There’s a new sheriff in town – Design Court is now in session

 I’m happy to announce that the loonnnggg awaited Design Court feature is now live.  Extensive testing has been done on it but bugs are sure to pop up as it is a fairly complicated feature. If you notice any bugs/problems with the reporting part of the process or with the actual Design Court itself please report it here, as a comment on this blog post, not in the forum, and not as a PM.

A Message To “The Cheaters”:

Plagiarism and cheating have been running rampant for quite a while, but our very strict and detailed rules have been in place longer than that.  Each and every design submitted to the site has been submitted AFTER you (the designer) read the following rules:


Any entry you submit must be:

Completely, 100% your own creation. No exceptions. If you did not design it yourself you can’t submit it.

NOTE: We regularly monitor Google Images, iStockPhoto, popular Logo Design Portfolios and anywhere else you may be thinking of lifting a design from. If you submit work that is not your own we WILL find out about it.


It must NOT (read carefully):


Contain clipart of any sort (licensed or not)


Be a copy or “rip” of a logo already submitted to this contest by another designer.


Use or incorporate any prexisting image, logo, photo, graphic design or trademark.


Be anything other than a design YOU came up with.


A MESSAGE FROM HatchWise STAFF: We think that the above instructions are very clear. If you have a question about them please ask us before submitting any artwork. We reserve the right (and will probably exercise it) to permananently ban any designer who submits a design that violates the above rules. We’re naturally good natured people but we tend to get upset about plagiarism.




Now, I paste that there before I state the following: The reporting feature is RETROACTIVE, which means that any design you submitted to a contest before can be reported by any designer who still has access to that contest (anyone who participated in it with you). I don’t want to hear any complaints about this. You had PLENTY of warnings. Every time you submitted a design there was a warning. If your past actions get you banned now, so be it.


If you have never cheated (as the majority of you haven’t) than please disregard the above.


Now, on to how the system works:


1. You can’t vote in Design Court unless you have previously won a contest.

2. Any registered designer can report an entry, but unless you have previously won a contest you can only have two open cases at a time.

3. If one of your designs is found “guilty”, it is withdrawn and you are issued a warning point.  If you accumulate a total of three warning points you are permanently banned and any pending winnings are frozen indefinitely.

4. If you report a design and it is found “not guilty” YOU are issued a warning point. If you accumulate a total of three warning points you are permanently banned and any pending winnings are frozen indefinitely. The warning points for submitting a design without reason are not the same as the warning points in #3, they accumulate separately.

5. Withdrawing a design that has been reported is a nice gesture, but does not stop the Court Case, or the warning point if you are found guilty.

6. There are 11 votes taken on each case, each designer can only vote once, you cannot vote on your own case. The majority wins.

7. The decision by the crowd is not negotiable. Do not email us complaining about it.

8. If you are banned because of repeat offenses then that is it. There is no arguing or pleading with staff over it, so please don’t even try.


So that’s it. To report a design simply log into your account and click the red exclamation point next to the entry you want to report on the contest detail page.


Many thanks to all of you who have waited so long and so patiently for this. Please leave your comments, suggestions and criticisms in the comments below.




  1. Okay, I have a question…what if something was definitely stolen from somewhere, but we don’t know if the person here stole it or if someone elsewhere stole it from here? If it was stolen from here, the person submitting wouldn’t be at fault, but the ‘panel’ could still vote against that person since it could be verified that the other existed.

    It seems like this could be an issue. In fact, it IS a current issue right now with one of the recent winners.

  2. eZoe: In a situation like that I would recommend not reporting it, unless the “elsewhere” design is datestamped in some way (like it was on a forum or submitted to a contest on another site). The ability to report designs from ended contests probably won’t stay, I just want to give people a chance to report the designs they’ve been emailing us about that we have not had a chance to deal with.

    A possibility is that designs would be able to be reported in contests that have closed within the past two weeks, to give last minute entries a chance to be gone over.

    Hope that helps.

  3. @Griffindesign: Voting is on a first come, first served basis. Only designers who have previously won a contest are allowed to vote. When there are open cases in Design Court an invitation to vote shows up on the main page of all logged in designers who have previously won a contest.

    Although it says eleven votes it is actually the first side (agreeing or disagreeing) to reach six votes, which would be the majority, so if 6 votes to take the design down come in in a row then the case would be closed and the design taken down.

