How to Check if Freelance Graphic Designers' Work is Unique

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How to Check if Freelance Graphic Designers’ Work is Plagiarised?
Graphic design

#Art & Design


The Downside to Hiring Freelance Graphic Designers

Graphic design
January 25, 2022
8 minutes


For both art and graphic design, it’s equally important to be authentic. When outsourcing your graphic design, there’s always a risk that you’ll get plagiarized design work, and face long-term negative consequences. It’s good to know how to spot the fake.

In 2011, a work of art by the old master Dutch painter Frans Hals was sold at Sotheby’s for 10.8 million dollars to an anonymous art collector from the USA. Five years later, an in-depth technical analysis determined that the painting was undoubtedly a forgery. Sotheby’s declares Frans Hals work a forgery.

You’re probably not paying millions of dollars to freelance designers or design agencies if you outsource your graphic design. However, the harm and damage that your brand can suffer if you use inauthentic graphics will ruin your reputation. Not to mention the legal implications that can mean the end of your business.

Find out how and where to outsource your graphic design needs

Download our guide to find a solution that suits your business

Copied vs. Stolen

Picasso once said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” This won’t fly in the design world. Did you know that Burger King’s logo in Australia is entirely different from the rest of the world since another company already had the copyright? If they had used their regular logo, it would have been perceived as stolen intellectual property. But they ended up copying the style and CI colors of their usual logo, and by changing the name so prominently displayed on their familiar logo, they remained on the right side of the law.

Before we dive deeper into this, let’s clarify what’s “stolen” and what’s “copied” in terms of Picasso’s humorous statement.

The master was greatly influenced by African art and the African masks when he created "Les Demoiselles d’Avignon." This painting is considered the proto-cubist work that changed how we see art today.

Picasso used the primitivism and abandonment of perspective predominant in African art to favor a flat, two-dimensional picture plane. In reality, he didn’t steal those properties but instead used them as an inspiration to create a new style in art.

To copy artwork or a graphic design, for that matter, means you either use the same visual elements as the original, or you make minor changes to your design to pass it through as an original work.

Creating art inspired by something already seen in the works of other artists is perfectly normal in the art world. It does not damage the original art, but rather, it strengthens its value and renders the artist influential.

Professional graphic designers do the same thing all the time. They scan the internet for fresh visual styles, research competitors, and check platforms offering free logo designs and graphics to find elements that inspire them to create new designs that might trace back to the original. That, however, won’t classify their graphic designs as stolen or inauthentic.

Is there a way to check the authenticity of graphic design?

When you’ve hired someone for graphic design services, there is more than one way to find out if the graphic design you received is authentic or not. Unfortunately, none of them are 100% foolproof.

The first thing you can do is ask the designer.

Most freelance services and platforms where designers offer their talent require them to declare any non-original elements used. Otherwise, they risk account suspension and losing future freelance work.

Reverse image search

It’s pretty easy to check if the design is a copy or an original by using the search engines’ simple “reverse image search” feature. Google Lens, for example, is an image recognition technology that can help you find out if your design appears on any website across the internet. Just go to and click on the camera icon in the search bar.

Upload the image in question, and in mere milliseconds, you will be able to see if the same image appears anywhere on the internet.

Google Lens allows you to check not only for matching but also for visually similar images. This could be helpful if the freelancer slightly altered an existing design before delivering it to you. If your search results show something too similar to the design you’ve received, communicate this concern to the designer.

Check the metadata of the image

Images contain EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. If the image is not original and is already online, the chances are that metadata has already been encoded into the file.

Do your research

After you’ve checked the metadata and whether the design appears on any other pages, you can do one last thing if you still have concerns: good old-fashioned research. Check for similarities in the designs used by your competitors and generally throughout the industry. There’s no guarantee that you’ll cover everything, but it’s worth a try.

Ensure authenticity from the start

It’s best to ensure the authenticity of your graphic design even before the work on the project has begun. One simple and proven way to do that is by writing a detailed design brief. That way, you can ensure that the results you’re getting are unique and tailor-made for your business.

