To Spec or Not to Spec?

Last week, AIGA Birmingham was kind enough to invite Forte’s Jamie Warren and Paul Crawford of Scout Branding to discuss their philosophies on speculative design work. AIGA nationally has basically disavowed the practice of spec work–performing design services for free with the hope of being paid after a prospect sees it. Or, to put it another way, designing without a true engagement with a client. The discussion is an important one for the advertising and design industry. Paul and Jamie agreed that sometimes clients need agencies to help them visualize a particular solution. Or, the insight that an agency delivers can sometimes help clients see opportunities.

However, the panelists agreed that the practice of spec work dilutes the professionalism of the industry. It also opens the agency and client to potential copyright issues. Jamie made the specific distinction between volunteer or pro bono work and truly speculative work. It’s Forte’s position that sometimes there’s important work to be done that doesn’t necessarily have cash consideration. Forte’ believes pro bono work is a good thing for our industry. Each agency or designer must evaluate every opportunity through both a business and personal lens. Thanks again to Tim Hamilton, AIGA President, for the invitation and Rojo for the eats.

JW and PC @ Shop Talk
Shop Talk invitation

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