Why is it thought that designers still work for thanks?

Short translation of the article “Why Are Designers Still Expected To Work For Free?” about why many customers still consider it the norm to get designer work for free.

For Dan Brown s new book (a bestselling author, by the way!) Doubleday provided the design for free. Jessica Helfand, editor of the Design Observer, thinks it s not ok.

On Monday, an open competition was announced to design a limited edition novelty for Brown, the fifth book about Robert Langdon. The next day, Jessica posted an explosive review of him.

Briefly about what Jessica wrote:

Forbes estimates Dan Brown s fortune at about $ 140 million, and the prize for the winning design is a media mention.

It would seem that such a competition is aimed at students. They were supposed to make up the covers and the spine in the spirit of Art Nouveau. Brown himself will choose the top 6 designs and promote the finalists among seven million followers.


Doubleday s marketing manager told Jessica in an email that the limited edition with the winner s design will not be on sale. The regular version of the book will be presented in book supermarkets.

“If it was planned to sell the limited edition in supermarkets, we would of course pay the designer,” replied the manager.


The profit for the designers from the finale is PR from Brown and Doubleday and the opportunity to show off. Everything. The competition does not generate money directly for the author and publisher.

In other words, since no money has been allocated directly to the competition, there is no need for payment either. According to this logic, marketers do not have to pay.

So Doubleday has decided to go into crowdsourcing of free work for a bestseller. It is a long tradition and many studios do custom designs to potential clients. And whether to work for food for lone designers, studios or even students – this is a topic for holivar. Jessica says that this practice is worth moving away from.

In her article, Jessica writes that the winning design for a “limited edition” that won t sell can still (and will) be done in internet editors. And for the competition, applications will be submitted both from seasoned professionals and from noobs who are eager to shove through their simple design for free. This is not a profit model for designers, but one for a writer and publisher.

Talking about volunteering in design still devalues ​​creativity. This is the message that art is more of a hobby than a career. But this is still real business.


Getting on the cover of a famous person s book is, of course, cool. But if the designer does not receive material benefits from winning the competition, will he want to continue working for the idea? With the same success, you can steal the pattern from the stocks and gloss over the copyright in Photoshop. Labor must be paid. You saved 10 minutes.

Source: blog.sibirix.ru
Cover photo: ShutterStock

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