As a graphic designer there is perhaps one factor that motivates one the most: a deadline. Sure, you were taught to use things such as complimentary colors and harmonic proportion in school. But there is a certain “look and feel” that the client values more than your use of principles of design. It’s not a complaint and I don’t argue – if anyone’s to blame for the misunderstanding it’s those pretentious design professors.
EVERYONE… IS GOOGLING THE FUTURE(?)
In order to deliver things better and faster, designers have relied on Google to find source content. We reference visuals and we leverage code libraries. The claim that you made something often comes with the admission that parts were borrowed from elsewhere. Was it always like this, even before computers? The debate over Duchamp‘s L.H.O.O.Q. and Paula Scher‘s Swatch poster would lead one to believe so. An increase in government surveillance would also lead one to believe that observing what others do has its place and time.
“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” Unless you own patents. Then it’s a violation. Maybe that’s why the online community has embraced open source. So much great work has come out of it. And they rarely care if your line-height is at least 1.3em.