Best Practices for Giving Attribution & Proper Credit

Best Practices for Giving Attribution & Proper Credit

As a creative and in general, a person who is extremely detail oriented, I noticed the smallest things all the time. This is especially true when it comes to design, especially web design. It’s really funny how some of the things I notice now, as a graphic and web designer, I never noticed as just someone who was browsing.

A while back, I wrote a post discussing authenticity and originality, because I kept seeing over and over many of my friends and counterparts dealing with people copying or stealing their material. I think its something that will continue to plague the creative community, unfortunately, because many people don’t even realize they’re doing it. The same goes for not giving proper attribution or credit when you have either used, modified, or customized someone’s idea or design.

Best Practices for Giving Attribution & Proper Credit |

All too often I see individual’s who will think they are giving the proper credit to the original creator of an idea, but they’re not.

Sometime’s, however, I see a blatant disregard or complete stealing of credit. For example, back in the day, I was browsing through my Bloglovin’, only to land on a site that was using a theme from a very well known blog theme builder and designer, and when I got to the footer of the site, I saw no credit given to the original theme builder.  Instead, the site footer actually said “Site Design by [Said Owner of Site]”.

It didn’t help that this individual does custom site design and that visitors of their site would assume that they did the actual design, development, and customization of the site themselves. This is extremely misleading and untruthful and violates the copyright of the original theme developer.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a premade theme and customizing it.

For instance, my site runs on the Genesis Framework and I use one of Studiopress’ premade child themes which I have customized to fit the needs of my site, branding, and style. In this sense, I have designed my site, yet I did not develop it which is why I did not include the word “develop” or the phrase “site design” in my site footer as you can see below.Best Practices for Giving Attribution & Proper Credit |

It may seem like semantics, but it really does matter, because when most people think of the term “site design” or “develop”, they have in mind the actual person who coded and developed the site, not the designer.

What exactly is a Developer?

A developer is someone who actually builds the theme, they code it from scratch or may even take a preexisting theme and build on to it (still doing extensive coding) and designs it.

The Solution

It’s something that can be so easily avoided, but I think that people want to make sure so bad that they’re included in the attribution for their site that they end up inadvertently (or purposely) comprising their integrity.

As with anything that you may modify or adapt from, whether it be a recipe or tutorial you should always give credit or note that it was adapted.  By not doing so, you risk copyright infringement and that’s not good at all.  This also goes for coding, for my fellow designers out there.  If you come across a code that someone is sharing, ensure you leave their attribution in the coding.  There’s absolutely no reason to remove it, even if you modified’ss still an adaptation and their code.

There is a major difference between a web developer and a web designer, and in giving the benefit of the doubt, a lot of people use them (incorrectly) interchangeably.

We’ve already covered what a developer does, so I’ll clarify what a designer does so that you’ll be one less person using the term incorrectly. First things first, a web designer can actually be the person that does the site design, in the sense that they may be the ones to create a mockup of it in Photoshop or Illustrator and then take it to a developer to code.

On the other hand, a web designer can be someone who customizes the website with your brand colors, icons, and sometimes content. They will work within the realm of code, but it’s usually in the capacity of making here and there changes, not overhauling the entire theme. This means that the individual made little to no changes to the coding, with the exception of the hex codes for colors. You haven’t added to or taken away from the theme, but have made it match your branding perfectly, i.e. customized.  – Catch my drift here?

A web designer may be the one that has the creative aesthetic, while a web developer is less concerned with aesthetics and more with UX (user experience).

Alright now that we cleared that up, let’s get back on subject. As I digress…

If you’ve purchased a premade theme and customized it yourself or had someone to do it, you don’t necessarily have to keep a backlink to their site in your footer. Although, some designers and developers do have it as a part of their terms of use that you do. If they don’t, great, but if you’re going to take away their attribution, don’t add your own to make it appear as if you designed the site. If having a backlink doesn’t bother you, you can customize the footer to say whatever you want it to say, but still, include a link to the original designer.

