style of figure/sugar pulling/flower by Mary Smith @ Bonnie G School of Conf. Arts" Know what I mean?

If I do something that was inspired by another design I will mention, "I was inspired here by Caketress/Ron Ben Israel/Cake Opera/Andrea S etc.."

I can imagine it being difficult to come up with something original and having the images, technique and everything blatantly ripped off without any credit but it does happen and sometimes by accident (not the photo stealing that is fairly obvious).

Currently there are some tutorials out there on a new technique and I have met the creator who is far nicer than I would be if people started posting tutorials of something I created before it's even launched under my own name. To me I feel it's not their technique to teach at this moment in time. However, there really isn't any sort of control over this I suppose. Still, not something I would personally do though but those are my thoughts and opinions only. I wouldn't post a tutorial on a cake I learned in a class because then who will want to take the class when they get the info for free?

Watermark your images, when you see an image that's stolen there is a way to have it removed from someones site. You can report it, but if they hotlink from you (and people can be bold enough to do this - happened all the time when I ran a store/online store) you can have a program/code designed that will show a different image on their site, they can't see it but their visitors can. "This image was stolen from The Caketress" check with your web-designer.

At the end of the day you know that your designs are yours and yours alone and you can exhaust yourself pursuing copycats or continue to hone your craft and have your own name for yourself that is recognizable enough for someone to say, "That looks like something Caketress did, were you inspired by her work?" And I think that's already happened for you.

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Keep making beautiful cakes & definitely watermark your images for your online work/blogs. I love your work.

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