Spec work is becoming a growing concern for most graphic designers. Or spec-based design contests. Naturally, we all don't want to work for free. After spending so much time on a project, we want something in return. But how about entering a contest, wherein you are asked to submit something creative, or design something, and in so doing, (sometimes) unknowingly lose all rights for your design.
Companies enticing designers with cool stuff in exchange for their designs and then what happens if you don't win?
Surely, you're not comfortable with these, so, what d'you think?
I agree here, entering a competition others will see your work, i guess that in a way it's like copying.
Yes indeed! And then they end up having all the rights with your work.
I don't enter many contests for the reasons you mentioned Apryl. Many contests asking for creative work submissions, are actually just another way for someone to get the awesome material for their promotional use for a fraction of what it would cost to pay a professional.
It's not a bad idea for those holding the contests. They get a MUCH broader selection of styles, ideas and concepts to choose from than one would ever get from one, two or three or more agencies and they generate publicity and interest in the brand at the same time.
Yes, I have a issues giving away my creative material... unless I know it is for a good cause I support ;) It can be good though sometimes to have winning material to show for better employment etc. too so there are plus sides to entering contests. Just depends how important the work you submit is to each creator I think.
Yeah, I agree. If you're doing it for a cause, no problem there. It's just that, submitting your work to a contest, there's no guarantee. Those holding the contest were the only ones to benefit, well, in exception to the one who wins, other than that, all works were for them to keep. Though, yes, sometimes it depends. We'll just have to be careful what we're agreeing.
In my case, I look closely at the contest details first to check out their rules. Sometimes, it is the fine print that really gets you. But if everything is clear and well within your preferences, I think contests are a great way to get some needed exposure.
I think it is the very young in the field of design and inexperienced that would participate. For other designers, designing becomes a business that pays the bills. If one really wants to contribute their time and creativity, they should consider doing work for a good cause/pro bono. They should not be among a pool of designers in the hope of getting the spot light.
Here's a nice article I just found that talks about free work... thought it might be a nice addition to this thread. http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2012/06/requests-for-free-work-surp...
Bottom line is I do not work for free under any circumstances. I would never entertain a client asking me to submit "ideas", I get paid for my "ideas" and that's it really.
The major concern with Spec Work is the origin of the persons submission. I've seen a number of cases over the years where entrees would copy clipart, or use stock images within the logo itself. This is a huge copyright violation, and most stock sites forbid the use of the images for sale as use in a piece of logo artwork.
Companies that use Spec Work to have their logo concepts designed risk a huge copyright suit if the designer uses copyrighted images within the logo.
The other concern really is that the company that posts for Spec Work to be done has no idea of what qualifications the designer has, nor do they have access to them after payment changes hand.
Is this designer providing the right file types, Illustrator .ai, pdf or eps? Are they supplying PSDs (where logos should never be created and stored in this format). Are they supplying all the colour options, the white only version, black only, spot colours, full colour, web versions?
Have they made the logo fit all substrates and uses, like flexo print, litho print, screen print, digital print, large format, embroidery etc.?
From what I'm seeing the answer is "no".
A reputable designer won't usually do Spec Work, as they value their time and expertise to work on projects that pay more than what's on offer on the Spec sites.
And I wouldn't want to do business with any company that uses Spec Work as a source as they clearly don't value our (as designers) expertise within the industry.
If a company doesn't value their own business to create a logo (et al items) or to try get things "on the cheap" and possibly the wrong format/colours etc. then that says a lot about them and how much they value our industry.
I'm not against free work, but not for companies.
Free work is a great way of new designers starting a portfolio, but instead giving free work to companies that make money, if people just volunteer to non-profict associations, the local animal shelter, the fire department, etc, etc, they'll have something to show on their portfolio and will be helping someone that deserves it and not a company that is just being greedy.
That's very true Edgar - that type of work is called Pro-Bono and is a great way to build a portfolio and do something for your community too.
I certainly wouldn't be interested in doing free work for big companies, one that strikes my mind is GAP clothing, who crowdsourced (spec worked) their logo about 2 years ago, and it got such negative feedback they reverted back to their own logo.
Exactly, Pro Bono.
Yeah I remember the GAP flop! LMAO!