Nah. I’ll pass.

There is this UI framework Flat UI that got a lot of attention. It was the right style at the right time. Lots of smart people saying designs that mimic reality are dumb, fast is important, not using images at all is ideal, vector icons are awesome, etc etc.

Turns out Design Modo, the website behind this Flat UI framework, ripped some stuff off from LayerVault, a service website that uses this style pretty heavily. LayerVault sent a legal takedown notice.

This was HOT DRAMA at it’s best. Design Modo was trying to be super open with their framework. It was open source on GitHub. Flat design is clearly a trend and you see it all over. Yes there were some similarities but with a trend this simple, of course there would be. Screw LayerVault and their lawyer bullshit! The man is always trying to step on our freedom!

But then you look a little closer and it was pretty clear they ripped a lot of stuff off. Some icons were identical. The color palette wasn’t just close but identical. Design Modo rushed to change some of the illustrations which were the most obviously ripped off things.

LayerVault could have handled this a different way. Our community can be pretty vicious about stealing so they could have just pointed out the crime with a “this bums us out” vibe and the community surely would have gotten the pitchforks out and handled this the good old fashioned way. Instead, LayerVault took a very heavy handed approach with the lawyers and deleting posts off their news site and the whining and such.

Kind of shitty behavior on both sides.

Now many months have passed and this drama is long over. Except. Design Modo is still pushing this Flat UI framework thing as hard as they can. Any publicity is good publicity right? If you go to their site, you can’t even find the free version anymore. What was this cool open source project is now a paid-only framework. The GitHub repo is still there, but you can’t find a link to it on the Design Modo site, you gotta search Google for it.

And now, I get gross emails like this:


No, Design Modo, you cannot spam my email list with your ripped off framework that you’re milking for every cent it’s worth.



I work on CodePen! I'd highly suggest you have a PRO account on CodePen, as it buys you private Pens, media uploads, realtime collaboration, and more.

Get CodePen PRO

2 responses to “Nah. I’ll pass.”

  1. Gray says:

    I remember that whole debacle pretty clearly. Initial rage at LayerVault for playing it completely wrong and then frustration with Design Modo for not admitting any type of inspiration *ahem* copying.

    I love how that email Adrian sent you *starts* with ‘how many subscibers?’ instead of starting up a nice conversation. Oh well, makes it easier to hit the trash icon.

  2. Alex says:

    Whoa, I knew they do pretty aggressive ad campaign, but this email is too much. Chris thanks for making this one public, it means a lot to community!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ⬆️