Suppose you decide to work with a freelance designer or hire an agency for your graphic design work. In that case, the project needs to start with clear, written communication that will describe the design work and outline expectations. It could be a very formal and detailed or an informal description of the main components of the project and the expected deliverables.

A clear design brief will save you lots of time in pointless emails, calls, and meetings. And it will help the design agency or the freelance designer to provide you with specific graphic design that’s in line with the needs of your project.

Without going into too much detail, let’s make a simple checklist of all the vital information you’ll need to include in your brief:

  • Project description
  • The project scope
  • What services you will require
  • Your target audience
  • A logo or other elements to be included
  • The overall style and look

A designer brief with a clear description of all the points mentioned above will inevitably ensure that your outsourced graphic design is tailor-made, i.e., unique and authentic.

Where to find graphic design services

When outsourcing graphic design, you essentially have two options: hire a freelance graphic designer or a design agency. There are pros and cons to both options, and it’s up to you to decide which suits your needs best.

Outsourcing to freelance graphic designers

While hiring freelance graphic designers may reduce your costs, you’ll need to consider the fact that it’s perfectly possible to face unwanted disruptions like lack of punctuality, the difference in time zones, or the fact that they might disappear without prior notice.

Wherever unexpected changes appear, the freelance graphic designer might not comply with your needs or may not have the skill to deal with the issue.

Here are some pros and cons of outsourcing to a freelance graphic designer:


  • Affordable (graphic designer rates on Upwork vary from $15 to $150 an hour)
  • Flexible working hours
  • Personal attention


  • Expensive in the long run
  • Slow turnaround time
  • They can disappear without prior notice
  • Hiring difficulties
  • No guarantee for agility and consistency of the graphic designer’s work
  • No money-back guarantee

Outsourcing to graphic design agencies

On the other hand, when you hire a graphic design agency, you can rely on the fact that you are hiring a team of proven professionals with full-time employment at your disposal. Your entire project will be executed by a team of creative professionals that can take care of all your needs. When hiring several freelancers, they can’t guarantee any consistency.


  • Versatile Skills
  • Easy to hire
  • Reliability


  • High short-term costs
  • Extremely high long-term
  • Slow turnaround time
  • No flexibility
  • No money-back guarantee

Outsourcing to a subscription-based creative agency

What if we told you that you could get the best of both worlds? Yes, you can get affordable graphic design services and professional customer service simultaneously.

When working with ManyPixels, you save time and money without the hassle of dealing with freelancers or relying on pricey agencies.

Why Manypixels is the best choice when it comes to outsourcing your graphic design

ManyPixels is a creative agency with a remote and diverse team from all over the globe that works under operation managers who ensure the graphic design we deliver is both high-quality and 100% authentic. We always follow the client’s brief, so our designers are guaranteed to deliver unique graphic designs according to the client’s specifications.

Hiring the best freelance graphic designer for your project can be challenging, and you can never expect to have one creative professional to cover all design aspects of your project. When you work with ManyPixels, you get an entire team with versatile skills to ensure that every design is up to standard.

Find out how to build a strong and unique brand

Download our guide to learn all about branding and visual identity

As a subscription-based design service, we significantly cut costs for our clients while providing them with outstanding, affordable, and authentic design in just 1-2 business days.

Feel free to check out some of the work we deliver for our clients.

Final thoughts

Checking the authenticity of outsourced graphic design can be challenging. Still, if you define your expectations before you even start the collaboration, you’ll be one step closer to getting unique designs.

Outsourcing graphic design can enable you to save time and money by delegating tasks to others who can do them better, cheaper, and in our case, both. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your project.

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Miodrag Magyar

January 25, 2022

An experienced creative talent with a demonstrated history of working in the advertising industry for more than 18 years. A strong creative writing professional with a special focus on creating content for marketing and social advertising projects. I have a Master's degree in Theater Directing. I love hiking, enjoy obscure music and European cinema. I am an avid fan of UFC!