How to Give Proper Attribution & Credit

Here’s an example of good ways to do both of the aforementioned:

Without attribution:

“Copyright © 2015 Your Site Name

With attribution:

“Copyright © 2015 Your Site Name” “Site Design by Original Theme Developer” “Customized by You (or Whoever Did The Customization)

It’s as easy and simple as that. With the examples above, there’s no misleading as to who designed the site and both ways still protect your content on the site. I honestly don’t understand why someone would take credit for something that they didn’t create. Customizing is one thing, but development is another.

As a previous theme developer (don’t develop anymore, but I do still design), I can tell you that to build a theme from scratch or even do heavy customization of a premade theme takes a lot of work.

For instance, with the Genesis Framework, the themes that Studiopress builds and sells are meant to be heavily customized and built upon. This is one reason why their themes have such awesome clean coding and aren’t bloated with unnecessary code. The themes being coded that way also protect the security of them, so sites that run

The themes being coded that way also protect the security of them, so sites that run Genesis themes have a little extra security than sites built by other developers. Additionally, Studiopress themes come with a license to develop, so this means that once you do purchase a theme from them directly (not a third party one, whether sold through them or not), you can make it your own and claim attribution. This is perfectly okay in most circumstances.

However, what is not okay is to purchase a theme from a third party developer of Genesis Framework themes, customize it, meaning change some colors and add your header (to be surface level about it) and claim that you designed that theme. Unless you’ve purchased a developer license from that third party developer, it is wrong to add your name to the attribution using the term “site design”, because you did not design the site.

So whether you’ve done this or not, or didn’t realize it was wrong, it is definitely something that must be kept in mind.  It’s especially important if you’re a fellow designer and happen to do custom site design for others.  Even more so, it’s important for them to know whether you are a developer/designer/builder,  or just someone that does theme customization.  There is a huge difference, and I think a lot of people don’t realize it.

I hope this gives you a bit more insight on the topic of attribution and how to properly give it.  It’s one of those things that’s so simple to mess up, but so simple to do or fix.  Think of it like when you didn’t cite your sources properly or at all in school, and your teacher took off for it.  People deserve to know the true source of where you got something and it’s also giving respect to the individual that created it.

Designers, developers, and those alike work hard, and to have someone claim my work as their own is not only hurtful but disrespectful.  Make sure you’re never in this position by crossing your “T’s” and dotting your “I‘s” when it comes to attribution.

Also, if you don’t know whether a designer requires attribution, ask!  Better safe than sorry and they will appreciate you for it.  Many won’t care if you don’t attribute as long as you don’t claim their work as your own, but of course, it’s always nice to attribute and link back as a courtesy.

How I Reclaimed My Passion for Web Design Through Branding

How I Reclaimed My Passion for Web Design Through Branding

I absolutely love web design! For the past few months, I’ve taken a break from it, however. I needed to pull back to focus on my rebrand and creating high-quality, valuable content for my new space. While I would have loved to have been able to balance it all, something had to go and it was web design.

How I Reclaimed My Passion for Web Design Through Branding |

Designing premade themes and doing custom web design and development exclusively for the Genesis Framework (aff link) was awesome, but I struggled to find my own real aesthetic and style in doing so. When I first started designing premade themes, I took inspiration from everywhere and so I felt my designs ended up not looking unique and too much like those in the industry. The last thing I want to be known for is biting off of someone else’s style and aesthetic, when I feel so passionate about design and developing my own. Those feelings of feeling fraudy and like an imposter severely held me back. It took for me to pull away, rebrand, refocus, and decide where I really wanted to take my businesses to come to terms with how I was feeling. I came to the conclusion that I had to let something go in my preexisting business and focus it back on what the original intent for it was a graphic design boutique. I pulled all of the web design and development aspects from it because I felt it wasn’t a good fit. The one thing that helped me reach this conclusion was me rebranding New Mama Diaries to Bliss & Faith.

Those feelings of feeling fraudy and like an imposter severely held me back. It took for me to pull away, rebrand, refocus, and decide where I really wanted to take my businesses to come to terms with how I was feeling. I came to the conclusion that I had to let something go in my preexisting business, and focus it back on what the original intent for it was, a graphic design boutique. I pulled all of the web design and development aspects from it, because I felt it wasn’t a good fit. The one thing that helped me reach this conclusion was me rebranding New Mama Diaries to Bliss & Faith.

How I Reclaimed My Passionate for Web Design Through Branding |

As I was taking myself through the rebranding process, I realized that web design and development made more sense to be a part of Bliss & Faith, rather than Sweet Face Studio. The reason being is because I enjoy creating custom and unique things that can serve a specific purpose for business. The thing is that I love being a part of defining that purpose, I love being a part of the whole process from start to finish. Its the one thing that made rebranding to Bliss & Faith so fun.

In doing so, I found that I was still passionate about web design and development, but more from the standpoint of branding. I’ve always been a ‘full story, behind the scenes’ kind of girl. Someone buying a premade theme of mines and taking it and running just wasn’t enough. I wanted to know the story behind the business and how their branding encompasses the theme. This led me to have more of an interest in helping to create brand identities, rather than just create one component of it.


I take my hat of to all of the designers and developers that offer premade themes, because they are offering a great option for those who can’t quite make the investment in a custom design. I just know for right now that I would rather focus on custom work, seeing the entire branding process all the way through. Its what’s right for me and my business at this time. However, this is not to say one day that I won’t ever offer premade themes again, because I haven’t completely taken doing so off the table. One of the most important parts of running a business having the ability to effectively decipher what to offer and what not to offer. Another important part is to be able to solve a problem that already isn’t being solved. There are a ton of other premade designers out there, even more so in the feminine design aesthetic niche. While, yes I can create themes in my own unique way, if they aren’t really doing anything different than what’s already out there then there isn’t really a clear purpose for creating them. I love being able to create something exactly for an individuals needs, which is why I love branding and brand identity design.

When it comes to branding, everything about it revs my engine. I love the critical and analytic thinking that it requires. As a business minded person (and someone who hold a business management degree) it allows me to think through and be able to solve a problem through a process. Business is all about processes and its what I’ve always loved about business. In being an entrepreneur, I afford myself the opportunity to be able to create the processes, instead of having to follow pre-established one. Its the best of both worlds, because not only do I get to use my left and right brain, I’m able to help take someone’s business to the next level. I’m able to educate other’s on the process as well, by sharing those experiences of helping others here on my blog. Additionally, I’m able to create content to help other like business owners in their quest to help others and succeed.


There’s nothing more enlightening than getting to know yourself and your true passions, and knowing that those same passions can help others. Its been quite a journey for me reaching this point, and I definitely did’t reach it overnight. Its taken me months to dig deep, let go and start new. I can honestly say that its still not the most comfortable place to be in, because I’m used to certainty. I’ve realized as an entrepreneur that certainty and it don’t always exist in the same world. I know that all the passion in the world can’t make my business successful without having some real business sense.

Obtaining business sense is what has allowed to both define and expand my offerings and realize that the things I love to do still have a place in those offerings. I’m so glad that I know how to develop and design websites, because it helps me with part of the branding process. It honestly makes me a better brand identity developer, because I’m able to know exactly who my target client should be, because I now know my style and aesthetic better. I’m confident that when I design now, that I’m doing it for someone who I know understands my aesthetic, appreciates it, and that it fits their business.

Listen to more about this topic on the Branded Bliss Podcast!


Have you ever lost your passion for something and then gained it back? – What prompted it and what steps did you take to get it back?

Sometimes Its Just Time | Pt. 2

Sometimes Its Just Time | Pt. 2

Happy March!  The year is flying by so fast already and yes, I can totally believe it.  I’m back today with part two of my “Sometimes Its Just Time” series.  You may have noticed that I took a good bit of time off in February, but I explained why in my newsletter than was sent out last week.  If you’re not signed up, make sure you do so, because last week’s newsletter contained an awesome branding freebie and I’ll be sending out more in my newsletters.  Basically, I took time off to continue to evaluate my rebrand and the direction I wanted to take my blog.  I also have some other things on the homefront going on that contributed to needing to take that time off, but more on that later!

Sometimes Its Just Time Pt. 2 | - Branding, Design, & Social Media Management

As you can see, New Mama Diaries is no more.  I know, sad face, but it was time.  The site has been given a complete facelift and completely rebranded.  I still have a few things to change, such as my About Me graphic, but I’m hoping to get some new headshots done soon, so it will most likely get changed then.  I do have a post coming up all about the rebrand and design inspiration for the site, so hopefully it will be up in a few days.  I debated posting this post before that one, but decided I wanted to go into more detail about the rebrand, intentions, and direction before I went posting about the site design and such.  Nonetheless, the noticeable changes are the color palette and overall feel of the site, which I’m super happy about.  I loved my old design, as it had been heavily customized by me, but it was always a little unsettling and heavy.  With that design I was going for “bold”, but don’t think I ever accomplished that.  Apparently, there’s a fine line between bold and heavy. #graphicdesignerproblems  Anyhow, I’m not really a bold or heavy kind of person, as I’m more dainty and girly, with an edge.  As much as I looovvveee hot pink, the softer pink is more fitting, comfortable, and pleasing to the eye.  I love the new light feel of everything and airy and inviting presence that my site now has now.  Its something I’ve always strived for!  Anyhow, before I get too carried away talking about design, I’m going to get back into the intent and direction of my site.

I wanted to make my site more personal, allow you all to get to know me while still having focused content. Again, as I stated before I will still write about motherhood, marriage, and even post a recipe every now and then, but the bulk of my content will be based on blogging, branding, design, and social media management.  Its so much nicer to actually have specific subjects to write on, instead of writing about any and everything.  I feel so much more focused, and for an undisciplined girl such as myself, that’s a good thing!  In the 7 or 8 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned so much, but I’ve really learned the most in the past year and a half.  I would do you all and myself a injustice not to share.  I think that’s a contributing factor to many of the issues that plague creatives today.  Many don’t want their toes to be stepped on, so they don’t share.  They only feel that there’s room for them and no one else.  I believe there’s room for everyone, so I have no issue sharing.  Everyone has something unique to bring to the table, whether they have a little or a lot of experience.

I’ve found that people who give back frequently, have the most success.  Ladies like Marie ForleoHilary Rushford, and Regina from ByRegina are constantly giving back, and their success speaks for it.  They are successful and people support them because these ladies convey a giving spirit.  They aren’t threatened by fellow entrepreneurs that may be within their same niche, because they are busy thinking of ways to help others.  Its a cyclical affect and I have truly been inspired by these ladies.  Yes, they are entrepreneurs who make money doing what they are doing, but if anything you want them to be successful because of what they do for others.  Being in the company of these ladies’ awesomeness is inspiring and motivating to me to find that one thing I can contribute to the world in my own unique way.  Its one of the things that prompted me to seek a different direction for my site and look within myself to see what I was truly passionate about.  I realized that its been the same thing all along, helping others.  I’ve always wanted to help people, and every job I’ve ever had involved helping people.  I even have a degree in an area where I’m constantly helping people.  Helping people makes me happy and is extremely fulfilling.  I feel that you should only put your time and energy into things in your life that truly fulfill you.  If it doesn’t, its going to show and you will soon get burnt out.  This has happened to me numerous times, where I kept pushing myself to do something that I got no fulfillment out of.  Needless to stay, those situations or things I was doing never seemed to work out or be as successful as I wanted them to be.

Now, I’m dreaming bigger and digging deeper to do what makes me happy and fulfilled.  My intent for Bliss & Faith, is to be a place of community where people feel they can get positive reinforcement and helpful resources.  As much as I’m helping you all, you’re actually helping me to be better.  The more helpful content I put out there for you, the more ideas for even more helpful content will pop up in my brain.  The easier it’ll be for me, not feeling like a chore or task, to post or respond to you all and, truly and accurately help you.

The front page of Bliss & Faith says this all in a nutshell:

…a blog all about helping fellow bloggers, creatives, and small business owners. It was created out of a passion for growth, development, betterment, sharing, and giving back.

So with confetti dreams and glitter-filled schemes, I invite you to join me on this journey.  Let me know what you need and what I can do for you!  At the end of the day, that’s what its all about.

Confetti Dreams & Glitter-filled Scheme | - Branding, Design, & Social Media Management

I’ll be going into more detail about the branding and social media management aspect of Bliss & Faith at a later time.  However, if you have questions now about either one or need help, please reach out!  You can contact me at:

Much love!