The Risks of Imitating Designs (Even from Successful Companies)...It’s actually a great idea to take a look around at your industry’s leading companies for inspiration about how to solve your own problems. But it’s not advisable to blindly copy a design just because another, bigger company did it first. Aside from the fact that giant companies operate in a completely different brand context, the truth is that just because a company is successful does not mean you can assume everything about its design is well-executed.
Here are some clear examples of designs that definitely should not be copied, in case you aren’t convinced — or, in case you need to convince someone else!...
Nielsen Norman Group
Have you mimicked a design used by a large company and then found that is did not work out so well for your site? Or maybe it did - if it did explain how it helped your site.