Did Original Music Shirt rip Threadless for their website redesign?

by Andy on May 16, 2011

original music shirt

Earlier today Original Music Shirt (aka OMS) sent out an e-mail saying that they had redesigned their website. I checked it out and as the page loaded I thought everything looked good very clean and easy to navigate. After a few seconds I realised why I liked it, they appeared to have taken a lot of design cues from Threadless.


I’m no fool and I’m not looking to create drama where it doesn’t exist, but there is no denying that there are some similar aspects to both sites, and as the Threadless design is much older, it all points to OMS being inspired by Threadless at a few turns. The thing that annoys me about it is that you expect an established business like OMS to be above these kind of shenanigans. It is of course possible that OMS used an outside developer for their new website that borrowed a few ideas from Threadless and OMS aren’t aware of this at all but that does seem to be a fairly unlikely. Here’s a few side-by side shots:



The search areas & footers are similar, but in web design the position and style of search areas is often similar, so you could almost let them get away with that, but the navigation bar really gives the game away as far as I’m concerned. Again, there are items on navigation bars that have to be there and are there on every shop, but this redesign just happens to pick the same font as Threadless and put those items in the same order (considering the ‘club’ and ‘community’ can be used interchangeably in this context, and the OMS doesn’t have a design competition so they have no need for a ‘participate’ page)? That doesn’t seem particularly likely to me.

Another little ‘similarity’ is that OMS now have ‘shop guys’ & ‘shop girly’ rather than mens/womens, and Threadless also use guys/girly. It’s possible that OMS were using that before the redesign, but it’s worth noting.

I feel a bit like Glenn Beck as I write this post, being the guy that just happens to notice a few things between a couple of websites, and hopefully I haven’t made any mistakes in my comparisons and suppositions because I have no reason to be negative towards Original Music Shirt, I like their designs and like their style, but I saw their new site and couldn’t help but notice the similarities. I realise that Threadless do not own many of the things I have pointed out, such as the font they use in the navigation bar, the colour blue, rounded corners on buttons, and the style of their footer, but just because they don’t own those things exclusively doesn’t mean it is okay for that design to be copied by other people.

As you might expect, I’d really appreciate your comments on this post, and I will update you if I hear anything from either Threadless or Original Music Shirt.

  • http://www.604republic.com Sebastian A

    Haha, thankfully you are not Glenn Beck. This however is an obvious rip. It happens all the time in the t-shirt industry. Not only are t-shirt designs “borrowed” but so are site designs, layouts, navigaton, shopping carts, even entire chunks of text.

  • http://chunkydesign.wordpress.com/ chunkydesign

    Regardless of how open-minded we look into this, I think this goes way beyond “creative inspiration”… And considering these are sites in the same line of business, OMS should have been more careful. This is the kind of thing that can really damage your reputation, and on this world of social media, a mistake like this, can reach a lot of people in a very short amount of time, and have a significant impact on their business.

  • Tom
  • http://andrewbowness.com Andy

    @Tom Good memory! I remain hopeful that was a coincidence as the slogan has been used by more people than just The Quiet Life, but in light of recent developments it’s hard to tell.

  • http://www.mingled.co.uk MiNGLED

    Now if OMS had been ‘inspired’ by a relatively unknown t-shirt shop then it could be more understandable or even forgivable but they have copied pretty much the largest name in the world of on-line T-shirts so to claim ignorance (not that they have commented in anyway yet) would be quite unbelievable. Also I’m not keen on the name but that’s beside the point.

  • http://www.ianwootten.co.uk Ian

    If you spool over each sites code, you can see it’s not directly lifted from Threadless‘s own site.

    However, I can’t imagine this was concidence. Their design still seems to be heavily inspired by threadless’s own. Their product image sizes, orientation and layout grid are pretty much the same, even if the code is different. As you mention, the message boxes just serve to confirm as a rip, given font and colour seems to be exactly the same.

    There’s no way anyone doing the business of tshirts online is unaware of threadless.

  • http://www.hawkenking.com hawken king

    There are only a certain amount of website layout permetations that work, and logical menu items (being a website designer for the past 12 years) – I would say this is more influence that copy.

  • http://www.hawkenking.com hawken king

    Sorry, more influence THAN copy.

  • http://blog.ruderetro.com Rude Retro

    Yes.
    PS. I have always thought of you as the Glenn Beck of t-shirt bloggers. ;+)

  • http://andrewbowness.com Andy

    I didn’t look at the code to be honest, my presumption would be that they didn’t lift code and apparently that is the case, I think that “heavily influenced/inspired” is a good term for it, as it is true there are only so many ways you can layout a site, but this looks like more than a case of coincidence.

    @RR, you only think I’m like Glenn Beck because I just love t-shirts so darn much, and because I cry at the end of every blog post.

  • http://migreyes.com Mig Reyes

    Sigh. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

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