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AIGA believes that professional designers should be compensated fairly for their work and should negotiate the ownership or use rights of their intellectual and creative property through an engagement with clients. To that end, AIGA strongly encourages designers to enter into client projects with full engagement to show the value of their creative endeavor, and to be aware of all potential risks before entering into speculative work.
AIGA acknowledges that speculative work—work done prior
to engagement with a client in anticipation of being paid—occurs
among clients and designers.Yet not all unpaid design work is considered “spec work.” In fact, unpaid work may take a number of forms:
Not all of the above are considered speculative work, and in fact many designers choose to do unpaid work for a variety of reasons. Students and professionals may draw different lines on what constitute
unacceptable practices. In each case, however, the designer and client
make the decision and must accept the associated risks.
AIGA believes that designers and clients should be aware of all potential risks before entering into speculative work:
AIGA has provided a sample letter for designers and firms to explain why speculative proposal compromise the design profession. The letter should be modified based on the needs of your particular situation. To add your voice to the spec work discussion, please comment on the related AIGA Insight article.
Clients may, at times, request that you or your firm compete for
an engagement on the basis of spec work. While it is up to each
designer to make the choice of whether to engage on this level,
this sample letter is intended to serve as a resource if you choose
to communicate with these clients to explain why speculative
proposals compromise the profession and the resultant work. You
should modify it based on the needs of your particular
AIGA sample letter for speculative work
The intent of this project was to bring awareness to my local community about the fact that four out of ten homeless individuals live in places not intended for humans. I designed materials for McCreesh Place and Supportive Housing Communities in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Section: Why Design -
communication design, graphic design, nonprofit, print design, Design for Good, brochure, print advertising, signage, pro bono, social issues, social responsibility, student work
Students seem to be always stressed out. Tight deadlines, poor time management, balancing school and life, taking too much on. As an educator, I may be on the other side of the fence, but I can totally relate.
Section: Tools and Resources
As a result of the passing of his son, Michael Osborne founded the nonprofit design studio Joey’s Corner to honor his life and memory, committing full-time to meet the design needs of nonprofit organizations focusing on health care, children’s and social well-being issues.
Section: Why Design -
Design for Good, pro bono
This high school design studio teaches students to use the creative process as a
method and develop smart communication
solutions that better their communities. The students work on projects in teams, with support and guidance from a professional design mentor.
Section: Tools and Resources -
communication design, design thinking, experience design, graphic design, K-12, mentoring, posters, video, diversity, education, social issues, student work
External Resources (cont.)
Thirty Conversations on Design
Little & Company
Museum of Modern Art Identity