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No! (Re)Spec

There is a bad trend that has plagued the creative community for quite some time now. This trend is unethical and devalue the expertise and skills of Creatives as a whole, also known as Speculative Work. What is Speculative (spec) Work you may ask? It's when one is asked to perform creative services in exchange for prospective projects or employment. Basically, it's when a potential client or employer wants you the give them some free concepts and designs. If they like your work, they will either award you the project, hire you, or pay you. All concepts, artwork and any materials relating to the spec work becomes property of the person asking for the spec work. You will lose all ownership & rights to the works.

Why do you think the general public doesn't perceive design services or designers as valuable, like any other profession? Why do you think clients and companies low ball? Why do you think low salaries exists?

Students and novice designers fall victim to spec work, becasue their lack of experiece, desperaton or just don't know any better. In the end, they have cheated themselves and added to the spec problem. You wouldn't ask a chef to work on spec., would you? OK, I don't like what you cooked up. I am not going to pay you. How about your doctor on spec? I think not. So why would you ask a designer to do the same?

Another form of spec work, design and logo contests. The promise of great exposure, fame and fortune to the winner(s). What they really are doing is getting hundreds, thousands of free concepts and designs. Again you would lose the rights and ownership to your designs.

We need to educate and bring awareness to companies, businesses and designers, that spec work is not good business and wrong. One such organization getting the word out to the masses is the NO!SPEC Blog. NO!SPEC's conception was sparked from discussions on the About.com graphic design forums. Members of the forum grew tired of all the spec work over taking the design industry. They decided to ban together and do something about it. I am proud to be part of the NO!SPEC Committee.

For more information, please visit www.no-spec.com

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About me

  • Mayhem Studios is a small award-winning design firm located in Los Angeles, California, developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation. The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client's specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces, annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising and interactive web sites. Calvin Lee, Principal & Creative Director of Mayhem Studios is a graduate of Platt College and serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department, NO!SPEC Committee and on the Creative Latitude Management Team.
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