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I'm new to the web design and web comic fields.

I'm a huge fan of The Oatmeal, and thought his tile layout was a good way to share the most amount of comics for given real estate.

So, following the "Power Grid" pattern from this site (the last option),, and drawing from elements of my favorite comics,, XKCD, etc... I created my comics site: Hitting Trees with

I recently received a complaint from an avid The Oatmeal fan claiming I've "totally ripped off and imitated The Oatmeal"... I asked the author, Matthew Inman, what he thought... and he said my site design and subject matter were quite similar...

While I'll agree the tile layout I currently have is like his... I think it's also a standard/generic enough template...

That being said, here are my questions:

1) Are the designs too similar?

The enter image description here

My website: enter image description here

2) If so, what are some of the guidelines/rules of thumb on designing a website based on templates that are used by other comic artists? Do you think I should change mine? I mean, it seems like so many comics use the same "click-to-get-next-comic style... and I like The Power Grid/The Oatmeal's style... I feel there aren't many other ways for me to display the latest comics and most popular comics for the user to see... is that wrong?


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closed as off topic by JohnGB, Benny Skogberg, Ben Brocka Apr 17 '13 at 13:09

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It does look pretty similar. I'd have thought that it's Oatmeal on a casual glance. – Angel Koh Apr 17 '13 at 8:41

I think the use of a generic grid, or template, is fine. I believe the problem here lies in the similarity of the visual design between both sites.

If you had used a similar grid system, but the visual design for your site gave it a completely different look and feel, I highly doubt you would be receiving complaints from users. Not to say that they are absolutely identical in appearance, but they are pretty similar – especially since they deliver the same type of content.

You want users to remember your site long after they have closed their browsers and for it to leave a positive impression. It will be hard to remain memorable in someone’s mind when there is already a fully established, reputable site that looks very similar.

An option going forward would be to create a persona for your site, give it a personality and flesh out how you want it to be perceived by people.

In Aaron Walters’s book, Designing for Emotion, he says:

"If your website were a person, who would it be? Is it serious, buttoned up, all business, yet trustworthy, and capable?"

"Personality can manifest itself in an interface through visual design, copy, and interactions. A design persona describes the methods of channeling personality in each of these areas, and will help a team of web professionals construct a unified and consistent result"

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