Category: Spec Conversation

  • A client’s argument against free-pitching

    John Scarrott and the Design Business Association thought it would be interesting to get a client’s perspective on free pitching, so asked Tom Foulkes, marketing director of Peter Brett Associates, about how he buys design expertise. “Fundamentally, we believe the creative pitch is commercially toxic and is a tradition the marketing profession can do without. […]

  • In for a penny, in for a pounding

    Joe Rinaldi, VP of business development at Happy Cog, wrote an excellent article aimed at design clients about how spec work doesn’t just threaten the design businesses that take part, it threatens the clients’ companies and their projects, too. “Each time agencies pre-invest in spec work, they mortgage their organizations on winning the work and […]

  • Refuse to work for nothing

    DA&D’s past President Mike Dempsey shared his thoughts on the recent speech given to young design graduates by D&AD chairman Dick Powell. Mike Dempsey said: “This attitude dovetails into the alarming increase in free pitching that now runs throughout our industry, from the smallest to the most prestigious firms. Every company that embraces this and […]

  • Donating the unpaid labor of others

    Steve Douglas wrote an in-depth piece about “the arrogance of crowdsourcing,” where he talks about the design contest for the Dallas Mavericks. He also reviews “unofficial” contests for Sony Playstation, Daft Punk, and Manchester United, where spec work websites “have nothing to lose — they’re donating the unpaid labor of others.” “It’s a copyright and […]

  • The dangers of speculative design

    Lisa Barrett of Birmingham-based Sixth Story published the studio’s experience of speculative design, where the “pitches” they ultimately lost ended up looking very similar to the designs that were actually used. “We produced some branding work, name generation and packaging concepts for a start up business in order for them to secure funding and investment […]

  • Interview Request: Alternatives to Free Pitching

    Alternatives to Free Pitching Free pitching has long been an issue with designers. Some designers are for, some against, while others aren’t sure which way to jump. Do you? Below is a request for help from a writer compiling research for a paper on free pitching. I now turn you over to Sean Ashcroft… I […]

  • NO!SPEC’s Quote of the Century…

    Paul Rand paraphrased by Steve Jobs I will solve your problem for you. And you will pay me. And you don’t have to use the solution. If you want options, go talk to other people. But I’ll solve the problem for you the best way I know how. And you can use it or not […]

  • YouTube: The Vendor Client Relationship

    Are these real world situations? Or what? Please go to YouTube to see the video (they don’t want it embedded). The Vendor Client relationship – in real world situations. A huge thanks goes to Lee Healey from for sending it by. Enjoy…

  • CreativePro: Spec Work and Crowdsourcing

    Spec Work and Crowdsourcing, when will they ever learn? Pamela Pfiffner, writer and founding editor of, recently put together a timely article for designers: Spec Work and Crowdsourcing: Gambles that Don’t Pay Off. The economy’s in the toilet and you’re hungry for jobs, so you’re working on spec or posting designs to sites like […]

  • 99designs: Bullshit 2.0 | I’m a Proud Weenie! | Blowing Competitions Up, and Other Acts of Good Citizenship

    Spec Conversation Roundup: graphicPUSH: 99designs: Bullshit 2.0 Kevin: “99designs was started by designers for designers”. I am struggling to form the intensely negative, logic-dismantling superlatives I need to accurately convey the sheer depth of absolute bullshit this clump of words was pulled from. This is one of the most hollow and forced statement I have […]