Not too long ago we mentioned taking a step back and changing the way we approach things, and that statement still stands. A few people on the GeekHack forums speculated that we had hinted at expanding KeyKollectiv, and, well… I’m going to out and say it. You guys were absolutely right, though we are still not entirely sure what that means. Kudos and I have reached the point where we can no longer keep up with the pace we have set for ourselves, especially if we intend to not be beat out by others with the similar (if not the exact same) ideas we have had--particularly ones utilizing methods only previously successfully executed by KK—but yes, we are keenly aware this won’t last forever. We do not own these methods(or the color ways), just as surely as Bro does not own robots and Clack does not own skulls. One look at even the most skilled artisans out there, and Kudos can easily deduce the methods used within minutes (such as the new K3 flag caps 😏). I’ve developed a pretty good eye for it myself. Here’s the thing, though, this applies to our methods as well. And that’s just something we have to be totally okay with.
Personally, I believe that in such a small community it’s even more of a faux pas to infringe or duplicate someone's style, but naturally, it's inevitable due shared influences all around. Were this a large conglomeration that were, in any way shape or form, incorporated, then I don't believe the point of origin would be nearly as easy to pinpoint and perhaps, arguably more acceptable (it’s still ethically iffy, but inevitable and can also promote creative growth as well). But given just how small this community is, and how few artists currently exist, there are plenty of vacuums should they desire to fill them. However, it’s worth noticing what is already in existence. If there are, say, 20 artisans, and they all have their own particular signature style, YES there is by all means room for more artisans. Many, many more!! But not ones doing the exact same thing already being done. Maybe utilizing the same methods--sure--but they should at least be utilized in a creative way, in my humble opinion.
I get it. This happens inevitably when things are produced in mass, and we all turn a blind eye because it's out of our hands. A recent example of this that I've seen (on a larger scale, obviously) was about a year or so ago--Starbucks blatantly began turning their business model and marketing into a practically indistinguishable version of Intelligentsia. They even made an artisanal, small batch coffee subscription service and changed their website (as well as packaging) to reflect a distorted mirror of their competitor. As a longtime supporter of Intelligentsia, I admit, this rubbed me the wrong way. But I immediately began playing Devil's Advocate against myself, rationalizing that perhaps it is not as blatant as I thought, and if it worked for them, naturally competitors will follow suit. Surely nothing can be done or said at that level; these corporations are untouchable and we as consumers tend to believe this is simply “the way things are,” or worse (which I am also guilty of) that there is nothing wrong with it. But I would argue that--at the VERY least--on this small of a scale, the more diversity the better. If only a handful of artisans are on the market, why not try to make something completely different? It's so much more fun that way anyway! I can honestly say I truly look forward to seeing the things people come up with, especially when you can tell there is a lot of love and passion behind their ideas.
With that said, I wish any and all new artisans the best of luck. And: