Lets start by looking at the homepage. At first glimpse, there’s nothing glaringly obvious. Full screen imagery on both, with a navigation bar at the top.
If we scroll down to the footer, we find a “back to top bar” on both, followed by contact information and social links.
The homepages aren’t identical, but they share a very similar layout and style. It could just be coincidental though, so lets look a little deeper.
If we look at the work pages of both sites we see a very similar layout, both with greyscale images arranged in a large responsive grid.
When we look at the rollover states, we find again that they’re not exactly the same but very similar. Both have a centered cross and name of the project on rollover.
Black and white imagery and responsive grid based layouts are very popular at the minute, and it’s logical to have the project name and a view more type of device on rollover, so it’s reasonable to assume that two sites could by chance look very similar.
However, clicking through into a project we see yet another familiar design. Of course we still have the top navigation bar, but also a full screen gallery with fading transitions. In both we see the title of the project positioned at the bottom of the screen in a fullwidth bar with centered text, with next and previous article arrows.
Scrolling down reveals the copy and embedded imagery, proportionally almost identical, with a right hand column linking to other content.
Looking at the two sites together in this way I think it’s hard to deny that the WRG site borrows heavily from Seesaw. There are areas of the WRG site that diverge from the Seesaw design, but I think that is more out of necessity – when the WRG content differs or isn’t reflected on the Seesaw site.
It’s a real shame that an agency as large as WRG couldn’t have been more creative and original with their own website, and having recently read about a UK web company plagiarising the design of an Australian husband and wife team, I hope this doesn’t mark the start of a trend.