Robert Wurth on NO!SPEC

Robert Wurth has added to the crusade with Spec Work and Mail Order Brides.

What it boils down to is a loss of control. By running a contest, the company gives up its power to choose a designer based on talent, skill, personality and all of the other factors that make it possible to conduct business with someone. This is no more a sound business model than playing the lottery in the hopes of making a profit.

Piers Le Seuer on NO!SPEC

The ‘Designers who blog’ NO!SPEC crusade month just wouldn’t be right without a mention of designer Piers Le Seur. Piers designed the fantastic logo you see here on the NO!SPEC site, which eventually fueled the design.

Yes, it’s been a RUSH here and a DASH there which means this blog is running behind.

But with all this happening, I’d like to slow down and take this opportunity to thank the very dear person who designed the NO!SPEC logo (which lead the design for the NO!SPEC site), Piers Le Seuer.

Piers is a New Zealand designer who has been in the industry for a long while. He is dedicated, energetic, and an avid anti spec crusader. The exclamation mark used in the logo is apt as it is a favourite key of his.

Thank-you Piers, the logo is brilliant!

Did I mess up big time?


I checked out the NoSpec site and have a quick question on mockups and I would really appreciate it if you could give me some advice. Here’s the scenario. I just got off the phone with a potential client who’s looking for someone to design his logo. This happened a couple of hours before I checked your site. Oops.

He can’t draw so he just needs someone to draw a design based on a rough image he sent me and after he gets the sketch he’ll finish the rest himself on Photoshop. Now, he happened to mention that he’s getting designs and quotes from other illustrators and he’s going to check out everyone’s mockups and choose from there.

So now the question is, did I mess up big time? If so, what do you suggest I do about it? He’s also expressed some interest in buying some of my more expensive art later on, which if he does, will be much more expensive than this logo so I’d like to fix this without ruining the potential business relationship in the long term.

Please let me know what you think. I’d appreciate any advice you can offer.

Hungry Artist

Why Spec Projects and Logo Design Contests Suck

Steve Douglas from the LogoFactory has written an article on LogoPalooza: Why spec projects and logo design contests suck.

Steve writes: If I had a nickel for every time I heard this – “if you show me what you’re proposing for my logo design, and if I like it, I’ll pay for it”, I’d be a rich man. Or at least the proud owner of a lot of nickels. My answer is and has been always the same – “No thanks”.

Firstly, a design studio is like any other business. Overhead. Salaries. Day-to-day expenses. It’s downright impractical and illogical to give our product away for free (that part should be obvious). Running The Logo Factory studio with ‘hope to get paid’ projects, while my designers are of the “definitely getting paid” variety is a formula that any first year business student would see as fundamentally flawed.

Read further into the article for real life samples on how these logo competitions mangle the idea when…

Some of our logos – swiped from our web site or our clients – have shown up as entries in online ‘logo design contests’ – a variation of ‘spec’ design work – submitted by other, ahm, ‘designers’. In this case, the ‘designer’ was outed by fellow contestants shortly after the ‘client’ had selected the ripped-off design as the ‘finalist’. This ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ method of logo selection has some severe risks and serious flaws.

This article is well worth the read for designers, as well as a warning to clients contemplating a logo contest to solve logo needs.

Debbie Millman on NO!SPEC

Debbie Millman is an avid crusader of the design industry, as well as a supporter of the NO!SPEC Campaign.

Debbie started the crusade off with…

Speculative work denigrates both the agencies and the designers that participate. If we give away our work for free, if we give away our talent and our expertise, we give away more than the work. We give away our hearts for free, and we give away our souls.

To read the rest of what Debbie has to say about her brushes with spec, please visit Debbie Millman.

Thanks Debbie!

New to the Design Industry

Dear Designer

I have never worked with a designer before.

A friend of mine told me that I can get you to work for free. My friend said that all I had to do is tell you that there is the possibility of more work if I choose your design. My friend said that I can get you to create several layouts to show me before I even pay one penny. My friend also said to tell you that I have other designers doing this too and that I will pick the best one out of the bunch.

I didn’t realize how easy it was to get designers to work for nothing and in appreciation I will have to take my friend out to lunch and thank him.

Potential Client

Branding Request

Dear Designer,

After much discussion, my company has decided that it needs a complete image overhaul. We’d like our logo updated, as well as all of our marketing materials redesigned to better build our brand. We have many people placing ads for our company in different publications, and we need to have a standards manual put together to ensure that everything looks similar, is easily recognizable as being an ad for our company, and continues to build our brand. We also have a monthly newsletter and quarterly newspaper that needs to be overhauled and updated.

We need this all in 6 weeks, and I’d really like to see some samples of ideas you have for us before I agree to hire and pay you.