  4. “4. If you report a design and it is found “not guilty” YOU are issued a warning point. If you accumulate a total of three warning points you are permanently banned and any pending winnings are frozen indefinitely. The warning points for submitting a design without reason are not the same as the warning points in #3, they accumulate separately.”

    I have BIG problems with this one. This could very well penalize a designer who has the best of intentions but who is very unlucky. Now if you wanted to address the possibility that a designer is abusing challenges (such as one designer deliberately sabotaging another), that’s one thing. But I really think this is WAY too arbitrary.

    I also think it would be wise to limit voting to those who do not have entries in the contest at issue.

  5. sherminator505: The idea behind the penalty for reporting designs without reason is for people to think hard before reporting designs, if someone is not sure if a design breaks the rules or not they can always ask in the forum. I am open to reconsidering the number of points a designer can accumulate before their account is deleted though, we’ll see how the whole thing works out. We could also have it be that the warning point is only issued if the designer is decided against unanimously.

    I will also consider limiting voting to designers not participating, although I think that will probably prove to be unnecessary.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  6. One other question, if I may. You mention that you can report winners of previous contests at least for a time. My question is, if a previous entry is found guilty, what then happens with the money if the designer has already been paid? I am sure you won’t be able to recoop the winnings, but can you subtract it from future wins? or do they just get a strike against them and that’s it?

    Thank you.

  7. And also, once the design court has been issued on a design, should a user have the ability to remove the design before the court has made it’s judgement?

    Maadezine has been reported on a design, and immediately withdrew it after he was reported.

  8. First off: BRAVO!! This was so needed. Thank you for listening and for the continued improvements.

    I do think the “without cause” needs to be more specific. I think this will deter folks from reporting legitimate infractions for fear of being booted. Sometimes designs could fall into a “too generic” category, but could still be reported and the reporting designer could be penalized unfairly, in my opinion.

    Another thing: In the design court, could you add the URL to the contest in question? I would like to see how the designs evolved BEFORE voting. It gives me a better understanding of how it all developed.

    Thank you!

  9. Griffin: I’m not sure, probably attempt to recoup the money from the designer to refund the designer, although that may not be possible. That is assuming that it happens.

    Xpressions: The goal is to make sure that people only report designs if they are absolutely positive that the rules are being broken, if they are not sure they can ask for a second opinion (as I saw you did in the forum). I may raise the number of points to 10 or so so that it would take some real abuse to get someone banned.

    Marty: No, if a design has been reported it is to late for a designer to avoid a design court case by withdrawing it.

    eZoe, Marty: If there are active cases and you have previously won a contest an invitation will be displayed at the top of the ‘MyContests’ page. There is now also a link in the main nav bar in your account.

  10. I understand the goal, but, perhaps instead of “absolutely positive” it would be best if it could be “reasonably certain”. There are gray areas and those will go unresolved if the reporting designer fears they will be issued warning points. I did put one up in the forums, but, I don’t think many designers frequent it.

    Also, in the closed cases, can you label the image with the results of the court or sort them by remove or remain. And the link to the contest, please.

    Thank you.

  11. I was also wondering if a design is voted down and removed from the contest or if voted down after having won the contest, is the contest holder made aware of it, especially in the case of a plagarised design or one that used clipart?

    Also I agree with xpressions, it would be great to be able to see the entry involved on the voting page. And would it be possible to be able to expand the page to a full screen?

  12. It will not allow me to report a withdrawn entry.
    Does this make the person safe? Their images can still be viewed in their designer portfolio, but it wouldn’t let me send the image to the ‘court’

    in red at the top of the screen it says “This entry has been withdrawn and cannot be reported”

    The designer joked about being caught at the bottom of the contest after withdrawing the entry when someone had posted a link to the original. CONTEST: Perfectly Green

  13. Xpressions: Okay, what I’m considering doing is raising the number of warning points that can be received for reporting a design without reason to 10, that should give plenty of time for people to figure out what they are doing wrong if their cases keep getting voted “without cause”. For now though, I’m going to leave it alone as most of the reported designs seem to be getting 100% “take it down” votes.
    I’ll also get the closed cases labeled as to their outcomes, and that link added.

    Griffin: Only if it was the winning design, other than that it really doesn’t matter.

