Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Drawing the line on ‘design favors’

Being a creative means that you'll constantly get asked to do 'design favors’ from friends and occasionally, your aunt's second cousin's sister's next door neighbor. A ‘design favor’ usually means that the designer is doing the work for free. I, personally, have done many of those "favors" for my dear friends in the past and I don’t, in anyway, regret doing them. I did those willingly for the reason that I know they approached me because they actually like and respect my work and I enjoyed working with them. 

I don’t, however, appreciate friends who approach me and ask for a ‘design favor’ just because they need someone who knows how to use ‘photoshop’ and don't wanna spend any penny on it. I’m 99% sure that they are not even familiar with my work at all. Second, most of these people came and approached me without making an effort to at least ask for a quote? This is what outrages me the most. If your friend owns a diner, you don’t go in, have a meal and just leave without the intention of paying. If your friend owns a clothing store, you don’t go in, grab a few clothes that you like and leave without paying, don’t you? So why should you treat a designer like that? Every time a friend did this to me, not only did he/she disrespect my work as a designer, they also disrespected me as a friend. 

What’s even more outrageous is, I’ve once received an email from a total stranger in India asking me to send them one of the wedding invites that I designed so that they can use it, for free. FOR FREE. I trashed that email right away and didn’t even bother to reply. Another ‘kind’ of approach that I truly loathe with the entirety of my being is the promise of exposure in exchange for payment. Yep, those go to trash right away too. Let me get this straight, there’s no such thing as free design.

“Of course, many people who would have you work for free value attention far differently than you or I might.. No, designing a logo for the zoo for free is probably not valuable either. And the argument that it is valuable (it's good for your portfolio!) is inevitably selfish and irrational. The lions get their food, the vets get paid and even the guy selling peanuts doesn't do it for free…” - Seth Godin.
The point I’m trying to make is, you should ALWAYS treat a designer with respect and this is how you respect a designer: if you want our creative help, at least make an effort to familiarize yourself with our work and NEVER assume that we’re gonna do it for free. If you’re low on budget, the least you can do is say so and offer to buy us a cup of coffee in exchange for our service. Respect, my friend. Respect. It's not that hard.

Check this out too.

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