Freaking Friday

21 Oct

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I am almost always in a bad mood on Friday evenings. Something about the culmination of the work week leaves me grumpy and tired. I’ve been trying to overcome this strange habit, but some days it just doesn’t work out, and I have to vent.

So today I’m going to talk about something that REALLY bugs me: spec work.

Both Moleskine and Obama are hosting ‘contests’ for a new logo and new poster respectively. The thing I hate most about spec work is that it’s disguised as this amazing opportunity for up and coming designers. I almost always skim the article, get excited, and then come back to Earth with a thud, realizing what’s really going on.

This type of behavior is so damaging to the design industry as a whole. It trains people to think that what I do is worthless, and that they can ask me to do it for free. It is not a great opportunity to ‘get my work out there’, it is a great opportunity for the company to see hundreds of different options and choose their favorite – without having to compensate everyone for their time.

The worst part is that they act as though they are doing you a favor. It’s like, oh, design something for me, it’s fun for you, right? If I choose you, you get money and fame! Except that if I operated my business this way, I would be living under a bridge.

If Moleskine really wanted to help an up and coming designer, they could have had a call for portfolios, and chosen a designer that way, based on work the designers have already done (and been fairly compensated for).

You don’t go to a restaurant and only pay if the food is to your liking. You don’t have 3 lawyers represent you, and only pay the one whose work you liked the best. Moleskine isn’t going to send me every single one of their notebooks for free in hopes that I will pick one to use as a sketchbook (but I get to keep the rest).

I would jump at the chance to design a logo for Moleskine. If they had asked for applications/pitches to be their designer, I so would have taken the time to apply. But I don’t think it’s fair to ask me to work for free, when no other industry operates on that principle.

Okay, rant over. Design = good, spec work = bad.

Have a great weekend!

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