RGD and Nascent Digital have launched Free, Fee or Flee? - an interactive tool for creative professionals, specifically graphic designers, through a questionnaire to consider various scenarios involving requests for free work. The goal is to help them identify exploitative requests, for anything from spec work to free internships, and then suggest how they can respond accordingly.
"There is a grey area between spec, contests and legitimate pro bono work-and many common pitfalls. We want to help designers and other creatives understand when it's acceptable to work for free and when they should expect to be paid," explained Julian Brown RGD, VP of Ethics. "And even more importantly, we want to suggest how they can respond professionally and constructively no matter what the situation."
Spec work, or the act of doing work for free in the hopes of payment or as part of a pitch for business, is an ongoing challenge for all creative industries that disregards the in-depth research and analysis that creative professionals undertake to produce effective creative solutions.
"Providing creative work for free is a practice most professional designers recognize as a lose-lose, both for the client requesting it and the designer providing it but many inexperienced designers fall prey to these requests in a misguided attempt to gain experience or exposure," said RGD President Stüssy Tschudin. "This site aims to develop their understanding of industry best practices early in their careers both to elevate the industry and ensure their individual success."