All of you refugee YM followers who are looking for a new blog to follow: I promise you that I will never reblog anything written by someone who calls themselves “StartupGirl”, on principle alone.
Also, it’s true that graphic designers are a little testy about “spec work” but I will tell you the main reason why: more than anything else, it is possible for a designer to do hours worth of work on a “work-for-hire” project that has no reusable value - it is customized and tailored. Unscrupulous companies tend to walk away with the end result without paying the designer’s work rates, or they’ll use a talented designer’s meticulous creation as a base for a copycat done by a fresh college grad (who is paid very little). In any case, it’s the freelance designer’s outsize burden to front extra money to hire a pit bull lawyer to seek justice, which is usually not how it goes down. It’s not so much that the graphic designers start out with an entitlement to be paid like kings to do the work of knaves; the problem is that designers are particularly vulnerable to fraud and exploitation. And you’d be surprised how many “clients” suddenly turn around at the end of a design process with a trick or two up their sleeves. (I’ve been asked at the end of a project to cut my fees in half for no reason other than the client loved themselves that much).
I don’t know if the same kind of “spec work” fears are well-applied to things like design contests, but economically that labor setup is not feasible in the long run for experienced workers. If 95% of your “work” is being done at market rate and you have contests purely to boost marketing, I can live with that. If, on the other hand, a design contest is used to do core identity work, and you’re expecting many talented people to complete a full assignment just so that you can pay only one of them… that’s not very ethical. And you don’t need the contest to get the work done… just hire someone who does good branding work, and don’t hover over their shoulder the whole time.
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- youngmanhattanite said: always take the bait
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