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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
Building on the reputation and legacy of the worldʼs largest donkey and mule charity, The Allotment created a new identity and brand to communicate the charity’s core purpose—“care and devotion”—in an emotionally compelling way.
Section: Why Design -
Design for Good, advertising, illustration, branding, identity design, nonprofit, print design, typography, social responsibility, strategy
In her book Designing Across Cultures, graphic designer/writer/trainer Ronnie Lipton provides advice on creating appropriate visual images in designs to diverse ethnic groups, including U.S. Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Europeans. Here's an excerpt from the Asian-American chapter.
Section: Tools and Resources -
Designers offer clients a way of thinking. The “Why design?” booklet
outlines the role of design in business strategy and seeks a common framework for why design adds value to clients'
Section: Why Design -
design thinking, strategy
A community-sourced exhibition at the El Paso Museum of History
empowers community members to tell the story of their neighborhoods, in their
own words and with their own images and objects.
Section: Inspiration -
Competition, Design for Good, Justified, exhibition design, experience design, ux design, culture, diversity, education, social issues
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External Resources (cont.)
IZZE You’ll Love What’s Inside Campaign
Matériel, Issue One