    Griffin/Xpressions: I’m confused, the reported design is show right next to the original when the case is about plagiarism/copying a previous entry – maybe I’m not understanding the question?

    Rob: No, reported designs cannot be reported, but they shouldn’t be showing up in the portfolios either, I’ll get that taken care of. The upside to this is that once a design HAS been reported, withdrawing it won’t make a difference.

  14. Hi George, So far you are not able to see the reported design within the voting window only either the link to the copy or the design that was copied appear in the voting window. There is a double grey bar that says reported design, but no image shows up. So we were asking if the reported design could also appear in the voting window? But if it was intended to be viewed then there seems to be a glitch preventing it from appearing.

  15. I have a question about copies of reported designs. In the DPP consulting contest an entry was voted to be taken down, but they have submitted several versions of the design and if the contest holder does not know why one of them was withdrawn, they could very well select another version as the winner. Do we report each version or is considered reporting the same design?

  16. Hmm, it’s showing up here – let’s try this: if you go to: you should see the reported design on the left (between the gray bars that say “reported design”) and to the right of that you should see “The original design is below.” and below that should be the original design that the reporting designer is saying it was copied from. Is that not showing up on your end?

    And as far as different versions of reported designs – if the designer wasn’t smart enough to take them down after the first one was reported then you can go ahead and report another one, as far as the system is concerned they are different designs.

  17. Hi George, thank you. Yes I am able to see it now. Thanks again.

    Also I did PM you but thought maybe I should say something here. The designer subhadiproy had been banned due to receiving 3 warning points but has rejoined under the name rays and re-entered the DPP consulting contest. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?

  18. greeting george…

    im curious, why one of my design has been reported to design court?
    am i breake any rules from hatchwise?if i am copy cat something…
    can you tell me what design that i am copy….

    Please tell me…thanks before

  19. hi george…
    just want to tell u..i am already now why my design had been reported to Design court…
    is bout the tagline..
    and i am not copy cat of that design
    bout that missunderstand…i am all ready solve the problem with Logoguru..

    so please remove my entry from the design court…

  20. Hi George –
    I have serious concerns about the “Design Court”. It leaves it open for people to be attacked without due cause – which could result in some of the top designers being banned. Intellectual property and copyright are certainly serious issues but I’m not sure that this method is the answer.

    I have been following the comments on the contests I’m participating in and I noticed yesterday one entrant reported another to Design Court without contacting them first to explain the issue. It was an innocent error and the entrant immediately withdrew that entry. I think that should count for something.

    May I suggest a more extended process? I think that anyone reporting an entry to Design Court should be able to prove (through comments on the contest) that they’ve tried to resolve the issue with the other designer. I personally think that if the entry is withdrawn immediately then no other action should be taken. Two strikes on one competition and they are removed from that contest. If they have issues with three contests then ban them from the site.

    On another note, I have tried to vote in the Design Court (using both IE and Firefox) and it doesn’t work. Not sure if you are still having bugs with the system.

  21. Paistoopid: To access Design Court simply log into your account and click “Design Court” from the menu. Also, once a design has been reported the case has to be judged, it can’t be stopped. I do see, however that that particular case worked out well for you.

    Griffindesign:We’ll get a ban-by-IP step added to the login process. Also, I don’t think we’ll be able to expand the page at the moment, as that would require recoding the whole system, but I’ll keep it in mind for a future update.

    Fuzzyinkdesign: I would disagree about the system leaving popular designers open to attack, because of the voting process I think the system should be pretty realistic and transparent. And because designers only get so many chances to report a design without cause it should weed out anyone that tries to abuse the system. I will, however, keep my eye on the cases and will consider your suggestions if it looks like it is not working.

    The problem with not being able to vote has also been fixed.

  22. Hi George,

    Is there any way you would consider changing the rule that only designers who have participated in a contest can put a design from that contest up to design court as there a few winning designs that have obviously stolen existing logos and have won and I feel the contest holder should be made aware of this? Otherwise they just get away with it.

    And also I was curious, there was a recent contest for LVwine in which the winning design was voted down for using clip art and it was his first win. However, it still states that they have won a contest and can now vote in design court. What exactly is the procedure now that that has happened. Will they go back to a zero win status, will the winnings be confiscated, what happens with the contest holder, etc?

    Thanks for clearing it up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s