This design is based on the famous Imitation is suicide phrase, penned by the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. You can read the complete Self-Reliance Essay, from which this powerful phrase is taken, here.
There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.
God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. I have not found another writer who so powerfully and beautifully urges us to listen to our inner muse and cherish our individuality. I’m a big Ralph Waldo Emerson fan, and have created some designs based on his wisdom before. Feel free to check them out here.
Below, you’ll find a selection of products with the Imitation is suicide design, from my Zazzle store. You can browse the complete product line here.
More about Imitation is suicide design:
Putting yourself out there is scary, no doubt about that. There is a natural fear and perceived importance to other people’s opinions and reactions. We have a tendency to avoid this possible pain and ridicule by simply copying what has already been done before, and hoping that some of that past success will reflect on our own work.
And sometimes it works, you create something by imitating your favorite artist, business model, family member, and things seem to work out fine.
But a photocopier is not an artist. You will not likely look back at the work that came from imitation and not true inspiration and be truly satisfied with what you have achieved. You need to listen and feel your own muse, and express it by any means that you have available.
This design will help you remember your individuality, and the need to honor it.
The phrase Imitation is suicide is printed over a black background, in bright orange and red. These colors are passionate, and the lettering I used was hand-drawn, with an edgy, rough finish to it. The design conveys an urgency to express yourself, even if the results are not perfect (they will never be, by the way).
I specially like how it looks on T-shirts and other clothing articles. What you you think of the design and the underlying philosophy behind it?
Let me know in the comments section!