I am trying to create icons for the UI of my website to represent key concepts of my trade such as "translation services", "languages", "translation tools"... and I am having a hard time to come up with good ideas.
So, I went and looked at some existing pictures on Google Images and Stock photo to find inspiration.
My designs are done from scratch, they are clearly different from the originals, but they were inspired by it. For instance, seeing a set of regular dices show up in a "translation" search inspired me to do this:
I am pretty sure that's Ok. On the other end, my new years wishes card:
is somewhat based on this wish card design. I am in two minds on that one. Is it different enough? I haven't sent it yet, and will most likely buy the rights just to be sure before I use mine, but it definitely raises the question of finding the right limit between inspiration and copyright infringement.
Is it at all acceptable to look at other people's creations on the subject before doing your own take on it? If not, where do you find the inspiration for your designs?
If you consider it OK to look at existing works on the Web for inspiration, how do you draw the line between "finding inspiration" and "illegal copy"?