Jeff Fisher on NO!SPEC

Jeff Fisher, Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, commends the The Caravan Project from his blog, bLog-oMotives.

I want to compliment Frederick Ost for engaging in a positive dialogue with Cat Wentworth, Project Manager of NO!SPEC, in regards to how their original call for participation constituted “spec” work. The Caravan Project members worked with NO!SPEC to revise their request into a much more ethical design project procedure. I applaud their willingness to take another look out how their project was being conducted and make alterations. I urge other designers to support The Caravan Project and their promotion of NO!SPEC. When you visit the TCP web site you will see their support in the form of a graphic.

Photographers speak out on NO!SPEC


I’m hoping you can let visitors to the NO!SPEC site know that graphic designers are not the only ones being plagued by requests for work on spec. On spec or as it’s come to be known in the photography industry “Custom Stock” is a growing trend.

Companies are trying to legitimize a model which is based on asking multiple photographers to bid on a chance to provide what is in effect a custom assignment but at stock photography rates and royalties. Photographers who are chosen must also finance the shoot out of their own pockets with no guarantee that their images will even be chosen.

These “Custom Stock” shoots are presented to stock photographers as an enhanced “stock” opportunity. At the same time, these are presented to clients that this is an sensible business practice that will allow them to acquire professional quality assignment images, shot to their specifications at no risk to themselves and for stock photography prices.

What “Custom Stock” actually is though is “competitive spec”. Multiple photographers are asked to “bid” on a chance to provide the requested images. Out of those that provide bids, maybe up to five are chosen. From the images provided the client may then choose the image or images they want to license at the previously agreed upon fee. However, the client is under absolutely no obligation to license any of the images. If an images is licensed, the agreed upon fee for the service is then split between the company providing the service and the photographer with the commissions varying by company.

This trend was actually started by OnRequest Images who in fact, coined the term “Custom Stock” but others, including more traditional stock agencies are beginning to follow suit. Index Stock Imagery has also jumped into the pool with its Index Custom Stock service which closely follows the OnRequest model. Other are sure to follow.

The Stock Artists Alliance (SAA), an industry association which represents photographers who produce images for rights-protected license has more information on its web site concerning OnRequest Images and the “Custom Stock” model.

The SAA web site can be found at:

More information about OnRequest Images can be found at:

Index Custom Stock service from Index Stock Imagery can be found at:

Jim Hunter
Assignment – Stock – Fine Art

Susan Kirkland on NO!SPEC

Susan Kirkland: SPECulative at Graphic Design Forum Blogs

If you are invited by a big client to do work on spec, react with enthusiasm for the project, then politely suggest current projects prevent you from participating in that way. Suggest an alternative method of vying for the job; a portfolio showing of similar jobs you have completed for other clients. It shouldn’t be necessary to clarify that you will dedicate your creative energy to their project with the same verve; just not for free.

NO!SPEC on digg

Please digg this –>>NO!SPEC Launches

The mission of NO!SPEC is to educate both clients and Visual Communication designers (also known as ‘graphic’ designers) about the nature of speculative, or “spec” work. It also serves as a vehicle to unite designers who support the notion that spec work devalues the potential of design and ultimately does a disservice to the client.

Deluxe Lab on NO!SPEC

Deluxe Lab quoting Tom Stephan on Deluxe Lab, Webspotting: Go Spec Yourself!

I really wanted a tattoo, but I had no idea what I wanted – I just wanted a tattoo.

So I went to four or five different tattoo studios and said: hi guys, I want a tattoo, and it has to be cool and it has to be something that says “this is me, this is who i am, and after you decide who I am and what I want to tell the world, I will pay you for it and you can tattoo it on my arm. If I don’t like it, I can always have it removed later.”