In the last two days I’ve seen two asshats completely steal the design work of my friends and try to pass it off as their own. I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that they do this, or that they make their actions so transparent and public that it forces the original designers to take action. This is getting old—really old. I’m tired of writing about it, as I’m sure my friends are. So rather than spend another sentence on why this is bad, I’ve written a short set of instructions to help make sure that designers and design thieves never have to cross paths again.

How to properly steal the design of a website.

  1. First things first, admit it: you suck. You’re a moron and a cheat. It’s likely that you’ll never ever really achieve anything in life because you lack the talent to create or to do anything for yourself. In fact the act of dressing yourself in the morning is the closet you will ever come to doing something for yourself. Also, please stop bathing in Calvin Klein One, as it just further reduces your significance on this planet (not that you were off to a great start…think on that).

  2. Learn. Yes, put some brain cells together, and learn how to properly edit HTML. Sure, you think you already know HTML because you’ve been able to cut-and-paste someone else’s code—that’s why you’re a thief. Most people would use that code to learn how to craft their own work, but since you’re a scumbag you only know how to get away with the least amount of work.

However, if you don’t learn to edit things like comments, alt text, and style names then you’re only leaving yourself open to getting caught red-handed. Think of it this way: if you take these extra steps and edit these things, you’d be a super moron. Then you can go back to your fellow morons, tell them that you are now their overlord, and they now have to do your bidding. Start by commanding them to help you get dressed in the morning.

  1. Photoshop is a tool used by most designers to create those fancy graphics that you are, for some reason unknown to evolved man, unable to make yourself. Now, stealing code isn’t enough to complete the process of design theft, you’re going to need to copy every graphic file necessary to complete the work and most of you are able to pull this off without a hitch. The problem is that if you don’t at least try to make an attempt to alter these graphics then “your” site is going to look exactly like the one you just stole from.

Nine-point-eight-hundred-and-ninety-six times out of ten, this is how design thieves not only get caught, but are dragged through the streets by those of us who spend weeks and weeks creating the original design. If you’re going to use oxygen, then at least make an effort to alter the designed elements to help camouflage your inability to create.

  1. When you send that email to the original designer asking if it’s “okay” that you took the design in the first place, I just want to know one thing: are you doing this before or after you’ve tried to mate with oncoming traffic?

Please re-read step number one and then come back here.

The answer is always going to be “no.” Even if you’d asked before you took anything, the answer would still be “no.” No, we do not want you to copy our work. No, you may not copy our work. Yes, you can date your own sister (it’s assumed that because you’re so damn stupid that you’re living in Upper Appalachia, so knock yourself out). No. Never. Go to hell. It’s never going to be okay to take someone else’s work and claim it as your own. Don’t be any more of an idiot that you already are. If you’re going to have the stones to steal design, keep it to yourself.

  1. This is quite possibly the most important thing you need to know. There are no circumstances that will ever make it a good idea to link to the site you stole the design from. None. Zip. Never, ever. Zero circumstances. Maybe when Armageddon starts, but you should make it quick because…well, hey, it’s Armageddon, and it’s not going to wait for you to open Dreamweaver. Do not ever—never ever—do this. It’s how you’re going to be caught, it’s how all of you asshats get caught. A link with some crappy text that says, “design inspiration by…” Gee, Rockefeller. If that’s all you had to do to circumvent copyright laws then why stop at web design? There’s a whole world of art, music, literature and so forth that’s all readily available for you to copy because, hey! It “inspired” you to steal it. Theft is not inspiration. Don’t be a bigger moron because you think that some little link is going to make your actions any better. Just take the design and go away.

There it is: your Idiots’ Guide to Being an Even Bigger Idiot. If you follow these instructions then you’ll be able to impress your D&D buddies with your awesome new website design, and the original designer will be none the wiser. Congratulations on a job well done, Captain Asshat! Perhaps you can reward yourself with a nice nap on the train tracks.