suit 101 on NO!SPEC

Spec Work Hurts Graphic Designers

Clients want free work and ideas. As a creative professional you should just say NO!

About a year ago I was asked to bid on creating the design work for a magazine for a small liberal arts college. … We really like your work, they say, but we’d like to see a 4-page page mock up of what our magazine would look like if you redesigned it. At this point, my spidey sense is tingling and I politely agree to the request as long as they reimburse me for my time. We consider this an “audition”, I am told, and they will not pay for my services. This is spec work. Thanks, but no thanks, was my reply.

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3 responses to “suit 101 on NO!SPEC”

  1. I’m not a web designer. I don’t play one on tv. IMHO, spec is an audition. Nothing more or less. It’s a cheap way to get a pro to waste time and effort on a lottery. I am in the process of correcting edits on a doctoral disertation for someone. This is not an audition. With the agreement to research the bibliographic equivilent and insert the appropriate edits where necessary comes a fee. Anywhere from $4 – $10 per page, minimum of 10 pages paid in advance, non-refundable. Right now I have a 150 segment of to do. I have not started because the fee has not been paid. Long story short: The company asking you, as a design pro to submit work is a contract. Send them a counter offer. If they refuse to reply in 30 days, I believe you can sue for your offer or breach of contract. Check with your lawyer. It just might be worth a little hassle to send what could be a very expensive wake up call.

  2. Thanks David. An audition is right. And one I cannot afford to waste time on. If I’m running around auditioning, then my clients are not getting the attention they deserve.

    It would be the same for someone without work. If they are giving work away, they cannot put the proper time into figuring out why they do not have work. Putting a decent value on it might be one of the problems.

  3. i just can not help but to bring up some points
    1-a lot of lawyers do have free consultations
    2-a lot of dentists offer few evaluation for implants
    3-repair shops have free estimates
    4-clothing designers make their line in hope some one buys them
    5-memorial for 9/11 victums is a contest project
    6-real estate agents take you to diffrent homes and you might not buy from them
    7-a lot of people want to be actors and they go to auditions, sometimes thousands and they might not get a job
    8-people write books and don’t get published
    and the list continues
    if my understanding is correct a designer makes a few sample and the clients picks one so if a designer proposes the same amount of spec work he should get one client if he don’t maybe he or she should try rethinking his approach to design
    c-designers generally put their best work in their portfolio so it really is not a representation of what a client can expect but they present it as such. so maybe designers should display their work at random so clients get a better feel of what to expect

    the problem that is facing your community is facing all levels of buissness.There is a lack of trust between the service providers and clients. If you have enough clients which is the result of your good reputation then by all means you should refuse this kind of situation but if you need to solicit clients then you have to accept this kind of situations and welcome the competition

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