Here are just a few of the design organisations with a visible stance on spec.
AGDA: The Australian Graphic Design Association
AGDA stance on spec:
4.1 Predatory pricing (free pitching): AGDA discourages members from predatory pricing practices such as free pitching, loss leading and other pricing below break-even. Members should be aware that such practices will damage the economic viability of their business.
6.2 Free pitching: AGDA is unequivocally opposed to the unfair manipulation of designers with the aim of garnering unpaid work (commonly known as ‘free pitching’). Client practices which do damage to a member’s business are those that award projects or commissions on the basis of the commissioner’s acceptance of unpaid design submissions (eg. unpaid competitive tendering or speculative work)
6.3 Fee reductions and non-paying commissions: A Member may provide a fee reduction for, or a donation of service to, a charitable or non-profit organisation.
AGDA Anti-Free Pitching Register: The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) has, since it inception, been opposed to the practice of free pitching as a means of acquiring new business in graphic design. Download the AGDA ‘Free Pitching and Designer Selection’ PDF. The Free Pitching download is a useful stand-alone document suitable for distribution to anyone who has an interest in the subject.
Collectively, our members believe it to be detrimental to the value of our core capabilities as a creative profession, short sighted as a means of evaluating designers and their companies for commercial projects, and counter to the efforts of many individuals in raising the perceived value of graphic design as a economic resource.
AIGA: American Institute of Graphic Arts
AIGA stance on spec:
Fees: A designer shall not undertake any work for a client without adequate compensation, except with respect to work for charitable or nonprofit organizations. A designer shall not undertake any speculative projects, either alone or in competition with other designers, for which compensation will only be received if a design is accepted or used. This applies not only to entire projects but also to preliminary schematic proposals. A designer shall work only for a fee, royalty, salary or other agreed-upon form of compensation. A designer shall not retain any kickbacks, hidden discounts, commission, allowances or payment in kind from contractors or suppliers.
CSD: Chartered Society of Designers
CSD stance on spec:
3.7 Members shall only enter or be a judge of competitions which comply with the design competition guidelines of the Society, or which obey rules approved by its International Relations Committee and when in any doubt shall consult the Director.
DINZ: Designers Institute of New Zealand
Country: New Zealand
DINZ stance on spec:
7.1. Fees and remuneration which members charge to clients shall reflect the time effort and urgency of the assignment to which they relate.
7.2. Members may work for a fee, royalty or salary.
7.3. Members shall not accept any payments or benefits which may impair or be seen to impair their ability to remain fair and impartial in all their dealings and shall take particular care in the case of contingency fees to adequately define the arrangement and ensure that they recover sufficient extra remuneration over carrying out the work at an hourly rate to reflect the risk assumed by the designer in taking on the work on a contingency basis.
7.4. Members shall not undertake work for a client without payment of the appropriate fees excepting cases of work for charitable or non profit making organisations when payment may be waived or at a reduced rate.
GAG: Graphic Artists Guild
GAG stance on spec:
Article 29: Work on speculation; Contests: Artists and designers who accept speculative assignments (whether directly from a client or be entering a contest or competition) risk losing anticipated fees, expenses, and the potential opportunity to pursue other, rewarding assignments. Each artist shall decide individually whether to enter art contests or design competitions, provide free services, work on speculation, or work on a contingency basis.
GDC: The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada
GDC stance on spec:
36. A Member, when consulted, shall encourage procedures that support fair and open competition based upon professional merit, and thereby promote and achieve the protection of the public.
37. A Member shall not take part in or conduct, either as a judge or an entrant, open competitions for commercial purposes on speculation.
38. A Member may take part in a limited design competition where each participant in the competition is provided equal compensation in accordance with the work involved.
39. A Member shall not work for a client or employer without compensation, with the exception of occasional pro bono work for charitable purposes and objects or for work performed for family members.
40. A Member shall not undertake any speculative project or schematic proposals for a project either alone or in competition with others for which compensation will only be received if a design is accepted or used.
Icograda: International Council of Graphic Design Associations
Focus: Design associations
Icograda stance on spec:
4. Designer’s Remuneration.
a. A designer shall not undertake nay work at the invitation of a client without payment of an appropriate fee. A designer may however, undertake work without fee or at a reduced rate for charitable or non-profit organisations.
a. A designer shall not take part in any open or limited international competition the terms of which are not in accordance with the regulations established by ICOGRADA, ICSID and IFI.
Note: The Icograda document library contains an informative best practice paper on soliciting work from professional communication designers.
ICSID: International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
Focus: Professional associations, promotional societies, educational institutions, government bodies, corporations and institutions
ICSID stance on spec: Same as Icograda
IDI: Institute of Designers in Ireland
IDI stance on spec:
(a)* A member shall not undertake any work at the invitation of a client without payment of an appropriate fee. Whether members work for a fee, salary, royalty or honorarium must ultimately depend upon the circumstances, providing always that members shall not use the offer of reduced charges to gain an advantage over their fellow members to obtain work or some other professional benefit. Notes for members on clauses marked*
4(a) In certain circumstances a member may make no charge to a charitable or non-profit making organisation, provided that by so doing he gains no advantage over a fellow member.
IBSA: the voice of British advertisers
Focus: Advertisers, marketing
IBSA stance on spec:
The agency marketplace is highly competitive and inevitably some agencies respond by accepting low cost/low margin jobs rather than emphasizing the quality, value and effectiveness of their work. If the “business at any price” attitude takes over there are concerns it could create a downward spiral of costs, margins, quality and creativity which would ultimately impoverish advertisers and agencies alike.
RGD: Association of Registered Graphic Designers
RGD stance on spec:
(a) With the exception of work done on a pro bono basis, I will not perform graphic design services without receiving fair compensation.
(b) I will set compensation at a level suitable to my qualifications and which provides for the success of my practice.
6.2 Spec Work
(a) I will not perform graphic design services on a speculative basis in hopes of being compensated for my services after the fact.
(b) I will not direct any employees or students under my charge to perform graphic design services on a speculative basis.
(c) I will refrain from engaging in competitions unless all participants are compensated equally in a way that I feel constitutes fair value or the terms have been approved by the RGD Ethics Committee.
6.2 Pro Bono
(a) I shall limit donation of work to charities, non-profits, social causes and family members.
(b) I shall refrain from donating work to charities or non-profits that have the capacity to pay for graphic design services.
c) I will issue comprehensive invoices, with a 100% discount, on all pro bono projects so that the value of my donation is respected.
(d) I will request recognition on materials where I have provided my services pro bono.
6.3 Education about Spec Work
(a) Whenever I come across a situation whereby a Canadian company, government department or agency or non-profit organization is requesting speculative work by graphic designers, I will inform RGD and do my best to educate that client on the dangers and drawbacks associated with it.
(b) I will do my best to educate colleagues, employees and students about the dangers and drawbacks associated with spec work.
SEGD: Society for Environmental Graphic Design
Focus: Environmental graphic designers and fabricators
Country: USA (International)
SEGD stance on spec:
5.1. A designer shall not undertake any work for a client without adequate fees compensation, except with respect to work for charitable or non-profit organizations.
5.2. A designer shall not undertake any speculative projects wither alone or in competition with other designers for which compensation will only be received if a design is accepted or used. This applies not only to entire projects but also to preliminary schematic proposals.
If you would like your organisation included, or if you have information to add, please contact us.