Matt Bors
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Bors Blog

Illustration Friday – Special Spec Work Edition

The time for public shaming has arrived. If you are a designer or illustrator who doesn't know about the No Spec movement, see here.
Hi Matt, Flink12, a new social networking site, has just launched its Global Icon Art Competition. I thought that you and the readers of Illustration Friday Blog would be interested in this unique opportunity. We're offering $3,000 commissions to create icons for the site. This is a great opportunity for artists and graphic designers to promote their work globally and possibly win a longer-term contract with us. We're looking for original, fun and expressive graphic icons to be used as status updates for the network. These icons will be used daily by Flinkers on their web browsers and mobile devices. I've put together a microsite with all of the info on the competition along with images, videos, banners and more. Please feel free to share any or all of it: If you are able to post or tweet about Flink12 and the Global Icon Art Competition please let me know. I’d be happy to answer any questions personally as well. Thank you so much, Brenda
Hi Brenda, I do freelance work all the time so I'd definitely be up for designing a graphic for you. If you are looking to hire professionals, $3,000 is a good amount for what you want. But if you are going to crowd source the initial stages, you'll just be getting art students and people desperate for exposure. I refuse to do spec work and all self-respecting artists should as well. You should hire artists the same way you hire web developers, marketers and such: with money. I doubt you require those people to do free work with the possibility of only one making money down the road. I'm sure this won't dissuade you, but I feel I have to make this point in this day and age. Frankly, all you are doing is having a lot of people work for you with only having to pay one. It's wrong. Justifying it as a contest and an "opportunity" to gain exposure doesn't cut it and you need to stop. The only reason I would post about your contest on my blog at this point would be to encourage other artists desperate for exposure to know their own worth and never do spec work for companies like yours. Best, Matt
Hi Matt, Thank you for the feedback and the chance to better understand your perspective. I completely agree with your idea of professional inquiry and can say if we were looking to hire a full-time designer for our staff, it would be best to put up a job listing on the proper channels. Our intentions with the outreach was to engage in conversation and encourage participation in light-hearted competition with fellow artists and designers. Our hope is to connect with individuals who may be interested in unique avenues to display their talent. Our contact list is limited to hand chosen art/design enthusiasts who actively write on a blog. The contract is our way to acknowledge the time and effort individuals put into the project and show our appreciation for giving our Flink12 users a couple more icons to consider when they are looking to display their emotions online. We are not looking for them to create a catalogue of icons, revamp icons currently on our site, produce offline content, ect. I hope this information helps a little bit. I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers by contacting you, just wanted to let you know the existence of our site and competition. Feel free to contact me anytime if you have more questions. Have a good rest of the week and take care. Best Regards, Brenda
Hi Brenda, Thanks for getting back. I know you didn't mean to ruffle my feathers, but you did, because these practices are now widespread. Most places don't need full-time designers and most designers are freelancers. Hence, hiring a freelance designer as you would anyone else. I don't need a full-time plumber. But when I need one for a short period I don't make them compete for free--I just hire one with a good reputation. When you say all you want to do is "engage in conversation and encourage participation in light-hearted competition" all you are doing is trying to obfuscate your goal of free labor with a bunch of marketing lingo that means nothing. Since it appears you may only issue one $3,000 contract, how many designers would you like to see compete? The more the merrier, I presume. You are crowd sourcing art. It's called spec work--working for free on the speculation that you may get paid if accepted--and it's a trick companies use to save money. It's what you are engaging in right now. It's so widely frowned upon and scorned in the freelance community that companies now claim they are having competitions and write absurd sentences like "Our hope is to connect with individuals who may be interested in unique avenues to display their talent." Is that your hope or is your hope to get a bunch of people to submit art so you can choose what you like and not have to pay the other designers? You have sent out blanket emails to artists after googling a few simple terms. I know because I'm in touch with freelance friends and they received the same form email from you. You will only be getting submissions from art school students who don't have bills to pay like you and I do. Your website isn't catching on, it seems. Your YouTube video has less than 500 views and you have less than 100 Twitter followers. I can get way more people to hear about you and your contest. I think I will post about it on my blog for Illustration Friday as you suggested. Artists and designers should definitely hear about what you are up to. Matt Bors
05.13.2011 |