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Just because some small businesses are making designs ‘inspired’ by brands and trademarked/copyrighted images does not mean they are allowed to – it means that they either have not been caught yet, or that their designs are far enough from the trademark/copyrighted designs to be able to be used as their own.

Penalties for getting caught with a design that is like, or too much like a branded design can be harsh and the owners do not always warn you first before starting legal action.

Just think of it from the brands perspective. Would you like to make a design or concept that takes of and starts to make you an income, then some upstart copies your design and takes your customers and income away, and you lose all the work and money you have already paid out of your pocket for promotion and marketing?

It is wrong and no amount of justifying can make it right. Please don’t do it.