Trade Secrets ain't it a Bitch

A customer came to us several months ago asking for a special project, the background on the story goes like this.

"Such and such has been making this item for me, for a long time, he's going to stop and focus on a commissioned project for a year. He put up a shop sign saying he is no longer accepting orders. I really need these items made because I package them with my product and could not possibly sell my signature items without his special made item included."

So I am thinking to myself, hmm either they had a disagreement or this potential customer is shopping for a better price on this custom work. So I investigate and sure enough the artist who is making these special items is going to work on a commissioned project. I spoke to the artist directly and he clarified that he just does not have time to help this customer or any of his other customers for the next year because of this special project.

Ok, I feel this is a good potential customer, and I can help her. So I check out this artists items and inspect his work, he has great products, great quality, but there is just one thing. His items are laser cut, and flat, but appear three-dimensional. Very cool indeed.

I go back to the artist and explain that there is a former customer of his that really wants to continue to use his special items, and she has asked me to make them for her. I tell him I am very impressed with his work and a little confused about how he makes his flat items look 3D. He punts me and does not reveal his secret.

I can handle it, obviously he spent considerable time and effort figuring out how to make this special item and isn't about to share his secret.

Long story short, after trial and error on my own part, I was able to reproduce this item, and do one better.

So when someone asks me how I create this item, should I punt them, or explain it?

In the end it's all just an optical illusion. But a very good one at that!

The keys below are actually flat, no texture. Seems this same trick is used on many other items also.


trade secret

So... I just found your site on Etsy. Interesting topic about trade secrets. Has there been a discussion about it I could read about?