From Kevin: I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Carmen von Richthofen, the Executive Director of Association of Registered Graphic Designers and John Furneaux, the President of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers and Managing Director of Karacters Design Group in Toronto about the issue of spec work and the damage that can be wrought by such practices.
When looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with, a hot bod and a willingness to put out are not exactly the appropriate exclusive criteria for selection. They might be part of the package, but they’re largely irrelevant to the fundamental and foundational issues involved with healthy relationships. Those issues are far more complex and far more meaningful.
It’s no different for a company’s site redesign effort. Mere ‘eye-catching design’ from designers willing to produce work without hope of compensation is not exactly the sort of thing that meets a company’s vital and complex online presence needs. Nor is this willingness a good indication of the quality of the solution or the professionalism of the individuals involved. In fact, this behavior indicates quite the opposite for both the company and the participants.
To read the rest of the article, go to Andy Rutledge’s Redesign Competitions: looking for a commitment or just a roll in the hay?
Wikipedia are having a design competition.
Whilst it doesn’t come as a complete shock that a site which offers free content is after free work, I’m still reeling from the opportunity that this presents to some designers, and recoiling from the effect this type of project has on the industry.
A while ago, I did some work for a Music TeleVision network. I’ve also done some work for some other pretty big brands in my time as a designer. The one thing that is pretty much constant with all of these big brands is an element of brand worship. You are expected to, as a supplier, bend over backwards in order to pander to their needs (because they’re big, right? And you need them much more than they need you). Now, a lot of you would say that’s the way we should all be for our clients right? Well, yes and no. For me, it comes down to respect.
To read further, go to Wikipedia and Bowing to the Brand
Say NO to Speculative Work
By Art Javid
“Speculative Work” is the unfortunate practice in today’s society by certain companies or organizations that put on a “contest”, asking hundreds of graphic designers to participate by designing, and sharing their ideas or work specific to the project, and promising the “winner” a meager payoff if their work is selected or used by the company.
Often, hundreds of younger, inexperienced designers put in countless hours of work and creativity designing logos, web sites, or marketing collateral for these types of contests, without knowing if they will ever be compensated fairly for their time and efforts; 99% of these contestants never will.
To read the rest, go to the American Design Awards Newsletter.
The fact is if big fat wallets want to get five of us monkeys dancing on the chance one will get some money then it’s not a healthy situation for anyone. It devalues the designers and means when you do speculative work and don’t pull the contract you not only don’t get paid but you have to make that income back from real clients.
What’s particularly bad is its so ingrained into some industry heavyweights that its the only way they work. But it only works because we play the game.
Mister Alexander writing about ‘The dangers of Spec work’ for the Communication Design Studies at Virginia Western Community College.
… in the end, my inexperience and eagerness caused the loss of my own creative control and product, and my only payment was the 150 or so hot dogs that my sympathetic friend slid across the counter every time I stopped in to look at the stolen work (Thanks Christian!) While some of the dangers of Spec work are a bit hard to visualize, this one is easy to see. Creating Spec work can render your work completely worthless, and give a dishonest businessperson a free ride.
mediabistro.com: UnBeige: And Then They Never Talked About Spec Work Again…
We’re back to eating up every last bit of words with this whole ongoing spec thing. This writer has seen enough to understand that he was wrong in the spec department. He was thinking more along the lines of creating to help your portfolio, and maybe in the film industry that’s different, this spec stuff, or maybe it’s because he’s lonely and sad and this was the pitiful cry for help he’s been hoping you’ll hear. Whimper.
Whatever the case, all thoughts of spec are banished after you see No-Spec, a new site we found via Designers Who Blog the last time we were rethinking all of this.
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.