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
When the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out in Colorado Springs this past June, a group of creatives rapidly mobilized to create Wild Fire Tees, selling custom-designed T-shirts to benefit those affected by fires statewide. Their simple goal was to sell a few hundred shirts. They underestimated by
Section: Inspiration -
pro bono, Design for Good
This is your wake up call. We’re asking you to stop. Take notice. Be present. Unplug from your digital device long enough to engage with your surroundings. In a world that is so connected, we’ve become isolated. Everything is more important then the who/what/where
right in front of you.
Section: Why Design -
graphic design, print design, social issues, students
AIGA invites all designers and creatives to participate in a virtual Town Hall to solve social issues in our communities by developing tangible engagement tools and generating new, productive conversations.
Section: Tools and Resources -
design thinking, advocacy, social responsibility, Diversity and Inclusion
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